The Lucius women

Lucius co-frontwoman Holly Laessig talks about how the harmonising Brooklyn band grew out of a fun music-school project

Fri, Apr 11, 2014, 00:00

Lucius formed in 2012 in New York, but you and vocalist Jess Wolfe had first met at college in Boston.
We both went to Berklee College of Music. I was studying vocal performance and songwriting, and Jess was studying vocal performance and business. We got talking about our musical influences and we realised that we had very similar influences and wanted to do a very similar thing, so we decided that we were going to do a girl group version of The White Album for a show. We ended up rearranging Happiness Is a Warm Gun with a friend of ours, but that was as far as we got (laughs).

We never did the show, but we continued to write our own stuff together and sing together, and that was kind of the beginning of it all. The three guys [Dan Molad, Peter Lalish and Andrew Burri] came on board a little later.

There’s a very specific vocal style to Lucius; your voices both blend in an almost eerie manner.
It’s just kind of a fluke; I don’t know if it’s that our voices sound similar together, or if it’s that they make a new kind of third voice, but individually we actually sound very different. Going back to the Happiness Is a Warm Gun thing, we were recording that and trying to decide whether we would switch verses, or how we were going to do it. We ended up singing a melody at the same time by accident, and we thought oh, that sounds pretty cool. So many recordings we love have those sort of double vocals, like Elliott Smith and Pink Floyd, so we kind of stuck with that idea and made it the basis of the project.

The guys provide some really nice multi-part harmonies as well.
I was always part of choirs and I sang at church, and me and Jess really love stuff like old-school soul and doo-wop, and music like The Beatles; music that had a lot of harmonies and people singing together. So I think that was in our blood to want to do that, and to sing with someone else in that way.

That 1960s influence crops up a lot, but your album Wildewoman is quite eclectic – from the girl group sound of Turn It Around to folk tunes and rockier numbers such as Tempest.
All five of us have very different musical influences, so when they come together I think it makes something really cool. For Wildewoman, Jess and I wrote all the songs, but we didn’t really have a formula. It was more like I have this verse and chorus, what do you think about it?. And the other person might have an idea that works really well for a bridge. Each song came about with a different combination of that idea, I guess.