For Pop Rock
Singer Jules Galli
LEVARA is an up-and-coming pop rock band based out of California. The trio consists of Trev Lukather on guitar, Jules Galli on vocals and Josh Devin on drums. They are set to release their debut album on May 14th and have already released three singles, including the great pop hit, “Automatic.”
We had the opportunity to speak with lead singer Jules Galli to discuss the band, the new record, opening for Foreigner and Toto and the prospects of performing live this year.
GD: I’ve had the chance to listen to your new record and I think that it’s a really great pop-rock record. It has some pop sounds but the guitar and drums really stand out.
JG: Yeah, yeah. It is natural, but we know what we sound like. We just do with the songs that we wrote, that we were going for a bigger than life kinda sound.
GD: It is refreshing to hear actual instruments instead of drum machines or sampled beats.
JG: When you have Josh Devin on the drums, it would be a shame to put a drum machine on it. He can play like a drum machine too, he’s unreal.
GD: Were you guys originally going to release the album last year, but put things on the backburner because of the pandemic?
JG: We thought 2020 was going to be our year, be we just had to take a step back. We are doing the best we can with what we got. We released two singles in 2020, and now we released “Automatic” this year. We are excited to release everything in May. Hopefully the world reopens soon enough so we can play live and meet the people.
GD: I really love the new single “Automatic” I can imagine hearing the radio across the country. Your vocals are really great on that one.
JG: Thank you so much.
GD: Another track I really like is “Ordinary.” To me, it has a 80s movie soundtrack feel to it with a ripping guitar solo on it.
JG: It’s one of my favorite guitar productions on that one. I love all the guitar work that Trev did on that. Yeah, you’re right, it’s got a movie scene vibe in it yeah.
GD: So tell me, how did you come up with the band name and what does it mean?
JG: LEVARA, we basically put our last names together and jumbled it up and picked the letters out to make a word that never existed before and we came up with LEVARA.
GD: Very cool. How did the three of you meet and when did you decide to form a band?
JG: We met a little bit over three years ago in LA. Josh is British, Trev is a native and I’m from France. It was cool that we got to meet in LA with so many musicians doing what we love to do. We just found ourselves going to a session. Trev and Josh built just a killer rock instrumental and they were looking for a singer. Trev and I were following each other on Instagram and we had bumped into each other on the club scene in LA. He thought I’d might be a good fit. He just hit me up on Instagram, but I wasn’t doing rock at the time and I never thought I’d be going into a rock band. But it sounded so good. I thought that these guys are on the next level and then we really just met for real, in the studio for that vocal session. The result was cool, we weren't a band at the time, it was just the one song. But the more we wrote, the more we felt the chemistry. Then we played a few shows in town for friends. Then it was pretty clear that we should commit to this project. At the time it was called ZFG, the song that they gave me was called “Zero Fuck’s Given.” so for a band name, we just went with that.
GD: So you were born in France and came to the US about five years ago, who were some of your musical influences growing up?
JG: Actually a little longer than that. July 4, 2008 was when I landed. It’s been twelve years now.
I love Michael Jackson. Johnny Hallyday, he was like the French Elvis. That was the first concert I went to when I was five years old. That was my first connection to wanting to be that guy on stage. I had the French music, but it was with an American influence. He brought American music to France. I love Jamiroquai. Just that groovy, funky stuff. I love Motown and reggae. As soon as I discovered Bob Marley, I put it on my iPod and I couldn’t put it down. Then the Doors, Led Zeppelin. When I moved to America, I found the rock and the grunge. I discovered Pearl Jam. But Michael Jackson is still at the top of the list.
GD: Do you play any instruments?
JG: Yeah, I play guitar. I’m not a guitar hero type of player. More singer-songwriter and enough to write songs and accompany myself. Recently bass and drums have been an absolute blast. I need to get on the drums at least once a day. I just want to become a better musician. If you can learn another instrument, it will make your main instrument get on another level.
GD: When did you realize that you could sing?
JG: I was still a boy. I was around ten, I had done vocal lessons for a few years. My mom knew it before I did. She was the one who paid for my vocal lessons. Then I had made it to the conservatory of Leon and that’s when I was certified to be a singer.
GD: How are French audiences differ from American audiences?
JG: That’s a tough question. It fluctuates depending where you are in the country. I think that’s the same thing in America. If I was playing in Paris and people were sitting down, watching the show and sipping their wine, no one really dances. But if you go to the south of France and people still drink their wine, but they are standing up and spilling it all over. America has been great. When we toured when we were ZFG, each state had it’s own vibe. I loved playing in Texas. You can tell where people are just used to going and seeing live music because it’s their lifestyle. I have yet to experience being in front of people who are there just to see us. We have opened for Toto and Foreigner and we worked to win them over. I’m looking forward to that.
GD: You mentioned that you got to open for Toto and Foreigner, what was that like opening for those two well established acts?
JG: That was cool. It was like passing your thesis. It was nerve-wracking, challenging, wonderful. I became a different person because of that and the band became a different band. Opening for Toto was awesome because we were welcomed into the fold because of Trev and his dad (Steve Lukather). He’s been so helpful and supportive. It’s like life or death kind of feeling playing in front of 15-17.000 people.
The Foreigner gig was kinda last minute. The promoter we were working with in Germany when we were opening for Toto, really liked what we were doing. They needed a last minute opener for Foreigner but they needed us to do an acoustic set, which we had never done before. Our music was more hard rock and electric. Being acoustic was a challenge and we actually had to rent gear. The show went really well. As a vocalist, it was refreshing to play with just an acoustic arrangement because I don’t have to belt it as loud. It can be nice and soulful. People loved it and we also got to write what became “Automatic” in the green room with our acoustic instruments. So it’s awesome how it all unfolded. If it wasn’t for that Foreigner gig, we would not have the song “Automatic.”
GD: Wow, very cool story. You never know where inspiration will come from. Are you guys planning to hit the road this summer if things calm down?
JG: We are all praying for that. As soon as possible. We had a tour planned for June opening for Foreigner. But that got postponed. We’re just patient and whenever they say the word, we are real excited. Let’s go!
GD: Will you guys go out as an opener or be the headliner of a club tour?
JG: We would do both. That’s what we did when we opened for Toto. I think we did like fifteen shows with them and we did fifteen of our own shows. We did thirty shows in thirty days. It’s a great contrast going from playing in front of a lot of people but they didn’t know us, to playing in a small club where people actually paid money to come and see us. We had eighty to a hundred and twenty people in the room. That was insane to us, coming from over the pond. We thought there might be like twenty people.
GD: I hope you guys make a stop in Cleveland when you do go on tour. Like I said, I think the album is really good and I hope to turn some people on to it.
JG: Yes! That’s where the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is. America is definitely on our map and interest. We want to go all around the world.
GD: Jules, thank you so much for your time today. I wish you nothing but success on the new album when it comes out.
JG: Thank you, Greg. I really appreciate it!
Make sure you check out LEVARA's brand new album when it drops on May 14th. To give you a little taste, check out their great single, "Automatic" below!