April 12 2017 12:20 AM

Luxury Flux releases debut LP at the Avenue

Lansing based indie rocker outfit Luxury Flux (left to right: Stephen Woida Jr., Sam Makula and Lindsay Taylor) releases its debut EP next week at the Avenue Café.
Photo by Xinyu Lin

Luxury Flux is a DIY rock band to the fullest. Even its band merch is handcrafted.

For example, the Lansing-based trio’s new T-shirts were self-made by tediously hand-stamping their name, one letter at a time, on each shirt and then curing them in an oven.

The band — Lindsey Taylor (guitar/ vocals), Sam Makula (bass) and Stephen Woida Jr.(drums/vocals) — doesn’t mind doing it themselves, especially if they can retain artistic control while saving a few bucks. But when it came time to record the group’s forthcoming self-titled debut LP, the members of Luxury Flux decided to call in the professional ear of Jim Diamond. Since the ‘90s, Diamond has engineered a long list of iconic garage-rock groups, including the White Stripes and the Sonics.

On the new disc, which will be released at a free record release show April 21 at the Avenue Café, Diamond skillfully captured Luxury Flux’s minimalistic art-rock sound, a hybrid of early post-punk and throwback indie melodies.

In between her band’s frequent gigs across the state, Taylor, 23, a Perry native now living in Lansing, chatted with City Pulse about the new 10-song disc.

I hear Jim Diamond is living in France these days, how did Luxury Flux manage to get him to produce the record?

He comes back to Michigan sporadically; he was home for the holidays. We recorded with him at Tempermill Studio in Ferndale. We recorded it to tape, and then he exported that to his computer and did the mixing. It was such a fun time to record in the studio, especially with Jim Diamond, who’s a master of his craft. We only had two days, so that was scary and exciting.

Diamond is known for his analog expertise and has recorded some gritty garage rock masterpieces. Do you think the sound of the Luxury Flux record is similar to those records?

No. Initially, I was kind of envisioning more of a garage rock sound, the Jim Diamond rawness. But this sounds very pop, in terms of his engineering style. There’s a lot of pop in our music, so I’m not downgrading it. The vocals are so clear, so pristine. I love the way the drums sound. He didn’t manipulate a lot. He definitely worked his magic.

Who writes the songs in the band?

It’s a collaborative effort. Everyone does their own instrumentation. Typically, that’s how we work. I think it’s better for a band to be a band and write together, rather than saying, “Hey, I wrote this song, now you guys back me up.” Sometimes it’s better to all be in the same room and write something on the spot. Some of the best songs come naturally when everyone just lays down a part.

With collaboration often comes discontent. Does that happen with Luxury Flux?

It’s crazy; we simultaneously love and hate. We get in fights. We bicker. We’re like siblings.

Does only having three members cause any limitations?

I like it, because it leaves room for the songs to breathe. You can hear every detail.

How important are lyrics to the equation? How often are you working on those?

All of the time. I have a little notebook, and I always keep it on me. Even if I’m having a conversation, if someone says something, I’ll write it down. Sometimes I just piece together these little lines. I like wordplay and poetry; I’m not really into conventional lyrics.

Are there any songwriters who stimulate your words?

Yes, David Byrne’s lyrics, for sure. Also David Berman from the Silver Jews.

After hearing the new disc, what’s your favorite track?

“Cease Fire” is my favorite on the album. Stephen and I trade vocals on it. I wrote that one with Bernie Sanders in mind, back in Bernie’s heyday. It’s about his message. The lead chorus is “I’m learning how to make a livable wage, wondering if I’ll die frustrated.” It’s the most political thing on the record.

Luxury Flux album release

With Scary Women, Dirt Room and Myron James

9 p.m. Friday, April 21 FREE The Avenue Café 2021 E. Michigan Ave., Lansing, luxuryflux.bandcamp.com