Interview: St. Lucia

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Led by Jean-Philip Grobler, Brooklyn-based St. Lucia embarked on a North American tour with Two Door Cinema Club in promotion of their latest record When The Night. With their dance-heavy tracks and ability to hype up a crowd, St. Lucia’s stage presence is quite compelling. It’s clear that the crowds are having just as much fun as the band is having on stage. We met up with Grobler to chat about touring, his songwriting process, and what to look forward to from this up and coming electro-pop band. Check out Winnie’s interview below and read the full interview on our new issue here.

You guys have played in Toronto a few times, correct?
Jean-Philip: Yeah! I think this is our fourth show in Toronto.

Is the crowd different in New York or in America in general?
Jean-Philip: We always have a really good time in Toronto. For whatever reason, every time we come here, the audience is super receptive and really really nice to us. I think if the audience is different to America, it depends on where we go in America that the audience changes from place to place, but Toronto has always been a really really huge highlight for us whenever we come here for whatever reason. Last night was no exception.

How is your tour so far with Two Door Cinema Club?
Jean-Philip: It’s been great! We’ve already been on the road with them for a week and a half. They’re super nice guys; we get along with them really well. They treat us super well and there haven’t been any huge hiccups [knocks on wood] compared to our tour with Ellie Goulding. We had some really crazy things happen, like van breakdowns and trailers breaking down. But this tour has been really good so far!

What should fans expect on this tour? Will you be doing anything different?
Jean-Philip: We’ve changed a couple of the things on stage: we’ve added a few instruments. We like to have the focus on playing, so we don’t have any huge production yet or anything. We’re also playing a bunch of the new songs that we’ve never really played before on tour from the new album. Yeah, that’s about it, but we’re always having a lot fun on stage and it’s good.

You recently just released your album, can you tell us a bit about it?
Jean-Philip: It’s a combination of songs from the EP that we released about a year and half ago and a bunch of new stuff. The album itself is structured like a journey from late afternoon into early evening and into the night. It starts very bright and triumphant, happy and nostalgic. Towards the end, it becomes “dancier” and “clubbier”. The last two songs are sort of darker and more introspective, yet dance-able in a way. That’s what’s on the surface and there’s a lot of stuff going on underneath. I like the songs to be very multi-layered and to have a lot of interesting things going on; to be able to stand up to multiple listens and for a few to be able to listen to the whole thing and to feel like you’re kind of being led along and part of the story. I can keep on talking about this forever, but I’ll stop!

And your album art?
Jean-Philip: I think the artwork is very important because if I think of all of my favourite albums or any albums that I listen to and I see the artwork, that image is always in my head when I listen to the music. And all the images that I have from my music all stem from that artwork. So, I think it’s important.

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How was the recording process of the album?
Jean-Philip: Most of my songs are written in a similar way in a sense that I don’t necessarily go to the studio and say “I’m going to write a song now!” I’ll totally be doing something unrelated to music, like I might just be walking down the street or I might be eating breakfast or having coffee or something and an idea will pop into my head. Normally, it’s a melody, some chords and a rhythm – it’s normally something. Sometimes, it’s more fully formed immediately and sometimes, there are less pieces in place. If I’m not close to the studio, then I’ll just record it on my voice recorder. If I am, I’ll go into the studio and start working on it. In the beginning, I try not to think about it too much or judge what I’m doing. I just let whatever comes into my head flow out of me and I just record different parts, like if a guitar part comes then I’ll record that or if a piano part comes, I’ll record that. Then, I’ll get each song to a point where it feels like I sort of don’t have any more ideas and then I’ll work on something else. Over time, each idea will get a bit more added to it and certain ideas will start to rise out as the more fully formed ones and as the ones that feel more complete. So, a more clear image of what the album is like comes together. So, it’s a very scattery thought and train-of-thought process to me; it’s not super planned out, I just go with it.

What’s in store for you guys?
Jean-Philip: We’re going to have a month-ish long headline tour at the beginning of next year. We just announced two New York shows and there’s more coming up. We’ll definitely be touring. We want to go to Australia because our songs are doing really well over there at the moment. Hopefully Europe and various other places.

Photos by Winnie Surya for Into The Crowd Magazine

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