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Lucius Soars To New Sound (And Wardrobe) Heights With 'Good Grief'

The Huffington Post The Huffington Post 30/03/2016 Lauren Moraski
ATHENA IMAGE © Lorne Thomson via Getty Images ATHENA IMAGE

Jess Wolfe and Holly Laessig recently decided to pick up and move to Los Angeles after spending several years in Brooklyn, New York.

The Lucius frontwomen were in the midst of prepping their sophomore album when they headed to the West Coast to try out Airbnb for a little while. What was supposed to be a temporary trial move has turned into a more permanent stay. 

“We were looking for a warm winter experience while we were nurturing our craft and we ended up not leaving,” Wolfe told The Huffington Post.

Coming and going is something Lucius has become accustomed to lately. Wolfe and Laessig have spent the last few years traveling the world while on tour promoting their full-length debut album, 2013’s “Wildewoman.” The critically-acclaimed release put Lucius on the map, landing them spots at Bonnaroo, the Newport Folk Festival and Lollapalooza.

The July 2014 Newport, Rhode Island, performance, for one, ended up becoming a memorable experience for the then up-and-coming band, marking maybe even a turning point. Mavis Staples joined the group onstage, and the gals could just feel the excitement surrounding them and their music.

“It was the first time there was a little bit of buzz, or a seed planted. People were curious and excited ... Something about being there, I don’t know, it’s just something in the water,” Wolfe said about Newport Folk Festival. “It’s a certain juju or something. There’s always magic.”

That magic seemed to follow the members of Lucius as they went on to play sold-out shows over the last two years. It turns out the days on the road actually helped inspire the five-piece band’s second album, “Good Grief,” released on March 11.

“We had two and a half years of touring under our belts, so we know what works with an audience and we know what’s bringing the most excitement and energy to the crowd and yourself onstage. There’s a bit of maturity and growth and understanding there," Wolfe said.

Putting together album No. 2 proved to be quite different than the first time around. Wolfe and Laessig, who formed Lucius in 2005 while attending Berklee College of Music, were always passionate about music, but they had much more of a “let’s wing it” approach during their early years.

"When we made the first record it was just Holly and I and we had collected a bunch of songs,” said Wolfe. “We really didn’t have a plan. We didn’t know we were going to make a record … There was no timeline and no pressure or anything. Nobody knew who we were and we had no one to impress.”

Two years has really made a big difference. There are now people to impress, critics watching and, of course, that sophomore album pressure. 

“Our parents are proud of us,” said Wolfe. “And our friends are supporting us, and you're traveling the world with your best friends and playing to sold-out crowds. But we never had a moment to sit back for a minute."

When they finally did grab that moment, Wolfe and Laessig realized they had a lot more new music than they originally expected. While on the road, they collected notes and recorded voice memos. But mostly, the music and lyrics were “buried inside” of them, they say. 

Now Lucius is once again hitting the road, gearing up to road test the new songs on tour. The gals, who wear matching outfits onstage, have already plotted their wardrobe for their 2016 road trip.

"It's an extension of the music and it always has been, and as the music evolves, so does the look that we have. We have fun with it," Laessig said.

On Thursday, the tour will pull into a familiar spot: Brooklyn. Lucius will return to the New York borough for a gig at the Music Hall of Williamsburg.

"When we first moved to New York, I think the energy had an effect on our music," Laessig said. "When we first got there we were jazz singers. But we wanted to rock out a little bit more and have a heavier rhythm with the music ... We were there for nine years and we really built up our fan base there. When we go back, it really feels like home and people welcome us that way."

Can't make it to the gig? The show will air live from 9 p.m. to 12 a.m. EST on the go90 mobile app and will be available for replay. The go90 app is a part of Verizon, AOL and The Huffington Post's parent company. 

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