This article first appeared on The AU Review.
To say 2014 was a massive year for Aussie folk act Luluc would be an incredible understatement. Alongside the release of their critically acclaimed album Passerby, they’ve been touring incessantly, playing alongside with some pretty big names and were named by the Wall Street Journal as one of the Top 15 albums of 2014. With an East Coast support of First Aid Kit coming up as well as a support slot alongside Sarah Blasko at the Melbourne Zoo Twilight Series next week on February 6th, Luluc took a moment out of their busy schedule touring the UK with J Mascis to answer some of our questions.
Congratulations on all the accolades over the new year for Passerby! Wall Street Journal, of all publications, you must have been pretty stoked with that?
Thanks. And sure, it is lovely to receive accolades for your work. But it’s really an added bonus and not what drives the work. You do of course hope people will get to hear your records, so that kind of exposure is very helpful.
The album was released halfway through last year, what have you been up to since it launched?
It’s been a busy time. And somewhat upside down in that we really began touring and doing radio etc after ‘Passerby’ was released, having being bit delayed in our travel plans. But once we got back to the US in July last year we started off doing Tiny Desk at NPR, and live session at KEXP, and then began some serious touring late September with J Mascis around the US. I’m a huge fan of his records, so it was a great first tour to do around the US and now the UK.
2014 was certainly a big year for you guys. What was your favourite moment of the year?
Hmm, never good at faves, too many! One thing that happened a bit on the J Masics tour was seeing people in the audience singing along to our songs, in places like Denver, Colorado – that was pretty wild. The idea that our music and records had reached people there. Pretty lovely.
And you’ve relocated to Brooklyn. How do you think the scene there has affected Luluc as an act?
There’s an openness or freedom that comes from being away from home. And to be in amongst a city like New York – such a big, brazen and brilliant collection of people and ideas. It really allows a lot of creative liberation. Very important for artistic work and it’s always changing so it’s a big well to draw from.
Folk as a genre has absolutely rocketed in the last few years, it must be an exciting time to be releasing music with such widespread love coming in from all angles. What are your thoughts on its rise to popularity?
Not sure I have any, don’t really follow the mainstream. I’ve always enjoyed great songwriters and ‘folk’ music.
That said, Luluc definitely isn’t a ‘heard-it-before’ type act, what do you think sets you apart from other up and coming folk acts?
Again not really for me to say. I don’t feel confined or defined by the folk genre. Really our intention artistically is to make our own records, of course inspired by all manner of music and by many other things, books, films etc. But how you put it all together, your own unique take, is what makes any work interesting. To me anyway, that’s always the work that stands out.
Songs like the title track “Passenger” and “Small Window” have been described as ‘fragile’ and ‘deeply emotional’. It’s a rare talent, but what do you think you put into your writing that allows the listeners to actually “feel” a Luluc song?
Well, I guess I work with my ideas and songs until I feel they are complete. So that my emotions, frustrations, inspirations etc have all been explored in the song, to the point where they don’t burden the work. They are the kind of songs I enjoy, where the writer allows you your own space with the song, whether it’s a personal narrative or a character’s perspective.
And you’re currently touring the UK with J Mascis, that kicked off last night – how has the response been?
It’s been so great touring with J. And this is our first tour around the UK as I mentioned. The crowds here have been fantastic, very appreciative audiences. Looking forward to coming back and doing our own tour.
Australia-wise, you have the Sarah Blasko show coming up for The Melbourne Zoo Twilight Series on February 6th followed by a short East Coast stint with First Aid Kit, you have to be excited about coming home with those guys by your side?
Sure, they should be great shows. Looking forward to some more summer too.
You know when you go overseas, everyone has that one obscure thing they miss about home (vegemite, Tim Tam’s, a certain coffee shop). What is it for you?
Chai. It’s not really a thing in many other cities like it is in Melbourne. It’s usually pretty awful. Think we might need to tour in India.
Luluc will be playing the Melbourne Zoo Twilight Series with Sarah Blasko next Friday, February 6th. You can book your tickets here.
Passerby is available to purchase now on iTunes.