Midnight Door paints epic landscapes of sound using an emotive cello as the primary muse with a vibrant and passionate voice as its compliment. The music is urgent and innovative, moving from punk to classical to electronic as a cohesive, contemporary whole.
In front man Luke Janela's hands the cello acts as a fully formed baroque buzzsaw, as at home in the roar of a rock club as it has been for centuries in cloistered concert halls. In moments of sweet sonic revery, hints of Bach will float over deep and resonant beats.
Janela has performed iconic venues as The Catalyst, The Aladdin Theater, Old Ironsides, The Knitting Factory, House of Blues, and the Troubadour among many, many others. He is not shy in admitting some of his stranger performances including the Miss Teen Idaho pageant.
He has been featured in the Portland Mercury and SF Weekly and has collaborated on albums with well known and underground artists that include Alela Diane, Adam Carson (AFI), Chuck Ragan (Hot Water Music), Jeffrey Clarke (Grant Lee Buffalo), Aaron Ross, and Molly Allis (Huff This!).
"Tomorrow Was", is the band's most recent album. A diverse blend of dreamy cello, dark beats, aching melodies, and smart emotional vocals, this album describes an artist that is unhindered by the latest requisites of indie cred, and instead blasts forward with full force and assured conviction.
“Elliott Smith with a cello” would be a lazy and reductionist way to introduce the music of Luke Janela, despite the parallels between the two songwriters — namely, their intimate, minimalist, melancholy acoustic elegies originally born in the bedrooms of gray and rainy Portland, Oregon. Janela’s inclusion of a drum machine and effects pedals, combined with the rich, deep, sonorous tone of his cello, gives his performances the time-collapsing atmosphere of ancient eras meeting the future. This is no mere gimmick at work, though: Janela’s welding of words to melodies is as accomplished as any erudite troubadour." — J. Graham - SF Weekly"
Luke Janela - Vocals, Bass, Guitar, Cello, Synth, beats
Adam Carson (AFI) - Drums
2011 - "Tomorrow Was" LP
2010 - "Yesterday Will Be" EP
2009 - "REDWOOD SUMMER" (Luke Janela) LP
2009 - "JUNEAUREVOIR" (Luke Janela) LP
2007 - "Midnight Door" LP
2005 - "You Are The Driver" LP
2004 - "The New Age" LP (The Key)
2004 - "Rainmaker" LP (Luke Janela)
2003 - "Blue Star" LP (Luke Janela)
2002 - "The Key" EP (The Key)
2001 - "You Space Me" (Luke Janela) LP
2000 - "Talk Into The Stars" (Luke Janela) LP
1999 - "Nowhere I Should Be Walking" LP with (The Key)
1998 - "Still Dream" (Luke Janela) LP
1997 - "This" (Luke Janela) LP
1996 - "One Sung Over" (Luke Janela) LP
Dreamy Cello + Dark Beats + Smart Emotional Vocals
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“Elliott Smith with a cello” would be a lazy and reductionist way to introduce the music of Luke Jan...“Elliott Smith with a cello” would be a lazy and reductionist way to introduce the music of Luke Janela, despite the parallels between the two songwriters — namely, their intimate, minimalist, melancholy acoustic elegies originally born in the bedrooms of gray and rainy Portland, Oregon. Janela’s inclusion of a drum machine and effects pedals, combined with the rich, deep, sonorous tone of his cello, gives his performances the time-collapsing atmosphere of ancient eras meeting the future. This is no mere gimmick at work, though: Janela’s welding of words to melodies is as accomplished as any erudite troubadour. That Janela left Portland for Nevada City, CA, hasn’t altered his desolate atmospheres, either — it merely means that maybe he’ll wheel his way into the city more often. Good news for us indeed. — J. Graham
The Most Lost Of All
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Luke Janela is a cellist, a singer and a songwriter hailing from Northern California. He's been mak... Luke Janela is a cellist, a singer and a songwriter hailing from Northern California. He's been making music on both the cello and the guitar since he was 12 years old. Janela says that while growing up, he heard Van Morisson's "Moondance" and Bruce Springsteen's "The River" "approximately two million times." That, along with a B.A. in Music and his passion for finding and listening to "innovative and potent" music, is what inspires Janela to create is own unique sound.
Janela's album, Blue Star, is sparse and haunting, with his cello taking center stage. The album distant but warm and inviting. His songs combine organic elements like handclaps and crowd noise with slick, clean production.
The featured track from Blue Star is the energetic song, "The Most Lost of All."
Bursting With Hope
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"Cellist/guitarist Luke Janela sings in a shivery, brooding voice that's bursting with hope and sadn..."Cellist/guitarist Luke Janela sings in a shivery, brooding voice that's bursting with hope and sadness, set against some electronics and creative songwriting techniques. Luke's thoughtful and pretty, emotive music is perfect for when you just wanna eliminate all the bullshit from your life and cut close to the core, or when you're feeling the weight of autumn on your chest. It's about finding the beauty in melancholy. JS" - Portland Mercury
The Luke Janela Sound
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"It's hard to pin a label on Luke Janela. Folky, electronic, classical, artsy, tribal--pull one out ..."It's hard to pin a label on Luke Janela. Folky, electronic, classical, artsy, tribal--pull one out of the hat, they're all in there. Mostly a solo act but sometimes performing with accompaniment, Janela's haunting cello tends to weave a common tone through a set list that traverses a dozen genres. Ultimately it all coalesces into a singular sound: the Luke Janela sound. Sad at times, sadder at others, Janela would be well at home on a Wim Wenders soundtrack. Hot tip: Guys, want to win points with the ladies? Take 'em to this one. (DE)" Willamette Week
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Modern Lullabies The Cello is the Best Instrument in the World BY JULIANNE SHEPHERD When my bes...Modern Lullabies
The Cello is the Best Instrument in the World
BY JULIANNE SHEPHERD
When my best friend began studying classical composition, he felt an initial detachment from the music. He lamented that he couldn't hear it as a whole anymore, that he could only hear it as a sum of each separate part. For awhile, the impact of learning theory and orchestration turned music into more of a mathematical process than an artistic one.
Luke Janela, a Portland transplant from Ukiah, CA, experienced a similar dilemma. He's studied the cello for years, playing his favorite composers like Bach, Beethoven, and Dvoràk, but he also plays folky, finger-picked songs on his guitar. "I've always had both," he says. "Up to this point, it's been a nice balance because my guitar and songwriting are totally intuitive. The cello, I've been studying rigorously and intellectually and technically. Finally, I've finished my music major--I was so fed up with it--and now I can play the cello for what it is. It's easy, very freeing. Suddenly I can just play what I hear and not what's written. I know where the notes are."
Luke's music is a heartfelt patchwork of gorgeous, melancholic cello, acoustic guitar, and his thick vocals that sometimes crack from the back of his throat. But part of the reason I love it so much is precisely because he pulls so much of his classical influence and plops it into a more modern repertoire. The Beethoven influence is definitely apparent, but just when his progressions start to become familiar, he starts making wild, scratchy noises with his bow. That, and he sets it all to a drum machine.
"I'm allowing myself to be more open to influences, like making noise for the sake of sound," Luke explains.
Since classical music is not exactly the preferred sound of youth culture these days, it's really important that people like Luke continue its legacy and experiment with modern instruments. But another great thing about Luke, is that he maintains a predilection towards folk music while still sounding honest, yet not hokey. His music is pretty accessible, but it's also compositionally sophisticated, and he's not afraid to try different things even if they are simple. And then there is the sound of the voice and the cello.
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"Janela's darkly passionate ballads are as effective as an Egon Schiele sketch" - Willamette Week: N..."Janela's darkly passionate ballads are as effective as an Egon Schiele sketch" - Willamette Week: Northwest Music Fest Preview -John Graham
All Original Material, generally 25-45 minutes, depending on venue, crowd, other bands. Can play (much) longer or (much) shorter.
2. Summertime Nights
3. Let Go
4. The Beautiful Truth
5. The Sky Is Too Wide
6. Owls and Vultures
There are no upcoming dates at this time.