Lake Street Dive first appeared for many people in online videos showing them making light work of covers and fun work of playing music on the street.
Were they country, pop or jazz? Swing, acoustic rock or soul? Were they even real? I mean, look at the initials of the band’s name, yeah, I know right?
Four releases in they hooked up with Nashville producer Dave Cobb who has done pretty well recently with the likes of Sturgill Simpson and Jason Isbell and was behind the sound for Lake Street Dive’s Side Pony (named after a unique band member hairstyle as a metaphor for something more). Two years on, the group which formed in Boston, is based in Brooklyn and within its ranks contains one Australian and one person called McDuck, produced their latest album, Free Yourself Up. You’ll be shocked to hear this but it mixes soul, country, pop, and jazz.
Somewhere on the road in the USA (they’re not likely to be back in Australia until 2019) while Bridget Kearney, Mike Calabrese, Mike “McDuck” Olson and Akie Bermiss kept themselves occupied, Lake Street Dive’s singer/songwriter Rachael Price hooked up the laptop for a Q&A.
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Hi Rachael, your previous album was named after a song celebrating being an individual and not apologising for it. This new album advises us to free ourselves up. What do you see around you that has you thinking we are not living our best lives?
In truth, both titles were more of looking outward in order to make changes inward type of thing. Both album titles were more of reminders to ourselves to be ourselves and then free ourselves from whatever conventions we felt inclined to adhere to.
Do you believe that, like you, we can still change? Do you really believe you can still change?
There's always ways to change oneself- one's perspective, one's openness, one's habits, one's routine. Yes, I do believe I can still change!
You’ve changed the band by making Akie Bermiss a permanent member, why? What were you looking to add to the already successful sound of LSD?
We've always truly wanted keys on our songs which is why they are so prominent on our albums. But this band started with the 4 of us and I think we were enamoured and committed to seeing what we could achieve as just a 4 piece in the live setting. Buuuut, it's been 13 years and we wanted more! Now that we have Akie, our musical possibilities have opened up ten-fold by giving us all more freedom and space.
On what basis do you claim to be a good kisser (as she sings on track two of the new album, Good Kisser)? Is this a Donald Trump “everyone’s saying it” thing? Can we trust you?
I don't claim it. I just ask that it be proclaimed if/when it's the truth. And the truth will always prevail!
Speaking of Trump, is it ok if we sing Shame Shame Shame to him?
Yes. It is. You can sing it to him and really anyone else using their power to yield injustice in the world.
There’s shame and then there’s being called McDuck. How much shit does a band member called McDuck have to put up with?
Literally, none at all. It's a nickname of old and one that was very much championed by McDuck himself. He loves it.
Having given young Dave Cobb a career boost letting him produce Side Pony did you think he could go out on his own now and you’d keep the production in-house?
Hahah, Dave Cobb is most definitely doing just fine out on his own. We learned a lot from making a record with him.
Is there any line for you between soul, country, rock and folk when it comes to writing a Lake Street Dive song?
Sure! There are lots of lines. Song by song, we definitely tend to think of each one in a particular style. We just don't have a line that says these styles can't meld within one song or one album. Also, we like parameters and genre to help give us direction and then we can be intentional when we blur those lines.
Have you had a single interview with an Australian publication or radio/TV network which didn’t mention you being Australian? Does this question count? Because, admit it you’re actually from Biloxi aren’t you?
This question definitely counts and I've definitely never even been to Biloxi.
Free Yourself Up is out now