Interview: The Lucida Console

[i]Earlier in the year, [b]Dan Kiener[/b] took time out to interview post-rock band ‘The Lucida Console’, recently seen supporting 65 Days of Static.[/i]

The Yorkshire town of Halifax (home of the synonymous bank and renowned as a BNP hotspot) is oblivious to the talent it has spawned. Although the local Victoria Theatre stands as a prime touring venue for the likes of Rik Astley and Status Quo, the music scene here is all but non-existent. It is fair to say that the inhabitants of Halifax are ignorant of hometown heroes The Lucida Console, and the musical waves they are set to make. Nearby, Leeds has established itself as music’s new zeitgeist city. Already the home of the Kaiser Chiefs, 10,000 Things, and Black Wire (and surrogate home of Wakefield bands The Cribs and The Research), Leeds has recently cast forth the much-celebrated compilation album, “Dance To The Radio”. Said album – compiled by local label/promotions company Transmission, the brainchild of Whiskas from !Forward, Russia! – proudly showcases the new contenders to the Artrock crown, and has been enthusiastically passed from hip kid to hip kid almost as much as it has been passed from industry mogul to industry mogul. The album has been unanimously well-reviewed, with artists like !Forward, Russia! and iliketrains drawing many a gold-digging A&R personality to their shows as a result of its release. However, one track does not gel with the other offerings on the record, what with its undanceable, atmospheric prog-rock persuasions, complex multiple time-signatures, and open-hearted epic vocals; this track is “Reminiscent” by The Lucida Console.

Although the compilation has elevated their status from being merely a “local support band” to being a real “name” on the gigging circuit, the Lucida Console feel that their sound is not in-keeping with that of the rest of Dance To The Radio; singer Matt seems a little pensive and wary as he confesses, “I feel out of place on it. Everyone else is a bit NME… maybe a bit scenester”. Keyboardist Will concurrently adds, with more than a little self-deprecation, “We’re like the equal opportunities band”. Even so, the Lucida Console more than appreciative of the benefits of appearing on the record, from more prestigious gigs to airplay on Spanish radio (guitarist Purdon beams as he enthuses, “Whiskas sent this guy a copy of Dance To The Radio and the first song he played was ours”).

This shy and unassuming band bears an average age of 19 years, yet youthful dreams of wild fame and riches have never been an issue. Although Leeds may be the new music industry hotspot, Purdon makes it clear that The Lucida Console’s migration to Leeds was a natural one, made out of necessity rather than as part of a glory hunt: “You can get a gig in Leeds easier than you can in Halifax”. When asked why the band decided to venture onto the Leeds scene over the other thriving Northern scenes, Will concedes: “We didn’t have cars or anything, and Manchester and Hull were too far away”. They’re also convinced that everyone hates them in Leeds, not because they make an effort to be subversive or unpleasant, but because, according to Will, “we just don’t make an effort”. It is true, their blend of textural post-rock, confusing progressive rock, and a punk-orientated sincerity has alienated them somewhat from the electro-glam and indie rock of the local music scene.

The Lucida Console are thankfully still at a stage of relative pre-success optimism, still hopeful about the future, rather than worn-down by the grind of the industry; tell-tale signs like Purdon’s journalistic queries (“Do you know anything about press releases? Like… what should be in them?”) and the band’s trembling enthusiasm concerning their upcoming support slot with Reuben andEngerica in Manchester betray the excitability of the five guys Lucida.

It is a wonderfully heart-warming time to get to know a band destined for great things, before the critics can dissect them, before fanatics can deconstruct every beat of every bar, claiming that this means this and that means that. Despite their youth, the band display remarkable maturity when it comes to writing music – Purdon claims that their trademark oxymoronic song structures will only become “more intricate, more complicated [and] more mathematical” in the near future. The tour stories, however, remain endearingly juvenile; Matt boasts that he “rearranged the furniture in my hotel room” and got “pot noodle EVERYWHERE” on a recent tour of Scotland, while drummer Si tries desperately to reclaim some cool by adding “we ran out without paying for our rooms”. There are also amusing memories of promised highland threesomes which never came to be, obligatory drunken anecdotes, and tales recounting how “we put Kenny Rogers on the jukebox and incited violence … twenty Scottish chavs wanting to kill us”, all told with
emphatic hand movements and massive grins.

After a few alcoholic drinks, they worry less about being misconstrued as arrogant, and it gets easier to pry self-confidence out of the band. After the forthcoming tour, they are eager to head back into the studio to record a single, and when I ask whether this will be self-released, Matt calmly states that “we’ll be able to find a label, no matter what”. With an imminent national tour set to take them all around the British toilet circuit, their fresh-faced allure will surely see that The Lucida Console will be beating labels off with sticks.

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