Courtesy of LVX
This is part of our weekly series titled “Columbus’ Own,” where we profile a local band every week.
One Columbus-based band takes the term “family business” seriously – it’s comprised of two sets of brothers.
The men make up LVX, which is named in reference to the Latin word for “light,” and is an apt description of the mood and energy the band wants to bring to its listeners.
“I would say our sound is maybe a more energetic Coldplay or U2, but we definitely have a lot of influence from today’s top 40, so we try to incorporate more sounds beyond that,” said Jesse Johnson, lead vocalist and a fourth-year in political science at Ohio State.
Brothers Alex and Jesse Johnson, 19 and 22, respectively, were looking to casually play music with others when their lifelong pals, brothers Cameron and Tucker Rochte, 20 and 22, respectively, joined them for jam sessions.
“We’re kind of a band of brothers,” said drummer Alex Johnson. “We’ve known each other since the first grade. We all went to school together, and we’ve been playing music together the last year and a half.”
The band was discovered by Jerry DePizzo, saxophonist for the band O.A.R (Of A Revolution), which consists of all OSU alumni, when Jesse Johnson went to visit a friend and his family.
“I told (Jerry’s dad) I was in a band. He politely asked me if he could hear the music. He must have liked it because he told me about his son and said he would like to introduce me to him,” Alex Johnson said. “From then, I’ve had an amazing relationship with both Jerry and his father.”
The four stayed committed to the band and began moving forward with DePizzo to produce their EP.
“We never thought this would be a band that we would be doing anything with, it wasn’t a conscious decision to start a band and record an EP and whatnot,” Alex Johnson said. “It was kind of out of boredom and a love of music.”
“At Arms Length,” the four-piece band’s first studio recording, dropped on iTunes Tuesday after a year of writing and recording the six-song EP.
While Jesse Johnson is the most experienced musician, as he’s been playing instruments for four years longer than the rest of the band and writes most of the music, all band members contribute artistically.
“We don’t get in power struggles about creative control. I feel like we all know what our strengths and weaknesses are,” Jesse Johnson said. “If I’m not good at something, someone in the band is, so I let them make the decisions on that issue, and it has worked out for us very well.”
Although the four-piece band is typical on the surface with the implementation of drums, guitar and bass, almost all band members play additional instruments.
“The bass player, Cameron Rochte, plays piano as well as the bass, and I’ll play a little piano and some mandolin, and we can all interchange instruments,” Jesse Johnson said.
Tucker Rochte plays guitar and works the band’s social media.
The openness of band members to play any instrument gives LVX a diverse sound that is appealing to fans of many genres, Jesse Johnson said.
“We’ll have a track that’s straightforward guitars, drums and bass, and then we’ll have a track right after it that might have mandolin and bells,” Jesse Johnson said.
The band’s manager and president of New Entertainment Co., Leslie Armour, specializes in marketing and branding of young acts in smaller markets for major labels. She has become fired up with the sound of LVX and sees endless potential for the band.
“(Their sound) is so current and I immediately became impassioned. I got to know them and went to see a live performance. The music spoke loudly, but they had no real brand,” she said. “They needed to develop a brand then stay there.”
Armour, with a body of work that includes such talent as pop-rock band New Hollow, sees LVX as a crossover band of alternative and pop, with a very current and fresh sound that will appeal to listeners, especially the women in the audience.
“Jesse’s lyrics are so fresh and of-the-moment. There’s really nothing like it that’s out there,” she said. “And the way Jesse dances on stage is a little off, like he’s really letting the music sway him rather than something contrived.”
Jesse Johnson describes his lyrics as personal yet relatable.
“I always try to write more about the emotions and less about the situations,” he said. “Emotions are universal, while my experience may be unique and, for the most part, uninteresting to most people.”
With the band’s new look, fresh and clean like its music, young women might be interested, after all.
Too bad though, Jesse Johnson said. All members of the band are taken.
LVX is currently working on booking new shows, but none are currently scheduled.