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Oklahoma City's Luma steers darker, melodic experiment as Fires of Atlas



Historically, the music industry is filled with bands that refuse to develop slowly and smolder away like the embers of a late night bonfire. For the members of the metro band formerly known as Luma, music is a story of evolution.


A jam session brought Luma together in 2005, and quickly the four members started to write their own songs, drummer Adam Chamberlain said. The sound largely reflected the wildly popular Euro pop-rock styles of Coldplay, U2 and Keane, and in 2006, the band staged its first performance at The UCO Jazz Lab in Edmond.

The band spent the year touring regionally throughout the Southwest, experiencing moderate success with songs appearing on MTV's "The Hills" and "The Real World XX: Hollywood." In early 2007 Luma's members took a hiatus from touring and regrouped.

It was during this break that Chamberlain said he and his band mates decided to make a change, consciously moving their sound away from indistinguishable pop.

"Basically, we had been writing stuff that sounded like tons of things already out there " stuff that's already been done by plenty of people ... with fairly typical pop/rock sounds and structures," Chamberlain said. "We wanted to get away from that and write something true to ourselves with the music that's really inside of us. It's just more honest now."

In effort to completely redefine the group, the musicians left their sound, style and name by the wayside.

"We like the words "¦ the way they sound," Chamberlain said of the more mythical moniker. "It's very different music now, so it really deserves a different name." 

Chamberlain, singer/guitarist Hunter Goodman, lead guitarist/pianist Stephen Collins and bassist Marcus Collins will return to the Jazz Lab where they started as Luma for a 7 p.m. Thursday performance with OKC's The Uglysuit and Emit.

Turning away from upbeat, pop-driven reverberations, Fires of Atlas layers darker, more melodic cadences and meshes it with experimental songwriting to deliver a sound the members describe as a "right hook to the face."

The act's wide appreciation for a variety of styles allows it to diversify, rather than limit songwriting options. Chamberlain said the band is inspired to experiment through the classical influences of Handel and Rachmaninoff, and fuse the results with notorious classic rock innovators like Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd. The band even takes cues from modern electro/dance acts like Shiny Toy Guns and Moby, Chamberlain said.

"It's very much a collaborative effort," he said. "Before, we were a little timid about stepping on each other's toes maybe and our fans', too. But now, we're really just looking for the best music that is true to ourselves. So that comes with more debating and time spent on really stretching songs, exploring all avenues, just seeing where we can take the music. It's definitely more interesting now."

Collins echoed Chamberlain's sentiments on the band's MySpace page, writing: "On our first EP, we let ourselves be too limited by our influences and by conventions of normal pop structure. Now we feel like we've found ourselves, and we're just writing music that we love."   

Chamberlain said Fires of Atlas is planning regional tours and recording a new EP with producer Jarod Evans of Black Watch Studios in Norman.  "Dan Davis

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