If you haven’t heard of the Brooklyn based band Lucius, you’ve been missing out. Lucius formed in 2005 after badass harmony-creating extraordinaires and multi-instrumentalists Jess Wolfe and Holly Laessig met while attending Berklee School of Music. The chance meeting led the duo into a close-knit friendship, ultimately forming the band and moving to Brooklyn to further nurture their careers. Lucius definitely carries a great amount of girl power, but you can’t discount the unbelievable talents of the rest of the band – Dan Molad, Peter Lalish, and Andrew Burri.
In the last 3 years, Lucius has gone from a relatively independent band to being prominently featured in Showtime’s latest show, “Roadies” (which is now unfortunately cancelled), as well as being the only female players in Desert Trip’s, a music festival produced by the same founders of Coachella, inaugural first year lineup — the band will be performing with the legendary Roger Waters.
We spoke to Holly Laessig about the bands unique sound, what it’s like writing as a pair, what inspires them, and what we can expect from their Desert Trip performance.
How does writing songs as a duo work? Do you each write something separately, then meet in the middle? Or do you write together from start to finish?
We do both actually, it really depends on the song. If something strikes either one of us and we need to get down an idea it’s often times just verses or choruses, or just lyrics or melodies. We finish what was started from there together. But there have also been songs we’ve started in a session from scratch which is another experience in itself.
You’ve worked with Roger Waters before and soon again at Desert Trip, what is that like? How did you get involved working with him?
Jay Sweet (who runs Newport Folk Festival) was our matchmaker! We sang backgrounds for Roger and I guess he liked us enough to ask us back. We couldn’t be more honored or excited to be joining for these upcoming dates.
Can you give us a hint of what we can expect from you at Desert Trip?
Well you and we both know that we will be singing, other than that your guess is as good as ours! We start rehearsals soon and it’ll be interesting to see how the show unfolds.
Is life on the road hard on your relationships? Relationships with others and amongst yourselves?
Some of the best songs in history wouldn’t exist if that weren’t the case.
Your song “Gone Insane” starts out with a slow groove and ends with the two of you really letting loose. Where did those emotion come from?
I’d say the combination of the origin of the song itself, and the feeling behind that – and the emotional circumstances of that day we recorded it. There was no holding back! It was probably a full moon too, felt like one of those days where it’s all piled on pretty thick. That might have been the same day a bird pooped on my forehead, wouldn’t be surprised.
Where did the idea of singing in unison, essentially creating a voice all its own, come from?
We both wanted to sing lead, so we both did just that!
Who and what influences you in your everyday lives?
The people we love, the ones we don’t love as much, the people we know, the ones we don’t know at all, and the stories that can come along with all of those endless combinations.
What would you got back and tell your 25 year old selves?
I mean a lot has happened, but it wasn’t all that long ago – let’s not get ahead of ourselves! I guess I’d just say “you’re doing the right thing, keep at it, and I swear you won’t be pulling double restaurant shifts forever, save yourself the worry or you’ll get those lines between your eyebrows when you’re 30.”
To read our full interview with Lucius, order Inspirer’s fall issue here!