Music Interview

Hungry Lucy

By Kim Mercil

Hungry LucyChrista Belle and War-N, other wise known as Hungry Lucy, send the traditional style of darkwave to a whole new level by adding the element of trip-hop to it. With their comprehensive lyrics and innovative sound their music offers something for everyone. From the more melodic tracks incorporated and the dance floor friendly remixes by additional musicians and artists all included on the same disc, their third release To Kill A King holds true to this. To discover this band further I recommend you read this interview and follow it up by going to their web site at www.hungrylucy.com.

KM: Who is Lucy and why is she hungry?

Christa: Lucy is a ghost and she's hungry because she died of a fever epidemic. Her spirit didn't realize she was dead, so she wandered through her house moaning for food. The basic storyline goes something like this…The story originally started with the Actress June Havoc's house in New York City. She kept hearing things in the night and had all the typical haunting symptoms. She called upon Hanz Holzer to help her figure out what was going on and he brought with him the medium Sybill Leek. After a while of research and spending time there to see what Lucy's patterns were, they figured out what had happened. Lucy lived there long ago and she had a boyfriend named Alfred. Alfred had gone to war and Lucy was left there all alone. While she was waiting for her beloved Alfred to return, she fell a victim to a fever epidemic and died. She didn't realize she had died and continued wandering the house. They called her hungry because she would moan for food and yet she couldn't eat. Eventually, Hanz and Sybill had a "cleansing" of sorts to send Lucy to the other side where she could finally be at peace. While they did know there was a boyfriend, and his name was Alfred, they did not send him to the other side as well. Lucy was successfully returned, but they didn't realize that Alfred had now come back to the house and is still there wandering about looking for Lucy. The occupants of the house now still hear him walking about and looking for Lucy.

Hungry LucyKM: War-N, upon being asked to contribute to a Depeche Mode tribute CD, how did you know Christa Belle when you asked her to record the vocals for the track Blue Dress?

War-N: We had become friends through a mutual acquaintances and found we shared an interest in similar music and art. At that time Christa hadn't recorded or performed before, but after hearing her sing one day I knew we had to work together on some music. Christa chose the song Blue Dress to record for that tribute and things took off from there.

KM: In 2000, Hungry Lucy released their debut CD Apparitions and after signing a licensing deal with Alfa-Matrix in 2001 a European version Apparitions:Revisited was released. Is there a difference between the two?

War-N: The European version of Apparitions features different artwork and a number of alternate versions and remixes of the songs from the US release of Apparitions.

KM: During some of your live performances in ‘02 you had an accompanying video. Who put the video together? What did it consist of? Do you usually have video while on stage?

War-N: We began using the video backing as a means to add a little visual interest (since there are just two of us on stage). Since then, though, it has really become a part of our live shows. Often, show attendees have asked where the video was if we were unable to use it for logistical reasons. Christa creates each song's video, from concept, to shooting and editing. I help out with some of the editing. The video really helps to enhance the mood of each song and often bring out elements that weren't perhaps obvious with just the music/vocals.

Christa: When I shoot and edit the videos, I always try to make the images go with the songs. I like the fact that our videos are specific to each song and they are synched up to "react" with the music. I've shot a lot of nature, animals, downtown scenes, buildings, myself, War-N and random objects here and there. It mostly depends on what I have access to. There are a few videos I'm really happy with, but most of them will be re-shot for our tour in Spring 2005 (one can always do better). I find it very fulfilling to do the videos. I absolutely love it! I'm anxious to do some more for the tour.

KM: Your next full length, Glo was a double CD. The first disc had brand new songs while the second disc contained remixes from the first disc by other artists. Why did you decide to put the two together instead of releasing them separately?

War-N: We though it would be an interesting idea to present alternate interpretations of the songs...kind of "our point of vew" and "other's point of view." It also helps to create dance floor versions of key songs to expose our often mellow music to club goers.

Christa: We had set up voting polls on our site to see what they preferred. Glo was pretty much the "album for the fans" as they determined how the album was made from layout to track order preferences. The fans voted for a double CD with remixes on a separate disc. That's what they got.

KM: Like your first disc Alfa-Matrix also released a European version of Glo which featured completely different bands remixing the second disc. Which version does Hungry Lucy prefer and why?

War-N: Well...I'm very biased, but I do tend to prefer our original versions. This make's perfect sense though as we would probably have done similar arrangements to the remixes if we'd "felt" it that way. I also lean towards the mellower side of music in general.

Christa: I agree with War-N's statement. It's like creating any piece of art. If someone else re-does it, it's obviously going to be interpreted in a different way. Being one of the creators of our music, I always prefer our own versions for many personal reasons. Alfa Matrix does do a good job with getting us heard on dance floors, though. So, it's not at all bad that's it's different.

KM: Your third full length To Kill A King is a sort of concept CD that tells us a little tale. How did this story evolve?

Hungry LucyChrista: It began by my writing poems about it for the last few years. It's basically a three year period of a relationship and the good and bad within it. It seemed to follow a faery tale type of story, so we went with that. I had many rough poems to read, and work, through to get them to lyric standards. Some lyrics, and poems, were just too descriptive and angry to put out into the world, so I kept them to myself. Not all demons need to be exorcised in a public forum! Though most of the stories are true, I did add a bit of drama to a couple of songs...things I wish I had said rather than what actually happened. Overall, it's about 90% real life experience.

KM: The track My Beloved features guest vocals by Thou Shalt Not's Alexx Reed and The Azoic's Kristy Venrick. Have they contributed their vocals on your previous releases?

War-N: We consider Alexx & Kristy both to be dear friends so it was an honor to have them contribute to My Beloved. Alexx has done a few remixes for us in the past that inlcuded his vocals, and we also toured with Thou Shalt Not in 2003. We actually performed a version of Tori Amos' China as one big band at a few shows during this tour. This is the first time we have worked with Kristy in a musical capacity though. We hope to work on some more songs together in the not to distant future.

KM: Null Device’s Eric Oehler remixed the track You Are. Has he done other remixes for Hungry Lucy?

War-N: This is the first remix Eric has done for Hungry Lucy, and we should be returning the favor with a Hungry Lucy remix of Null Device soon. I really like what Eric and Null Device are doing...great song writing with lovely ethnic flares here and there.

KM: Christa Belle, David Lynch happens to be one of my favorite directors as well. What are some of Lynch's movies do you like best and why?

Christa: Well thanks for asking about that! I love to rant and rave about any David Lynch film!! Oh dear, my favourites. I suppose they would have to be The Grandmother first and foremost because it was so original. His imagery and use of colour, or lack of, really sets his tone for his movies. I also love Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me and the entire series of Twin Peaks. Fire... I liked because it told the deeper story of Laura Palmer. His bloody scenes in that movie are so stark and to the point but yet non-invasive. You never actually see any knife penetration, kind of like Psycho, but you think you did. It's the way he makes it psychological and just plain ol' neurotic, like in Wild At Heart. I love them all for different reasons. My favourite actor of his was Jack Nance. Eraserhead was, and still is, ahead of it's time! Anyway, I could go on and on. He's just fabulous!

KM: War-N, originally from Shoreham, Sussex England. When and why did you relocate to the States?

War-N: My Father was offered work in the US, so our family all moved to the states when I was a young teenager.

KM: What does Trevor (the gnome) have to do with Hungry Lucy?

War-N: Trevor is our spiritual guide, mascot and merchandise guard. It is also a freakish coincidence that GLO (the title of our 2nd CD) also stands for "Gnome Liberation Organization!"

KM: Christa Belle, I read that you record in your closet. What is the reason for this? Do you always record this way?

Christa: Well, there are no weird or interesting reasons for that. It's only because it's the "deadest" room sound-wise in the house. It's full of clothes, which deadens the noise, so the vocals are nice and clean with no background sounds coming through (on a good day). We hope to have a real vocal booth in the future, in our basement studio that's not yet built, but that's still a long way off. I will continue to record this way, as I always do, until the new studio is built.