Sean and Jay of Lenola

Sean and Jay of Lenola

by Brent

How did Lenola form?

Jay Laughlin – I started Lenola out as a 4-track home recording project.  I had played with Sean and Dave in a few other bands before so with their help I was able to turn it into an official “band”.  All we needed then was a bass player and as it turns out a long time bass playing friend and next door neighbor, Scott Colan’s old band had split up so he joined on to complete the band.  This was around the summer/fall of 1994.

How did you develop your sound?

J – our sound in the early records was built around guitar effects.  I would find a sound and write a song around the sound.  As time went on I found myself writing on an acoustic guitar more often and not worrying as much about the effects, instead concentrating more on the vocals & melodies of the song.

Describe for the us the typical Lenola song recording process.

J – It usually starts out with a pretty fleshed out demo that I’ll give to the band so they would have a good idea of the structure of the song then we’d head into the studio and just experiment with sounds to bring the song to life.  Sean was always great with song arrangement and vocal harmony ideas.  It was a good process for me.  I liked hearing a little demo become a full song that way.

What is your favorite Lenola song, and why?

J – My favorite older tune would be “Jet Row” from My Invisible Name, which we filled out & re-recorded as “Small Shin Splints” for the Electric Tickle EP.  it was a really fun tune to play live and always seemed to go over well.  my fav tune(S) from Sharks & Flames would be “Standing Still” & “Sudden Stop”.  I just love the way the recordings turned out.

Sean Byrne – I agree about “jet row/small shin splints”, it has a good mix of the “pretty” & the “scary” going on, I really love it.  “Riding Greens” from our first CD is a nice oldie.  From Sharks & Flames, I enjoy “Never Ends” and “As Far As I Can Throw You”.

Describe for us the sound and concept behind the new double cd, Sharks and Flames.

S – Well, the sound (in the sense of fidelity) represents a full shift to digital recording for us, and that gave us a lot of freedom in terms of mixing and tracking that we did not have on earlier CD’S which we recorded using a tape-machine.  In regards to a style or concept, we just wanted to take on a variety of styles in both the writing & recording, that would make for an interesting listen.  There is no concept or story, or even any distinct theme to either disc (like people seem to assume is the case for most double CD’S).  The discs just represent the entire period of recording for us and were each sequenced to stand up on their own as a separate CD’S.

What cd’s are you listening to these days?

J – As far as new stuff goes I’m really diggin the Delgados Hate and the latest Notwist CD.  Both albums sound amazing and are just plain fun to listen too.

S – I really like the latest CD’S by Calexico and Damien Jurado.  I also just got alot of older LP’S from my Aunt & Uncle that I’m sifting through, mostly instrumental acoustic/folk stuff from the 70’S, which I really dig alot.

Are you able to tell us why you broke up?

S – After close to 10 years of being in Lenola, I realized I was no longer as enthused about being in the band and the commitments that go along with it.  I’m very proud of Sharks & Flames but I was not feeling charged up to do shows or touring anymore.  It was just time for me to part ways with Lenola, and Jay chose to not continue the band at that point.  We’re still close as friends and are gonna continue to be involved in each other’s music.

Now that you have broken up as a group, are you involved in other music projects?

J – I’m hoping to have my new project “Garden State” up and running in the near future.  Right now I’m just working on songs myself, but hope to have a few Lenola alumni join me to complete the new live band.

S – I’m continuing to release music as The Twin Atlas, we have some new stuff out this year and are starting to do some random live shows as well. ( Lenola’s original bass player Scott has started a brilliant & funny business venture (

Will Tappersize Records continue on? How does the break-up of Lenola affect this label?

S – Tappersize will remain active for any of us or our friends that wish to release any music independently.  It’s a nice outlet that we have established over the years, and since we are all continuing to make music and help each other out, the label will continue to operate on it’s “very-low-key” level.

Will there be a farewell tour?

S – Nope. We were able to do a really nice send-off show when Scott left the band in 2001, and we had a handful of enjoyable shows in 2002 with the new expanded line-up playing mostly Sharks & Flames material.  It’s probably better to keep the good memories of our live shows intact.  Reunion/farewell shows are kinda weird y’know?  Better to move on.

What do you like better, Taco Bell or Arby’s?

J – ummmmmm……I like Budweiser better!

S – Shit, you’re not giving me much of a choice.  I’m a McD’s or Wendy’s man myself.

Any other comments? will continue to function as an archive for the band and a place to purchase music. will be fully functioning later this year for Jay’S new project. is welcoming curious visitors at the present time. is confusing curious visitors at the present time.

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