Chicago’s Sixty Lumens fuse anthemic rock and elements of pop punk and metal with splashes of synth in an intoxicating sound that they describe as “theatrical, engaging and catchy.”
The quartet started out when frontman Ryan Sevilla decided he missed being part of the music scene and started writing new songs. He recruited local musicians and went through some lineup changes before completing the current band with long-time neighbour and friend Brandon Bock (bass) and soon met local musicians Joe Trinite (guitar) and Michael Mickey (drums).
And on the sound they’ve honed since, Ryan says: “We try to mix it up with every song, but for the most part I would say that we’re an alternative rock band that mixes it up with electronic elements and breathy ethereal synthesizers.”
Sixty Lumens have released five singles in the last year, of which the latest is the excellent Charade. It opens up with twinkling synth sounds and engaging vocals, which are joined by heavy guitars and drums. That flows into a catchy chorus with vocals “Insidious intentions will lead to misery, Oblivious, a victim of the reverie,” answered by a cool riff. Then vocals “How do I convey, That you’re not what you portray” flow into a busy chorus of lively guitars supporting catchy vocals “Treacherous believers, deceivers, Make believe their life is fine when it’s a lie, All a lie, Unashamed overachievers, Celebrate themselves all day, Step right up to the charade.”
The pace drops slightly in a verse that gradually builds up to another chorus. That drops into grandiose guitars supporting cries of “It’s unbelievable how far you’ll go, It’s inconceivable you’d fall so low” before a final blast of the chorus brings the track to a lively ending.
On the track, Ryan told us: “The reception has been great so far! Many people have told me they think this is our best song yet and that they love the upbeat energy and catchy lyrics. We have created several videos for this song, and we’ll be making our music video debut with an amazing video that we filmed with Eddie Curran of Enterprise Films. People should expect a snappy, fast paced energetic song that they’ll want to listen to over and over again.” Check it out in their debut music video below:
That followed on from previous single The Unknown, which opens up with building guitars that drop into a fun piercing lick over guitar chords and drums. It drops into a light verse that suddenly bursts into intense vocals over atmospheric instrumentals.
That flows into a powerful chorus of “I’m fine, But everything you said to me is slowly eating me alive, You know I cannot face this on my own, I lost myself in the Unknown” ends on piercing high-pitched guitars over heavy guitars and drums. A second chorus gives way to a cool guitar solo, which feeds into a final blast of the engaging chorus then drawn out cries of “the unknown” over darting high-pitched guitars. Give this cracking track a listen here:
Those were preceded by the more synth-heavy The Void and powerful second single INSIDE, as well as debut single It Is Where You Are. It opens up with light vocals that are joined by drums then gives way to a synth-led short instrumental section before the vocals take over again.
A catchy chorus follows and ends on a sprinkle of synth before dropping into a heavier verse supported by driving drums and palm-muted guitars. A second chorus gives way to drawn-out vocals and a cool stabbing synth noise, which feed into a final chorus before the track concludes with big booming guitars in a dramatic ending. Check it out in the lyric video below:
The Sixty Lumens sound has been influenced by a wide range of bands, but particularly Green Day, Pink Floyd and My Chemical Romance from a songwriting perspective. As Ryan explains: “All of these bands are experts in not only writing exceptional concept albums, but are also incredible songwriters that know how to write a song that sticks with you both emotionally and musically. That’s what I aspire to when I write my own music. I never want someone to be listening to our songs and be bored, I want their brains to be wired and to always leave them wanting more.”
And on what inspires his music, Ryan adds: “Personally, I’m influenced by my own personal struggles, trials and tribulations. I sit and think about topics that make me feel certain emotions and take notes about those feelings and later turn those notes into songs. I’m also really inspired by movies and love to form narratives throughout my music, which is what I’ve done throughout the songs that we’ve already released.
“This current cycle of songs has followed a narrative of a mysterious company called VoidCo., and the effects of what happens when they accidentally open a black hole to another dimension and release a horror movie-esque monster. The monster is made up of black hole matter, and he represents a lot of the depression and anxiety I’ve been feeling throughout my life. A lot of times those feelings feel like a looming monster, and I wanted to find a way to personify those feelings and make them feel real. I also want to be able to write about things separate from the narrative, and in our recent songs we cover topics such as losing close friends, the effect that social media is having on all of our brains, and hypochondria.”
Having only released their first single last year, Sixty Lumens have yet to play a live show together so they’ve been busy rehearsing for their live debut as and when venues open up again. And Ryan tells us: “Our show is not going to be like your run of the mill local show, we want to add some surprises that are going to stick with audiences and make them think ‘wow, I was not expecting that.'”
You can also expect more new music from Sixty Lumens, including an EP that will include current songs and a few bonus tracks and more new music throughout 2021.
As Ryan adds: “”If you live in the Chicago area, come out to our live show, because we plan on putting 110% into it and making it unforgettable, and I think that’s what will set us apart from a lot of bands. And if you’re someone who wants your bands to be about not only music, but strong imagery and art as well as cinematic storylines, then we’re definitely up your alley.”