JAY WADLEY: Where does the band name Lucius come from?
HOLLY LAESSIG: We named our band after Jess’ English Bulldog. He’s dead now, but his name lives on.
JAY WADLEY: How did you two meet and begin working together?
HOLLY LAESSIG: We met through mutual friends, and working together spawned from a mutual love of old soul and rock ‘n’ roll.
JAY WADLEY: Did you grow up in musical families?
HOLLY LAESSIG: We both come from artistic families—mostly visual art, but there are musicians mixed in here and there. All of our families are music lovers and supporters though, which has certainly worked in our favor!
JAY WADLEY: In your music your voices meld into a kind of super-voice. And you wear identical outfits while performing.
What were the challenges in becoming two parts of one voice?
HOLLY LAESSIG: It was like perfecting something that seemed to exist already.
I didn’t go out seeking another person to sing with—it had never crossed my mind. But we wanted to sing and work together, and through figuring out that arrangement, we stumbled upon the unison thing. It sounded like doubled studio vocals, but it was live, and we hadn’t seen that before.
JAY WADLEY: Who makes your outfits? How much is your visual identity tied up with your musical identity?
HOLLY LAESSIG: The visual aspect is really to expand upon the sonic symmetry and create an engaging live experience for the audience. So far we have been able to mix and match the outfits ourselves with things we find from different shops and online. But we definitely haven’t ruled out the possibility of working with a designer! Do you know a guy? (Or gal?)
JAY WADLEY: Do you ever dress identically when not on stage?
HOLLY LAESSIG: We have actually showed up to a couple things wearing coordinating outfits with no premeditation. But typically it’s a part of our live show.
JAY WADLEY: It’s somewhat unusual to have two front women for a band. How does the songwriting process work for you?
JESS WOLFE: We’ve been fortunate to have had many parallel experiences.
Falling in love, falling out of love, similar problems with bullying growing up…
It’s made it much easier to relate to one another. We also happen to be close friends, almost sisters. Holly has spoken for me when I’ve not been well enough to have my own voice. I think I’ve done the same for her. We fill in each other’s blanks and support what’s already there.
JAY WADLEY: Who are your biggest influences?
JESS WOLFE: We have so many. It changes every month depending on what we’re listening to. We try and find inspiration from everything around us. It helps to be traveling around the globe and meeting new and interesting folk in every city we go to. Musically, we have such a strong community of artists in our little neighborhood of Ditmas Park, Brooklyn. We grew up listening to old school soul music—Sam Cooke, Little Richard,
Otis, Stevie, and a lot of 60s rock ‘n’ roll… David Bowie, Roy Orbison, Harry Nilsson—the list goes on and on…
JAY WADLEY: Your song writing is incredibly versatile and effective both in the polished and produced single “Hey, Doreen!” and raw and honest in “Go Home” on The Tiny Desk Series. How did you find the balance between two equally compelling sounds?
JESS WOLFE: We just try to honor whatever we’re feeling. I think having so many influences has kept us open and comfortable with so many different genres—we never want to feel tied to one. But when we sing together, regardless of the feel of the song, it sounds like us, so it gives that flexibility without it being confusing to listeners (we hope, at least).
JAY WADLEY: What’s the story behind the single “Hey, Doreen!”
JESS WOLFE: We were always mesmerized by old murder ballads, so this is our spin…
JAY WADLEY: Tell us about the forthcoming album Wildewoman.
JESS WOLFE: Holly and I started writing for this record about four years ago. It’s been a long time coming, but we’ve made a family (the band) through the process, and we wouldn’t have been comfortable rushing it. We honored the harvest and hopefully people will hear/see/feel that.
It speaks of independence, feminism, and growth…
JAY WADLEY: You’ve been traveling quite a bit on tour. If you had to live anywhere but Brooklyn, what city would you pick?
JESS WOLFE: San Francisco maybe. Japan is awesome too, though we’ve never been.
JAY WADLEY: How do you pass the time on the road?
JESS WOLFE: We’re five creatives… There’s never a dull moment. We make up games, tell stories, and listen to Radiolab.
JAY WADLEY: Have you had any crazy/ strange experiences out on the road?
JESS WOLFE: We’ve had many. We always try to avoid hotel rooms and stay with friends or fans on the road. It’s the best way to enjoy a city when you’re only there for maybe twenty-four hours. We make friends wherever we go. We stayed one time outside of Nashville in a guy’s art studio. We knew he was an eccentric before we even got to the door. He did air guitar routines and had a school bus on his lawn. He took us on a haunted hike into the “backwoods” which we would soon learn was about twenty yards from his house. The rest we’ll have to leave to the imagination.