Introducing Lucille

By Roy Manuell

Hi guys. First things first, could you tell us a little more about yourselves?

Yeah sure. We’re a four-piece band based in Kent & Brighton and followed that cliché of meeting at school, growing up together while individually playing instruments before realising that, at some point, if we were going to give it a go, now’s the time. It’s about backing yourself and we reached the necessary stage of self-belief that led toward committing the time and money to writing music. We have a laugh together as well which helps.

Talk me through your influences?

We all share a pretty similar taste which is reasonably ideal but then again we have a decent diversity of other things we listen to which prevents us from becoming trapped in a genre bubble. Largely the influence is guitar music driven, deriving inspiration from old school rock and roll, sounds like Dusty Springfield’s “Spooky” and then moving to the more obvious 00s scene led by Arctic Monkeys, the Strokes etc. But then a couple of us have been listening to the new Anderson Paak and Childish Gambino records on repeat for the last year; we have a degree of metal influence on one of the first tracks recorded; and lyrically we’ve been significantly influenced by the things Kanye and Kendrick have done and are doing with words on their records.

For us, it’s really exciting to try and keep the guitar-based core but totally reject the indie stereotype. I dunno if any of you have read the Jonnie Borrell article on ‘Landfill Indie’, think VICE or someone published it. Essentially, that article describes everything we don’t want to represent. There are a lot of artistically stagnant, frankly boring, guitar bands out there at present that reproduce this formulaic, pseudo-Oasis or Kooks yawn rock. We’re not gonna name any names before you ask.

Our aim, whether its successful or not is up to you guys I suppose, is to try and bring as many new sounds in from a variety of different sources to create something more interesting. We’re done with ostentatious guitar solos for the sake of it on the back of fragile indie rock tunes. That’s why we decided to drop a church organ solo into one of our recent recordings. There doesn’t seem to be too much innovation in the rock and roll/guitar music/whatever-you-want-to-call-it universe so we’re kind of trying to change that.

In a world that increasingly demands a USP from musicians – what sets you apart?       

I think it’s difficult to find the balance between writing what you want to write and acknowledging the need to become a ‘marketable’ resource. God that sounds so cold doesn’t it ‘marketable resource.’ It’s kinda true though and you’re either ignorant or naïve if you think people are purely going to find your music through its inherent quality.

On top of trying to explore a diversity of influence, we’re very interested in exploring a variety of art forms. We don’t believe music should ever be an isolated art form and it needs to work in correlation to others: the visual arts, video, poetry, fashion, and style – kind of all aspects. Our bassist is currently working out a studio down in Brighton and has been working on canvases and producing pieces that relate to some of the tunes we’re writing and recording. This is the kind of direction we’re looking to take. It’s exciting for us.

We’re currently working on a launch magazine in which we wanna publish style influences, poetry, lyrics and inspiration on our lyrics. I think what sets us apart is that we’re looking at the leading artists – and that’s what they are artists – in the music industry: your Frank Oceans, Kanyes, Beyoncés, and trying to learn from their embrace of creativity and the fearlessness of their releases. We want to apply what they’re doing across all art forms, to a band that ultimately plays guitars.

How do you feel the industry has changed since you first started listening to music?

It’s crazy how fast it’s changed. I think age-wise we all probably grew up at the end of the era when young people still bought CDs: American Idiot was probably among the first albums we all bought to put this into context. I think as we all went through school, we lived through the shift to iTunes and then the time we spent at University roughly correlated to the subsequent change to Spotify. I think, as a band, we’re seeing this evolution affect the nature of music consumption and it’s becoming a more isolated act. I think, maybe subconsciously, maybe even deliberately for some of us, with live music becoming an ever-more exclusive concept, we’re approaching our work as a band that love playing live more than anything, but one that writes for the studio as opposed to one that writes music to play live.

The digital revolution has just thrown everything sideways and I think the music industry has been one of the least resistant and most affected out of the other media forms to these changes. Why go to a concert when you can stream it off of Facebook Live? Obviously, the experience is not the same and we all regularly go and see live acts but increasingly feel that most don’t. Rising ticket prices are probably the effect and not the cause of a decline in interest. I dunno, you might disagree, it’s hard to measure.

Do you feel that this makes it harder for upcoming artists to break through?

I think that’s probably a fair assumption. It’s hard to say as we were all 12 when the Arctic Monkeys first broke but you kind of feel that might not have happened another ten years on in 2017. You have to be this already polished but still represent this polishable, potential commercial entity now. They were so raw and that’s why they became so ground-breaking back in 2006. I’m just not sure if that would cut it these days. Even the punk bands in the UK like Slaves have this clear marketing campaign behind them. The Arctic Monkeys were perhaps so attractive because they were, at the time, the antithesis of calculated commercial music.

Maybe that’s a little cynical, but a lot of the polishing is now done after having been scouted by management and PR and all that. You have to do a lot of the work yourself, creating your own brand, style of music and audience. The internet provides the tools, definitely, but it’s up to the bands and artists themselves to do the research into how to put yourself into the conversation and give yourself the best possible chance.

Does this put you off?

Not really. Music is what all four of us love and live for. We all get on well and look at Lucille as if it’s an outlet for what we want to say about the world. If the music’s good enough, which it is, then eventually it’ll reach the right person at the right time. That’s kinda how we’re approaching it. Give us the best possible chance to put us in the room with the right people and then the tunes themselves will put the ball in the back of the net. Bad analogy but we’ll run with it.

So what’s next for Lucille?

We’ve now got three strong demos finished; all effectively self-produced but recorded at the prestigious Real World Studios which allowed us to get the best out of them we possibly could. Robert Plant was in recording the day before us which was pretty surreal. It’s now about planning the release of our first single, exploring management options, getting a tour organised and ensuring that as many people hear the bangers as possible. Glastonbury should follow.

You can hear some of Lucille’s work below and for more information on the upcoming band, check out their Facebook.

Photograph: Lucille

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