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Interview with Lucius Band at Boston Calling

Anna Cieslik ’16 / Emertainment Monthly Editor

Boston Calling Music Festival is finally here this weekend, and Emertainment Monthly and Lucius got a head start on the festivities with a fun Q&A. Before catching the band’s eclectic indie pop set at City Hall Plaza today at 2 pm, read all about their influences, their greatest moments as a band, and how they feel about returning to the city where they first started.

Emertainment Monthly: Your new album, “Wildewoman,” is coming out this October, but you also have a very heavy touring schedule ahead of you. Do you prefer the recording process or the touring process more and why?

Lucius 1Lucius: Both are incredibly gratifying, being in the studio, you get to experiment and take your time to develop an idea. It can be very exciting and creative. But on the road, we get to connect with an audience. Our environment changes every night. The energy changes every night. Being able to have that immediate response from a crowd, that’s probably the most rewarding feeling we are able to experience as musicians.

EM: What was the heaviest influence you drew upon when recording “Wildewoman” and how do you think that influence manifested itself in the album?

Lucius: It was a long process, and I think we drew from so many sonic and stylistic influences – between the five of us, we have a wide array of music that inspires us. But I would say the one thing that ties it all together and became the heaviest component in the end was focusing on the writing and giving each song it’s deserved life – to enable it to sit in its own little world. Not forcing a sound onto anything. Being open, experimenting, and making songs and arrangements that were interesting and meaningful but accessible to the listener. A conversation of sorts.

EM: Jess and Holly, you work very closely as lead singers in the band. Can you describe the process in which you write your vocal parts? Is it a collaborative effort through and through, or do you split up the process in some way? 

Lucius 2

Lucius: It really depends on the song. Sometimes one of us will bring an idea to the table, and the other finishes the thought. Sometimes we start and end together. We’ve been blessed to have had parallel experiences, and it has leant itself to a true understanding of one another throughout the writing process. But really, there is no formula to what we do.

EM: Boston Calling is the first major music festival in the city of Boston. How does it feel to be a part of the lineup for the festival’s second round? 

Lucius: We feel extremely grateful to be amongst other artists we admire. We started the band in Boston and it always feels like somewhat of a homecoming.

EM: What are some of your favorite songs to perform as a band and why?

Lucius: Genevieve is really fun live, we all play drums and percussion except for Pete who’s holding everything down with bass/guitar- we dance and the crowd dances with us and it’s just a good old time. The title track, Wildewoman is great for similar reasons. And then some of the slower ones like Go Home really resonate with people, and the energy we get back is exhilarating. Really the audience plays the lead role in our live show, they bring the party and we couldn’t do it without them.

EM: Are you the type of band that prefers to have your entire set mapped out clearly beforehand, or do you like to tailor your set to the crowd as the show progresses?

Lucius: We usually have a pretty strong idea of what were going to be doing before the show starts…We like to link songs together, try and create a dynamic experience, stopping as infrequently as possible so that we can all stay in this world we are creating, together. But if we’re feeling high energy from the crowd, that will definitely change the way we play and often it will prompt an addition to the set, or some changes. We never get too stuck on something.

EM: What has been the hardest obstacle you’ve had to overcome as a band? 

Lucius: Well as a young touring band, we are putting in loads of hard work before we are able to support ourselves financially. It’s not a 9-5 job on salary. It’s a 24 hour job. And oftentimes, as you’re trying to put yourselves out there, get yourselves heard by a new audience or a bigger audience, you have to do things to promote yourselves, without compensation. Hopefully this will change in the near future, but it’s definitely a stress that most young artists experience.

EM: Conversely, what has been the greatest “a-hah” moment when you realized that you’re actually making it as a band?

Lucius 3Lucius: We have definitely had some special moments. Singing with Wilco this summer was an absolute highlight, visiting with Bob Ludwig in Portland, Maine (he’s the master-er of all master-ers, with the most joyful spirit), but playing at [South By Southwest] at Saint David’s Cathedral, with 600 silent listeners, the room’s natural reverb, it was an almost-spiritual experience. After that show I cried. I think those moments are why we do what we do, and are less about knowing or thinking you’ve “made it.” I hope we can continue to experience those moments for the rest of our lives. I don’t think we could ever take that feeling for granted. I don’t think it would ever get old.

EM: What should people expect when they go to see Lucius live?

Lucius: A lot of energy, songs to sing along to, and a visual element to heighten the whole experience. It’s a show. We play with a lot of symmetry and bold colors to expand upon our sound. Hopefully you’ll be transported for a little while…

EM: Last but not least, is there anyone you guys and girls are looking forward to seeing at Boston Calling?

Lucius: Honestly, everyone on the roster is someone we’ve been excited to see. Our dearest friends, You Won’t, are opening the show on Saturday – we are always excited to hear them. Bat For Lashes, Vampire Weekend, Okkervil River…And we wish we could be here on Sunday to see Solange too.

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Are you planning on catching Lucius live at Boston Calling this weekend? Let us know what your favorite part of their set was afterward in the comments! Even if you aren’t able to make it out to the fest today, catch up on Lucius’ super cool, unique style by listening to some of their tracks.

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