Posted by a Contributorin June’s Magazine
WU-LYF. Heard of them? Nope, not surprising. The Manchester band (known as World Unite! – Lucifer Youth Foundation to their friends) has proved to be the enigma of the music world for the past year or more.
Almost unilaterally refusing to speak to the media, or until recently release any real information about themselves, the band has proved a welcome relief in an age of overexposure. Sticking to their guns, the band turned down the ensuing barrage of record deals that followed the voracious media interest in these blurred isolationists. And it is here that their story turns from simply another story of minor-indie romance into something that could really change the face of current music.
The funding for the self-production of their debut-album, which took place in a disused church no less, was aided by money generated from the band’s ‘fan club’. Paying £15 each, around 900 fans signed up to join the LYF, receiving a rasp of rarities from a limited 12” to a bandit mask – more importantly though they acquired the feeling of being part of something. Without wishing to go on (too much) of a rant, nowadays music can be downloaded and discarded at the click of a button, in some cases leaving only the faintest of memories because of its use on an advert or TV show. With the money generated by the LYF donations being used to cover touring expenses and recording costs, these members truly have a right to claim the band as their own and revel in aligning themselves with their work.
The idea of fan-funded creations is not a new one. However, it has mostly been used by bands that have long since passed the zenith of their career – like Gang Of Four or Marillion – and lack sufficient funding from a record label. WU-LYF appear at the other end of this spectrum, only just embarking on their journey and apparently embracing their fans involvement as opposed to passing out the begging bowl as a final clutching at straws (remember those turned down record deals). As Ellery Roberts, one quarter of the enigma, stated in NME, “I’m in the LYF. Better than a band.”
And the results? Go Tell Fire To The Mountain proves to be one of the most eccentric and beautiful albums of the year, sounding different to anything coming from the mainstream world of label-backed bands. Giving fans a cause to pin their flags to has allowed the band in turn the time to express themselves and create something truly individual. And truly special. Emerging bands take note.