Lucius are making serious waves on both sides of the Atlantic. Described by the Guardian recently as “the missing link between Arcade Fire and Haim”, heralded as the saviours of indie-pop, and with a heavy weight of expectation adorning their slender shoulders, State.ie meets up with guitarist and vocalist Pete Lalish as he starts to suffer the strenuous consequences of their growing stature, “I made tea and went for a walk, that’s been my day.”
Who are you and where are you from?
We are Lucius, from New York. Actually, I’m Pete from Lucius and we’re from a few different places. Each member of the band is from a different part of the country but Lucius are from New York. We all met here and lived here for about 9 years up until this point and we all met at different points over that time, if you get me. As a band we’ve been around for 3 years and that includes 2 years of solid touring.
Who are your favorite artists from home?
Oh man, being from New York is like… imagine if you love fish and live on a tiny island in the middle of the most delicious ocean ever. There are so many great people and bands making amazing music that I lose count. So many people in our community make great music, or great art, or have incredible studios and so much talent, it’s unbelievable. What’s great is that we all support and appreciate each other. If I had to pick one I’d say Luke Temple (Here We Go Magic). We’ve known him for so long that we’ve seen his career and his music change so much so often that we almost feel part of it. To witness an artist evolve like that is so inspirational and when Danny (Lucuis’ drummer) produced some of Luke’s music it just strengthened the sense of community. In that sense New York is like an umbilical chord that just links so many musicians to each other. Also, there’s a great band called Tall Tall Trees… and then there’s tUneYards, Merril is such a bad ass and watching her band make music with all of their bodies, mouths, instruments, wow.
What’s it really like touring?
Exhausting. We’ve just come off what can only be described a two year tour of the US, Canada and Europe and it’s fucking exhausting, man. Physically it’s the lack of sleep and emotionally it’s the lack of contact with your family, friends and loved ones that are most difficult. It’s almost like your body is screaming to stop but you somehow trick it into persevering. Don’t ask me how…
What’s your favourite city/town/venue to play?
In all honesty I’m saying Dublin. We played there before and pretty much the entire audience in… I can’t fucking remember the name of the venue… but they all stayed after the show and the atmosphere was so unique. People love music there and love live shows so they really make a night out of it. Everybody was so approachable and they made it feel so familial and inclusive that we just wanted to stay back and party with everybody. Which we did.
What’s been your worst show?
Ha, anything that involves food poisoning. Okay, let me see, we’ve definitely played under some very strange conditions… but the worst show for one person in the band might not be the worst for anybody else. For me personally, it’s definitely food poisoning… I won’t go into detail but it involved daipers.
What’s your ideal festival line-up?
Okay well firstly it would be on the Moon. And every band would be a Metallica cover band. And there would be wash basins beside every portaloo – which, in the artist areas at many festivals is not the case – and it would be headlined by a computer generated hologram. Like when they brought Tupac back from the dead. Now, I think Tupac was amazing but if you’re gonna bring somebody back from the dead they should really do it with somebody like Carl Sagan. I’d have my ideal festival headlined by a CG hologram of Carl Sagan delivering a speech. So, Metallica cover bands supporting a hologram of Carl Sagan delivering a speech in the vocal styling of James Hetfield.
A new artist that you are most excited about?
Shovels and Rope – a drummer and guitarist just screaming into each others mouths and they’re a husband and wife band, that must be great for their marriage! Also there’s this band from Philadelphia called Pattern Is Movement, but they certainly aren’t new. They’ve been around for a while but they don’t release albums that often. When they do it’s just incredible, their music is so amazing, it’s almost operatic.
What has been your biggest achievement of the year?
Uhm…well we left home in January and have barely been home. I mean, we’ve been back and forth to Europe and all over America and to do that, come home, and then prepare for another album without each of us burning out is some achievement. So that has been our biggest accomplishment in general. And most importantly we’ve become a really tight live band, so that too is an achievement.
What was the worst piece of advice you were given?
Somebody once told me…ha, actually I’m not going to say that. People generally say things to me that go in one ear and out the other, honestly. I think the worst advice I’ve ever gotten was somebody telling me what I should be doing. This person didn’t know me, didn’t know anything about me, yet thought they could tell me that. I’m open to criticism, though, we all should be. But somebody telling me what was best for me without knowing me was just strange. That’s fairly general though, so I’m gonna say this as my answer – and this is on behalf of our drummer, Danny – the worst piece of advice ever was that it’s okay to get an eyebrow ring.
What inspires you as a band?
Well I can only speak for myself here but the two girls in the band are like a force of nature. Firstly, their voices work so well together and as a creative force they are unstoppable. Even though our music is a kind of non-vocal arrangement, if you get me, you just feel confident when you’re playing with them. They listen to each other in such an intimate way and are badass singers to start with, to just know that they are at the core of the band inspires me so much. Knowing that they can do that and maintain their own identity is amazing to work with.
What should we expect from your Irish shows?
Well it will be loud, to start with. And like I said earlier, it’s rare for us to all come off stage and have shared the same experience; that happened in Dublin the last time. Only this time it’s a bigger venue and a bigger show so we’re hoping for that again, for us and the people who come see us.
Lucius play in Whelan’s on October 25th, tickets are €15 and available from the usual outlets.