For Santa Feans of a certain ilk, musician and songwriter Eliza Lutz has been a stalwart champion of local music, DIY ethics and multi-disciplinary artistry. As the singer and principal songwriter for post-rock quartet Future Scars, Lutz has proven a valuable and vulnerable mainstay in local music—which kind of made their move to Albuquerque a couple years back a real heartbreaker. Still, Future Scars has remained active and, despite their own local exodus, Lutz has remained a friend to Santa Fe this whole time (much of their band still lives here, too.) This week, Future Scars takes the stage hot on the heels of their newest release, Half Life, one that came out on cassette and one that finds the band unifying like never before for a fresher and more varied sound featuring more collaborative songwriting. It’s a banger, alright. We caught up with Lutz ahead of Future Scars’ upcoming show with Albuquerque’s brilliant Prism Bitch and Los Mocos (6 pm Friday, Sept. 14. $10. The Bridge@Santa Fe Brewing Co., 37 Fire Place, (505) 557-6182). This interview has been edited for length at clarity.
OK, you’ve got some new songs. What was that writing process like?
I think maybe the most notable thing about this record rather than our last one…it’s been exactly four years since that previous record. I had a lot of song outlines, then we came together as a band. We had a changeover with Dylan McDowell [taking over on drums for Marcus DiFilippo] with us, and it was our first chance for writing collectively as a group—which was really nice. We had stuff going on into the beginning of 2020, and the pandemic obviously switched all our priorities around, so we took a lot more time and weren’t rushed. Sometimes these things can feel like we just gotta get it down, but this time...our collective views on a lot of things came together, and we were thinking both personally and collectively about...health and healing and things that linger.
Was that weird getting used to as someone who has kind of written the bulk of the material?
I wanted it so badly, and it was so good. I mean, I have a lot of ideas and I can steer the ship when it’s required, but it’s not my preference. And I’m writing with these great people, so it was fun. I’m still doing vocals and the lyric writing, but it was so collaborative. Someone would be like, ‘Here’s a theme I’m writing what do you think?’ [These songs delve into] literal anxieties, or the things people do with good intentions that cause harm; fading memory; dealing with fatigue; loss; collective grief.
One song started with a tune [keyboardist] Dylan Blanchard was working on, or one song came from a motif [bassist] Paul [Wagner] was working on. I think all of us in the band went through a lot of pretty profound personal changes, some spurred by the pandemic and some maybe catalyzed for having to face hard decisions. I know for me, I think the health problems I was working on...I was masking them for a long time and trying to keep up with the pace of the things. Suddenly, I had all this space to be sick and it was kind of a relief; it kind of, in a weird way, made me feel less sick. Going into making this last record came with big feels and this kind of push of energy to move on, and I think there’s a lot to be said for that. It was cathartic to find a different kind of quiet in how we collaborated and wrote this record, and it really did change the sound—we still get heavy, but we get intimate, too. I need to sing a little more chill sometimes.
There’s the digital version of the record, but is there a physical release?
We released it on tape. We opted not for vinyl because there were delays [with pressing vinyl], but we might do that later. We were just kind of ready. And because I’ve gotten into printmaking...the process of making this record seemed to extrapolate what I think printmaking represents: the slow, methodical carving away at something until you’re left with what remains. I feel like that’s how our songwriting ended up being, and what the songs are about.