The two lead singers of Lucius, Jess Wolfe and Holly Laessig, came on stage smiling like they had something special in store for us. Their mirrored outfits (completed by identical blonde bobs and dark cat-eye makeup) made perfect sense in the context of their entwined harmonies, which sounded as if they came from one person. With silvery voices that were anything but docile, they drew in the audience like sirens drawing in a doomed ship. If we were a doomed ship, however, we were also a happy one- we swayed and pounded our feet along to every song that they gave us. Wolfe and Laessig’s voices were amped up by the high-energy beats provided by multi-instrumentalists Dan Molad, Peter Lalish and Andrew Burri. I had a chance to learn a little more about this Brooklyn-based indie pop quintet from Molad before the show:
Zoe Atlas: Can you tell us a little bit about your beginnings as a band- how did the five of you meet and begin to play together?
Dan Molad: Jess & Holly started singing together about 8 years ago. Around Thanksgiving 2009 Jess came to see my band Elizabeth & the Catapult play at the House of Blues in LA. After the show, she gave me a Lucius CD. I fell in love with the songs. Fast forward almost a year, the girls were looking to record some new material and I was parting ways with the Catapult. I needed a new project to sink my teeth into and the girls were looking to explore a new edgier sound. So we started working together on what would end up being Wildewoman. While working on “version 1” of Wildewoman, I introduced the girls to Pete who played on a few tracks. Pete and I had been musical soul mates for a long time so I knew they would love him and they did. Shortly there after, Pete and I officially joined the band. About a year after that, I was recording a band called Annie & The Beekeepers. Andy was playing guitar and singing with them. Andy and I connected very quickly and I suggested to the girls and Pete that we try playing with him. In our first rehearsal he knew our songs better than we did! Andy officially joined Lucius, we rerecorded about half of the record, toured a shit ton and here we are.
ZA: Lucius has gained a lot of recognition quickly- how does this feel, and has it changed the way that your music sounds at all?
DM: It feels amazing! I have played in a lot of bands and this is definitely the most “recognition” received of any band I have been in. I would like to think that each member’s individual musical growth has something to do with it and that it isn’t luck, although I am extremely grateful to be where we are! The only way I would say being recognized affects our sound is that the more we tour the more we try to design our set based on the space we are playing in. Some stuff works great in a seated theater that doesn’t work great in a rock club. It’s a process we are still figuring out. At the end of the day, we just try to stay true to ourselves, our vision of the band and the songs.
ZA: What is the songwriting/creative process like for Lucius?
DM: Up until this point the girls come to the boys with an unarranged song and we all stylize it together. The boys may end up helping with harmonic rhythm, tempo or the parts we each play. Every member is a writer so LP2 may exhibit some of that.
ZA: Who do you consider as a musical influence?
DM: Everyone comes from very different musical upbringings. As far as what shaped me a musician, I grew up loving jazz guitarists-Grant Green, Wes Montgomery, George Benson, Joe Pass. As a kid all I listened to was the soundtrack to Stand By Me. I also loved Weezer, 311, lots of 90’s hiphop (A Tribe Called Quest, De La Soul, KRS one) and obviously the Beatles. Pretty all over the place!
ZA: As a multi-instrumentalist and producer, how has your experience with Lucius differed from other work that you’ve done in the past?
DM: I have had the good fortune of playing with many really talented people. What separates Lucius from the others is we each focus on our strengths. While Lucius is centered around the girls and their unified voice, every member plays an integral role in bringing these songs to life.
ZA: What are some of your favorite things about the Boston music scene- do you have a favorite place to play?
DM: Well I have yet to play at the Sinclair but I hear it’s amazing! I went to college in Boston so for me, this is the city that developed my musical taste buds! I loved getting to go to all the venues in Boston. From the Somerville theater to Paradise to Bill’s Bar and Avalon! I know things have changed a bit, but college towns will always yield great music both locally and touring!
ZA: What is in the future for Lucius, in terms of touring and recording?
DM: We are gonna tour until our brains melt and eventually start making a new record. Being that Jess and I have a home studio we always have something new in the works. I think we also want to expand on this record as much as we can, delving into other mediums of art/presentation. As I mentioned before, everyone in the band is a songwriter in their own right so that may bring new things to LP2. Our next record will be our first from start to finish as a band so that will definitely yield something new. Although Lucius is new to every person we meet for the first time we need to feel renewed to keep our spirits alive! Because of that I think we will always be working on something new.
Lucius’ sold-out show at the Sinclair was one of the most engaging that I’ve been to in a while for several reasons. First and foremost, their sound was made distinct by the haunting lyrical quality of a good folk group and the animation of a full rock band. They were also unique in their presentation; with the matching lead singers and suave, suit-clad instrumentalists, it was obvious that they cared about visual appeal. They engaged with and fed off of the crowd, starting out the show with a pulsing vibrancy that didn’t let up until after they had come offstage into the middle of the audience to do their final number. Catch them on one of their tour dates; you won’t regret it.