by Holli Stephens
There hasn’t been a single show at Union Transfer that I’ve had the pleasure of attending that has started on time. When I first began covering shows I’d show up at the venue before doors even opened and more importantly before the box office even knew who was on the guest list. I have since gotten into an awful habit of leaving at the time that the show officially starts to arrive there just around the time the opening band is doing a final tune-up. Tuesday night was not in my favor.
After arriving at 8:15 and being told by an audience member that Milo Greene had just started, I felt more at ease and met up with a couple of friends who had previously attended Bombay Bicycle Club’s show in May with Royal Canoe. As we pushed our way closer to the front of the stage, my phone began buzzing and my heart sank as I read a text from a friend who had gotten there at the beginning and said Luxley was the first to perform.
I began to think back to previous shows I’ve attended at Union Transfer and remembered opening bands usually hang out at the merch table after their sets. In the heat of the moment I darted out of the floor area and approached the old wooden table, asking desperately, “Does anyone know where I can find any of the band members of Luxley?”
Dressed in a blue patterned button down with jet black gelled hair Ryan Gray looked at me with a smile and answered, “ Hey I’m Luxley! Very nice to meet you!” He confirmed that their set had started on the early side, around 7:45 and even still, was eager to sit down to do an interview with me and recap the set as well as preview some of their newest music.
I followed Gray through the crowd to Union Transfer’s backstage area, past bearded crew members and a tower of amps and speakers blaring Bombay Bicycle Club who at this point had just started their set. We approached a red hallway and Gray opened one of the many doors to a small room with an old floral couch and a bunch of backpacks scattered about.
As “Lights Out, Words Gone” played in the background, Gray talked excitedly on the evening’s set. “Philly is easy to dance with and I dance a lot. I really get into it.” He mentioned how it was their first time playing here and we delve into a conversation on the vastness of Philly’s music scene—a major contributor we decided to why Philly has such good crowd turnouts.
Luxley has two EPs—Elegance from about a year and a half ago and an upcoming one, Spirit, set to be released next spring. Gray recapped their set to be all five of the songs on their future EP including a single that is currently out, “Spirit”. “It’s been great to see that people are really into it on this tour and burning in energy.”
The evolution of Luxley is one that has been drastically changed and is presently still in the process of becoming permanent. Gray had first been a solo artist for three or four years while he was still in med school. He then took a leave of absence after finishing half of his degree. “Music is my biggest passion, more than medicine, but it’s one of those things where you can’t just put your finger on it and be like, ‘Oh, this is what I want to do with my life!’ cause it’s not a formulated path at all.”
Once he got together with a band of self described post rockers, Gray yearned for the band to grow more into the synth pop style of production—something that included elements of electronica and dance. When the sound shift became a reality, no one in the original band but Gray and his manager were on board. “It was nothing personal, it was just what I saw this project being. Really fitting for me personally vocally and to the layers of the instruments and the synths that I wanted to incorporate.”
He formed a totally new group in the past two months and through demos and networking got on tour with Bombay Bicycle Club. His current bandmates are Jonathon Romein on guitar, Gabriel McCassey on bass guitar and Austin Scott Perez on drums. “We’re hoping that after the tour some of these guys actually become members of the project and they stick around.”
Gray plans to return to medical school eventually but he feels that “school will always be there and this won’t.” Gray says there may be a December tour but to nonetheless keep on the lookout for a national tour in the coming year.
“We’re all excited to see what other adventures lie ahead for Luxley. It’s kinda just the beginning for us.”