The Light Upstairs
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The Light Upstairs

Austin, Texas, United States | SELF

Austin, Texas, United States | SELF
Band Americana Acoustic

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"KUT 90.5 Song of the Day: "The Light Upstairs - Taxi""

Musicians Emily Burns and Christian Glakas met when they both belonged to a local band, but after years of playing together the pair decided to strike out on their own. They formed the Light Upstairs in 2009 and opted to self-record their debut album, Disconnecting The Dots, playing all the instruments themselves.

Their next step came with this year’s The Hour of the Pearl. Recorded at Cacophony Recorders with Erik Wofford–who’s lent his production skills to the Black Angels and Explosions in the Sky–the record keeps the subdued charm of their debut while capturing it more faithfully. The duo’s rich harmonies are front-and-center, and this time around they receive some extra instrumental help.

Still, no note goes wasted. The attention is focused purely on the pair’s sublime songcraft, like on the beautiful “Taxi.” Over acoustic guitar and some simple percussion, Burns and Glakas describe how waiting for something is sometimes better than the thing itself.

But you won’t have to wait long to catch the Light Upstairs onstage. The group has been the Cactus Cafe‘s artist-in-residence for the month of October, and you have two more chances to see this promising Austin act: tonight and Monday, October 29. Both shows start at 8:30PM and are free and open to the public.
- KUT


"KUT 90.5 Song of the Day: "The Light Upstairs - Taxi""

Musicians Emily Burns and Christian Glakas met when they both belonged to a local band, but after years of playing together the pair decided to strike out on their own. They formed the Light Upstairs in 2009 and opted to self-record their debut album, Disconnecting The Dots, playing all the instruments themselves.

Their next step came with this year’s The Hour of the Pearl. Recorded at Cacophony Recorders with Erik Wofford–who’s lent his production skills to the Black Angels and Explosions in the Sky–the record keeps the subdued charm of their debut while capturing it more faithfully. The duo’s rich harmonies are front-and-center, and this time around they receive some extra instrumental help.

Still, no note goes wasted. The attention is focused purely on the pair’s sublime songcraft, like on the beautiful “Taxi.” Over acoustic guitar and some simple percussion, Burns and Glakas describe how waiting for something is sometimes better than the thing itself.

But you won’t have to wait long to catch the Light Upstairs onstage. The group has been the Cactus Cafe‘s artist-in-residence for the month of October, and you have two more chances to see this promising Austin act: tonight and Monday, October 29. Both shows start at 8:30PM and are free and open to the public.
- KUT


"The Light Upstairs in Studio 1A"

Emily and Christian of The Light Upstairs met in Austin, TX in 2005 when a mutual friend invited each of them to play in a new band. Emily was recruited for violin and vocals, and Christian filled in on various instruments as required by the band’s ever-changing lineup. That band led to other bands, and while they enjoyed collaborating with all of the fantastic musicians with whom they played over the years, the two developed a certain comfortable style as a lonesome duo. By 2009 or so, they were spending more and more time working in this parsimonious format and found it to be both pleasant, easy, and inexpensive, when factoring in the substitution of kitchens and living rooms for studios and rehearsal spaces. On Monday night, The Light Upstairs will be playing at the Cactus Cafe on Monday. The indie folk duo will be in Studio 1a on Monday at 11am, when they’ll play a live set on KUT. - KUT


"The Light Upstairs in Studio 1A"

Emily and Christian of The Light Upstairs met in Austin, TX in 2005 when a mutual friend invited each of them to play in a new band. Emily was recruited for violin and vocals, and Christian filled in on various instruments as required by the band’s ever-changing lineup. That band led to other bands, and while they enjoyed collaborating with all of the fantastic musicians with whom they played over the years, the two developed a certain comfortable style as a lonesome duo. By 2009 or so, they were spending more and more time working in this parsimonious format and found it to be both pleasant, easy, and inexpensive, when factoring in the substitution of kitchens and living rooms for studios and rehearsal spaces. On Monday night, The Light Upstairs will be playing at the Cactus Cafe on Monday. The indie folk duo will be in Studio 1a on Monday at 11am, when they’ll play a live set on KUT. - KUT


"The Light Upstairs"

Christian Glakas packed his bags and moved to Austin in 2000 from Maryland, after he saw three pages of classified ads in the Austin Chronicle looking for band members. A year later, Emily (Em) Burns arrived from Houston. They met as two members of indie band The Last Gasp, with Christian writing the songs and Em playing keyboard.

The two of them soon found themselves experimenting informally as a duo, after one day when Em first shared a song she had written called On And On. It turned out that she in fact had an entire collection already written. As she kept singing, Christian kept listening. “When she sings, it sounds like she’s not singing to anyone except herself, and as a listener, you feel like you’re part of something really special.”

They continued to collaborate for several years when other band members were absent. It became harder and harder to ignore that something exceptional was happening. “We went from being in big bands with lots of people playing really loud instruments in cramped rehearsal spaces to playing just the two of us in an open kitchen or a living room with no amplification and really paying attention to the sound as it settled into the space.”

Growing tired of having to put his ear up to the amplifier to hear his own guitar over the cranked-up instruments, Christian was rethinking the music he wanted to make. Luckily, circumstances helped settle his new direction of working exclusively with Em. “After a whole bunch of shows, lineup changes and overdue rent bills, we eventually just found ourselves with no one else around.”

The Light Upstairs was officially named one winter night in 2009 as the two musicians were outside on a smoke break, racking their brains for what to call themselves. A single light was glowing from the room above where they had just been rehearsing songs that would end up their debut album, Disconnecting The Dots.

The band has just been selected as October Cactus Artist in Residence at University of Texas at Austin’s renowned Cactus Café, where they are playing songs from their new CD, The Hour Of The Pearl. Songs include Illuminated, The Sun My Heart, Porchlight Song and Afterglow. With such titles, light appears to still inspire the acoustic duo, but as with real light, the colors and moods these songs evoke are ever-changing and complex.
- Bearings Guide


"The Light Upstairs is the October Cactus Artist in Residence"

Emily and Christian met in Austin, TX in 2005 when a mutual friend invited each of them to play in a new band. Emily was recruited for violin and vocals, and Christian filled in on various instruments as required by the band‘s ever-changing lineup. That band led to other bands, and while they enjoyed collaborating with all of the fantastic musicians with whom they played over the years, the two developed a certain comfortable style as a lonesome duo.
By 2009 or so, they were spending more and more time working in this parsimonious format and found it to be… nice. pleasant. easy. Inexpensive, when factoring in the substitution of kitchens and living rooms for studios and rehearsal spaces. That winter they decided to work up some songs and make a record. After renting some recording equipment at a shop in South Austin, they set up camp at Em‘s house and recorded the 11 songs that would become their debut album, “Disconnecting the Dots”. Arrangements were constructed conservatively. Reverb was applied liberally. A smoke break during the recording process revealed the band‘s name, obviating the need for the dreaded “Band Name Brainstorming Session”, which has taken so many other fresh, young Austin bands before their time.
Since then, The Light Upstairs has been playing around town, writing new songs, buying new guitars, losing old capos, discovering new picks, and generally having a pretty good time.
Nice. Pleasant. Easy. TLU. - Cactus Cafe


"The Light Upstairs is the October Cactus Artist in Residence"

Emily and Christian met in Austin, TX in 2005 when a mutual friend invited each of them to play in a new band. Emily was recruited for violin and vocals, and Christian filled in on various instruments as required by the band‘s ever-changing lineup. That band led to other bands, and while they enjoyed collaborating with all of the fantastic musicians with whom they played over the years, the two developed a certain comfortable style as a lonesome duo.
By 2009 or so, they were spending more and more time working in this parsimonious format and found it to be… nice. pleasant. easy. Inexpensive, when factoring in the substitution of kitchens and living rooms for studios and rehearsal spaces. That winter they decided to work up some songs and make a record. After renting some recording equipment at a shop in South Austin, they set up camp at Em‘s house and recorded the 11 songs that would become their debut album, “Disconnecting the Dots”. Arrangements were constructed conservatively. Reverb was applied liberally. A smoke break during the recording process revealed the band‘s name, obviating the need for the dreaded “Band Name Brainstorming Session”, which has taken so many other fresh, young Austin bands before their time.
Since then, The Light Upstairs has been playing around town, writing new songs, buying new guitars, losing old capos, discovering new picks, and generally having a pretty good time.
Nice. Pleasant. Easy. TLU. - Cactus Cafe


"KUT's Austin Music Minute"

Musicians Emily Burns and Christian Glakas first met in 2005 when both were invited by a mutual friend to play in a new band. Burns was asked to take on violin and vocal duties, while Glakas had an assortment of instruments before him to deal with, due in part to a line-up that was constantly shifting and changing. It was a good experience for them both, but by 2009, common interests and tastes led them to collaborate as a musical duo.
Burns and Glakas rented some recording equipment and set up shop in Burns’ home to work on the new tunes. Eleven tracks were recorded, and the following year, The Light Upstairs made their official debut with their first acoustic venture, Disconnecting the Dots. This past summer, they released The Hour of The Pearl, beautifully-crafted acoustic Americana, warm and intimate reflections from the heart.
The Light Upstairs has a month-long residency going on at the Cactus Cafe, at 24th and Guadalupe, in the Texas Union on the UT campus. It’s a free show, and you can see them perform there tonight. Doors open at 8 p.m., and the music starts at 8:30 p.m. What a lovely way to start out the week. Recommended. - KUT


"KUT's Austin Music Minute"

Musicians Emily Burns and Christian Glakas first met in 2005 when both were invited by a mutual friend to play in a new band. Burns was asked to take on violin and vocal duties, while Glakas had an assortment of instruments before him to deal with, due in part to a line-up that was constantly shifting and changing. It was a good experience for them both, but by 2009, common interests and tastes led them to collaborate as a musical duo.
Burns and Glakas rented some recording equipment and set up shop in Burns’ home to work on the new tunes. Eleven tracks were recorded, and the following year, The Light Upstairs made their official debut with their first acoustic venture, Disconnecting the Dots. This past summer, they released The Hour of The Pearl, beautifully-crafted acoustic Americana, warm and intimate reflections from the heart.
The Light Upstairs has a month-long residency going on at the Cactus Cafe, at 24th and Guadalupe, in the Texas Union on the UT campus. It’s a free show, and you can see them perform there tonight. Doors open at 8 p.m., and the music starts at 8:30 p.m. What a lovely way to start out the week. Recommended. - KUT


Discography

The Hour of the Pearl - June 2012
Disconnecting the Dots - May 2010

"Porchlight" - played on KUT 90.5 in Austin, Tx 10/2012
"Taxi" - playing on KUT 90.5 in Austin, TX 10/2012
"The Dead Sea" - played on KUT 90.5 in Austin, TX 10/2012
"Illuminated" - played on KUT 90.5 in Austin, TX 7/2012

Photos

Bio

Emily Burns and Christian Glakas are thoroughly enjoying the recent success of their new band, The Light Upstairs. After playing together in several Austin bands over the years, they began performing as a duo in 2010 with practically no ambition other than the desire to write and play the music that came naturally and felt right. They played shows around town, recorded an album at Em’s house, sold some CDs, made some new friends, and generally had a pretty good time.

And they were happy with all that, and not bummed out that they weren’t widely known. But in 2011 they decided to record their next batch of songs at a quality studio because they wanted to make something that would sound fantastic. So they called their friend and longtime collaborator Erik Wofford (The Black Angels, Explosions in the Sky) and booked studio time at his studio, Cacophony Recorders, for February 2012.

They recorded in the main room at Cacophony with no headphones, standing side-by-side and playing and singing harmonies just as if they were at band practice in Em’s kitchen. It felt great. It was easy and fun. The renowned Austin club Lamberts agreed to host the release of the album, "The Hour of the Pearl", and on the day of the release show, Jody Denberg played the lead track from the album, "Illuminated", on the program Eklektikos on KUT, 90.5 FM.

Matt Munoz got word of the band and offered the band the opportunity to be the Cactus Café Artist in Residence (Presented by Lone Star Beer) for the month of October. On the first day of the residency, Laurie Gallardo featured TLU on The Austin Music Minute. On October 22nd, the band’s song “Taxi” was the KUT Song of the Day. By the very next day, the song had been downloaded from KUT’s website over 800 times.

On Monday, October 29th, they will go into Studio 1A at KUT to perform three of their songs live on the air on the program "Eklektikos".

Emily and Christian are happy just playing their music. But it’s nice to have other people enjoy it, too.

Band Members