(SD) 1. Great to connect with you! First of all, tell us the story behind choosing the name of your band and how all of you met for the very first time!
I guess there are two parts to the question you asked, the story behind choosing the name of the band, I was involved in my own studio project and I quit my job as a jingle writer, started my own small studio and was developing a whole bunch of different ideas in a lot of different directions. It seemed that the ideas and songs that I was most attracted to and felt the best about had a slightly retro/80’s feeling to them, with this kind of a nostalgic slightly melancholy feeling to them but still with a happy quality. I had a good amount of ideas in that direction of developing songs so I figured at that point it would be good to come up with a name for the band.
I sat for awhile over a few weeks and struggled to find a name and then one day out of frustration I decided that I was going to take out a map of South Africa which is where I’m from and I’m just going to take a pen and put the pen down at various places on the map. So I did that and I think the third time was St. Lucia, and because we have a St. Lucia in South Africa as well, it was this place that I went to on vacation as a kid, had all these old memories there, and it just seemed that the moment I hit that name everything about the band and the project just made sense.
To me, anyone who thinks of the place, St. Lucia, whether it’s St. Lucia in the Caribbean or St. Lucia in South Africa or pretty much anywhere, I think we imagine a place where we can escape to, somewhere somewhat tropic and that to me is kind of what the music I was making at the time it was. I think what St. Lucia has become is almost like the name is in a sense a mission statement, it’s a little bit escapist music, in some ways a little bit ridiculous, a little bit not a part of this world, it’s that kind of thing.
On to the second part of the question, how we all met, it was also around the similar time of coming up with the name. I was starting to think of doing some live shows and realized I needed to form a band. I first met our ex-drummer who left us earlier this year, Nick Brown, and we started playing together and started recording on some of the stuff and he introduced me to Ross who plays bass and guitar and then Ross introduced me to Nicky who plays keys and then it kind of just went from there and it just developed. Nick left at the beginning of the year and now we have Dustin Kaufman who plays drums and that’s where it stands right now.
(SD) 2. Congratulations on the release of your debut album, “When The Night.” How does this album define you as an artist at this stage of your career?
Thanks man! Well the album came out very close to a year ago now so since then I’ve been writing a lot and working on a whole bunch of new ideas. I think in some ways, not that I’ve moved on from that album because obviously I’m very proud of it but I’ve grown in certain ways since then.
I think the way that the album still defines me is before working on St. Lucia and before making that album, I was still kind of trying to vary a lot of the musical influences that I had that some people might consider in bad taste like Lionel Richie or Phil Collins or just stuff that maybe in the African community isn’t considered the greatest, most tasteful music ever made.
Even though I do love a lot of experimental music, I also love music that has that quality of being very instant and making you feel alive so to me this album is the first time that I embraced all of my musical influences. I didn’t try to hide anything, I just went with whatever came out of me and only later when I was really putting together the album deciding what tracks should be on there did I decide between this and that, which sounds and things that I wanted to define.
(SD) Are you currently working on the next album? When do you hope to have it released?
I’m hoping at some point next year. I have a lot of songs written already but we’ve been touring a lot over the last couple of years so it’s been difficult for me to really get in a studio and work on things properly in a studio environment. Everything is living in laptop world at the moment and there’s nothing wrong with that but I just like to be in the studio where you have real instruments, real synthesizers and just a lot of different sounds. There is more of an element of randomness and surprise that can happen that it’s difficult to make happen when you’re working on a laptop.
(SD) 3. Being a fan of 80’s pop music and rediscovering your love for African music, how did you manage to compile those various genres of music into the album?
(Laughs) Thanks! Most of my musical process is very intuitive. I’m not just sitting there and think, “Hmmm I think a successful combination of sound would be the African and 80’s.” I’m not trying to make something, it’s just as I go along in my life and my tastes change and evolve, and I hear new things and discover new artists and sounds. Over time, those things kind of bury themselves in my brain and then my own interpretation of those things that I like just naturally comes out.
(SD) 4. What was the most gratifying element of the recording process while working in the studio?
There are two very, very gratifying parts; the first part is when I first come up with the song idea. When an idea pops into my head and I’m walking down the street and I hear this idea, then I go and start to work on it and normally that first day is really full of possibility and promise and all these things. Then you sketch out the idea and you hear it starting to take shape but then after that first day normally what I find is I’m trying to kind of play catch up to what that idea sounded like in my head when I first came up with it. Normally when I come up with ideas I almost hear the whole thing in its finished form immediately in a way; it makes me feel a certain way and it excites me. Then when I put it down it’s like I’m recording the basic elements but when I hear it I’m filling in the blanks because I can imagine what it’s going to sound like in the end. What is really gratifying in the end if I finish a song is when I’ve caught up to that sort of idea that I had in the beginning which sometimes is very, very hard to do and sometimes there are multiple ideas where they are just sitting there because I can’t somehow catch on to that initial feeling again. In the end, when I get that feeling, like with the tracks on “When The Night,” it’s very gratifying!
(SD) 5. You are currently touring in support of the album, what can concertgoers expect when coming to see you perform at the live shows?
It depends. If we are playing a festival where we aren’t high on the bill, we can’t bring all of our production along with us so it’s just us doing the best that we can and rocking out without any production but if it’s one of our headline shows, we’ve been very fortunate to team up with a great crew, a great friend of ours, Gordon Droitcour, who does our front of house sound is a wizard at creating light shows and production. He created this amazing light show around our music and we carry loads of lights, LED panels and just tons of stuff with us on the road.
I think it’s important as an artist especially doing the kind of music that we do to kind of bring a theatrical element to the music when we do a live show and to really entertain people. So our headline shows are with a full band, we try to play as many of the things on the record as we can live even though the recordings are very lush and multi-layered so we can’t play everything, but we do our best. We have a really, really great time on stage, it’s very sweaty; I may be the sweatiest man in music actually, I nominate myself for that prize (Laughs)! We have a lot of fun and we really enjoy what we do!
(SD) 6. What are the pros/cons of life on the road and how have you adjusted to being away from home for long periods of time?
The pros and cons of life on the road I would say there are two sides of the same thing; the biggest pro to me is being able to go to and experience brand new places I’ve never been to before or go back to places that I’ve been to before and really enjoy it. So far I would say almost every single city that I’ve been to in the states or anywhere in the world has had something incredible to offer that most of the time I didn’t expect going into that place.
For example, we are in Kansas City right now and I think if you mentioned Kansas City to most people who live in LA or New York they think that there’s nothing there but there’s amazing food, culture here, there’s an incredible music scene with some great jazz and it’s here in Kansas City where the Speak Easy movement kind of started so they still keep that very much alive. It is wonderful to be able to do that, have that experience and just see different parts of the world because if you’re talking to somebody to really be able to have a valid opinion about the places that you’ve been to, you know?
The downside, the other side of that is that we don’t get to spend enough time in these places so we normally get just a little snapshot of the place, we get to have a nice meal or maybe take a jog around the city, or go to a museum but it’s just a very quick taste and I just wish that we could have more time.
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