Six months has past since we brought the musical genius that is Lucius to the pages of Her.ie and we’re only delighted that the American quintet are making a return to Ireland this week as part of their European tour.
Hailed by Rolling Stone magazine as “the best band you may not have heard of yet”, Lucius is without a doubt one group that you definitely will not be forgetting in a hurry.
Fronted by two Brooklyn ladies, Jess Wolfe and Holly Laessig, (that we really want to be friends with), the band are set to play Dublin’s famous musical haunt, Whelan’s this Saturday night.
We caught up with one fifth of the group, Jesse, ahead of their headlining gig to chat about the festival life, the European crowd, new material and the exploitation of females in the music industry.
The five-piece lifted the metaphorical roof off The Workman’s Club, Dublin at Easter and when asked if Jesse was surprised by the rapturous response that they received she admitted that it was an “incredible feeling”.
“Anytime you go some place that you have never been and there’s hundreds of people there singing your songs, you can’t not be overwhelmed with joy, it is an incredible feeling,” she said.
“We made a choice to come back to Europe as often as possible because you want to make sure that people know that we’re hearing request and we’re giving it the attention it deserves,” Jesse continued.
“We’ve done some relentless touring in the US and so it was time to give the same attention to Europe. We’re very excited to be coming back, especially a headlining tour.
‘Turn It Around’, the latest track from album Wildewoman. We challenge you not to hit the replay button.
When it comes to the festival circuit, Jesse explains that the band try to enjoy others acts when they can, however if their summer schedule is anything to go by, the band are too in demand to even catch their breathe.
“A couple of weeks ago we played Redding on a Friday, Paris on Saturday and Leeds on a Sunday. It was so insane and so that’s kind of unfortunate because you don’t get to experience what the festival is about, which is unfortunate”.
Despite the jet setting between gigs, Jesse does have a favourite: “The highlight for us I think was End Of The Road in Salisbury, England. It was just really magical, whimsical and everybody is just in high spirits.
“Newport Folk Festival in Newport Road Island – there’s something in the water there. It is the most creative artist-friendly festival I’ve ever been to. We got to sing with Mavis Staples and Jeff Tweedy – it was just unbelievable”.
The band released Wildewoman in the US last year and its European release fell at the beginning of Spring. Jesse revealed that the Lucius are working on new material, which we can expect towards the end of next year.
“When we’re on the road it is just too much. We’re going to Vermont to the cabin in the woods and we’re to write up there. We’ve already taken about a week in the past couple of months to work on stuff – It’s going well.
“If all goes according to plan, hopefully we will have something by next Fall, that’s the goal”.
Musical influences tell us a lot about a band and individual singers, and we must admit that when it came to asking one of our favourite questions – if you could take a song by another artist that you wish you could call your own, what would it be? – Jesse stole our answer.
“There’s many songs that The Beatles have written, or David Bowie, or Prince,” Jesse laughs.
“I hope one day that something that we write will travel well and it will be so gratifying that we’ve written it ourselves”.
‘How Loud Your Heart Gets’ our FAVOURITE Lucius track – yes, CAPS LOCK was needed.
Jesse and Holly are very much in-sync, vocally and aesthetically, but has anyone ever tried to persuade the ladies to move in a different direction?
“Oh no, people like what we do and let us do our thing luckily. I can’t imagine Jeff Tweedy trying to give us style advice,” she jokes.
“There was sort of a friend at one point that tried to say that she wasn’t crazy about the things that we were doing and we just kind of ignored it. We have a very distinct vision and it is very much a creative process as anything else. It is another outlet just like a painting or lighting. We find a lot of joy and fun in it”.
In the last decade an artist’s success has, in some cases, very much depended on how provocative their album cover looked or how raunchy their music video was – and for some, almost became a game as to which artist could out do the other in the shock factor. With a band of Lucius’ calibre, there is none of that.
As the saying goes ‘sex sells’ and in the music industry this issue has never been more prominent, with the topic of exploitation cropping up many times, particularly referring to females in the business. So do these explicit acts make it more difficult for a group like Lucius to succeed?
“We’re not anything like those people, it is such a different game”, Jess tells us.
“The people that we take inspiration from are people where the visual aspect is some much of a reflection of their work,” she continued.
“A lot of that exploitive stuff I kind of just ignore it because it does not really have anything to do with music. I think that is the main difference and that is just purely entertainment in my opinion, which is why people don’t compare us too people like that – I hope”.
Wildewoman in its entirety carries a message of strength, defiance and independence, and before parting ways, Jesse shared with us her advice in making in the music industry.
“If you love something so much that you’re willing to do anything for that dream or that passions. If you work relentlessly – I mean blood, sweat and tears, and you pour it all out it will happen,” Jesse said.
“Of course a little bit of luck is necessary but if you are a really hard worker there is no way that anything or anyone could get in the way of doing what you need to do. I think it is just matter of perseverance. It is hard to work hard all of the time but you just have to be on”.
Other things you should know about Jess from Lucius…
What artist are you listening to at the moment that you think is tipped for great success?
“Blake Mills just put out a new record – he is incredible. He is a very well respected musician. His voice and his song are just timeless”.
Name a track that you’re listening to at the minute.
Susanne Sundfør – White Foxes.
Is there a music accolade that you would like to win?
“I don’t know enough about awards. Whatever anyone wants to give us that is the one we want!”
Lucius, impressive percussive post-punk musical power that you NEED to hear live…