Raw & intimate: Lemuria's Sheena Ozzella talks about the band’s emo-indie sound on the 10th anniversary of 'Get Better'

Lemuria’s Get Better tour stops in Tampa at Crowbar Feb. 27, with guests Cayetana and Mikey Erg.

click to enlarge GENGRE-BUSTER: Lemuria's Sheena Ozella plays 8 Seconds in Gainesville, Florida as part of Fest 11 on October 27, 2012. - Nicole Kibert © // elawgrrl.com
Nicole Kibert © // elawgrrl.com
GENGRE-BUSTER: Lemuria's Sheena Ozella plays 8 Seconds in Gainesville, Florida as part of Fest 11 on October 27, 2012.

"I don't want to sound like a bummer, but as you get older it gets harder and harder to tour again," Sheena Ozella, frontwoman and guitarist of Lemuria, admitted to CL. "It gets harder to leave the town you live in, harder to pay the bills, and I feel we're really lucky to do that."


It's been 10 years since Lemuria's Get Better LP came out, and the album’s resonance and notoriety within the indie and emo circuits is well-deserved. Hailing from Buffalo, New York, Ozella and Lemuria were influenced by the local DIY punk scene, a concept that translated effortlessly to the recording of Get Better. One might be shocked to hear that at the time of recording, the members of Lemuria were just learning how to play their instruments. Ozella relays the memory with a charming laugh. “A band that has brutal honesty with one another is hard to do because no one wants to hurt each other’s feelings, but that made our band what it is today.”

When recording an album, patience is a virtue — something that Ozella recalled was not her forte. “We recorded Get Better in a really tiny studio in New York with a guy named Doug White. For me, I feel the recording process is really chaotic, and I don't have much patience with playing a song a million times to figure out which take was better, but Alex and Max love picking the songs apart and digging deep into what individual piece can be better.”

Get Better's raw and intimate legacy places it oddly in the realms of both indie rock and emo, much like the dueling vocals and lyrical styles of Ozella and Kerns, a dichotomy that was noted by the band. Contemplatively, Ozella thought about the application of the genre and the acceptance of the baggage sometimes associated with emo. "We call ourselves indie rock, but I definitely grew up listening to emo, I wouldn't cringe if I heard we were considered an emo band. It’s funny to think of emo having its revival moment. It depends on how you view emo. I like it, to be considered an emo-indie band."

This diversity of sound and influence was integral to the recording process. “Each person in the band has different inspirations. For me personally I'm very mechanical and a fan of a lot heavier music. And you know, naturally indie rock is what I want to write. I naturally write that, but I Iove heavier aspects. When we were recording Get Better, there were no rules… There was no hesitating on what we did or didn't want to do, or if a vocal part or lyric was weird, but honestly we have a very unique friendship. Our music shows that we collaborate really well together.”

That collaboration is evident even in the lyrics of Get Better, which possess a duality that the entire band has displayed throughout its tenure and perhaps better underpins their genre-straddling endeavor. The re-release of Get Better comes packaged with an essay on the album's conception and the events of the time, reminiscing about the gloomy surroundings that birthed the album. Ozella expounded on the subject. "Alex did the essay actually, it's beautiful. I think for Get Better specifically, I had a few songs on there that were love songs, but that album was a grieving album for Alex because he lost his father when he wrote that record, so it was appropriate that he shared his stories about the record, even though I had a part on it. That album represents a lot of time in Alex's life that I'm fortunate enough to sing about.”

Ozella offered some sentiments about the tour, and what it's like to be looking back while moving forward.

"It's definitely inspiring to play the album again. I think the songs we've written together are genuinely good and I'm excited to play them. It's really nice to relate to them still and ultimately write music that's not going to go through a musical phase that's just popular,” she said. "We write music that goes along with growing up and it's cool to be able to play those songs and still relate to them." Lemuria is of course, intimately familiar with and warmly fond of Florida.

“I think Florida feels like a second home to us because of how much time we've spent down there,” Ozella said. “I love Crowbar. It's super nice and cozy and a great place to play. We have a lot of friends in Tampa, and we have beach time and time to relax.”

Lemuria plays Crowbar in Ybor City on Monday, February 27. Doors are at 8 p.m. EST. Cover is $13-$15, Cayetana and Mikey Erg play support. More information is available via local.cltampa.com.

About The Author

Brian Roesler

Brian is a former CL intern and current contributor to Treble Zine. He's a self-described expert in emo and blackgaze. He thinks revivals/reunions are rad, and will totally go to a show with you.

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