Lucius, the Brooklyn-based band that Pitchfork dubbed “a stylish presence on the tour and festival circuit the past few years,” recently debuted two new songs, “The Punisher” and “Pulling Teeth,” following the release of their 2016 record Good Grief. The two exclusive tracks were kept off of Good Grief because frontwomen Jess Wolfe and Holly Laessig said they “didn’t want to overdo it.” Both Jess and Holly agreed that the choice to prolong the release was the right decision. For the two musicians, the tracks feel even more relevant now and articulate their feelings at this very moment, making the release that much more special for fans. Here, the two open up about the band’s origin and the unexpected sounds, sights and “textures” that inspire them.
How did you first form Lucius and start developing your sound?
HOLLY: Jess and I started working together about 12 years ago. We started writing and singing together. So, it’s been over a decade. We moved to New York and kind of hung out a lot on the open mic scene. We got more into folk music, met a bunch of musicians, played a few shows. It was a rotating cast of characters. We decided we wanted to do something a little bit more energetic—rock out a little bit more, dance a little bit more. Then we ended up working with Danny [Molad] on recordings that would eventually become Wildewoman. That was the first iteration of how the band came together. We built our sound over that first tour cycle. From the time we recorded Wildewoman, I think the live show got a lot more rockish and energetic. From that standpoint, Good Grief felt like the next natural step.
Where did the name Lucius come from?
JESS: My family’s dog. My brother named him many years ago. I’m not even really quite sure where the name came from. Our dog was such a funny character. He was so goofy looking but ended up being beautiful. He had an underbite that was crooked and only one tooth that stuck out. He would do all these weird tricks but then would run into walls, so he was such a strange juxtaposition. We liked the idea of that, what he represented—humor and darkness, beauty and pain, all at once. We took that as inspiration.
What artists do you draw inspiration from?
HOLLY: So many! We were talking about this the other day. So many artists that we’re inspired by are directly inspired by other artists’ work. We take a lot from musicians, and visual artists and writers. One of the things we bonded on originally was loving old school soul music and old rock ’n roll. I’m a huge David Bowie fan, and Jess is a huge Roy Orbison fan, Sam Cooke fan. We love so many similar things. That’s kind of how this whole thing started—loving that stuff and wanting to keep it going.
What is the best thing about performing?
JESS: Connecting with the audience and getting swept away by an experience and a place. Going back in time to when you wrote the song and thinking about what it meant to you then and what it means to you now, in that very moment. You think about so many things when you’re on stage. It’s such a healing thing.
Hear more from the band here.