Hailing from Boston, Lake Street Dive are jazz-schooled, DIY-motivated, and pop-obsessed. Upright bass player, Bridget Kearney answered questions about their crossover album Bad Self Portraits and their not to be missed show for the Perth Festival. Lake Street Dive play the Chevron Festival Gardens on Tuesday, March 3. CHRIS HAVERCROFT reports.
The four-piece Lake Street Dive took its name from a location that was awash with dive bars in Minneapolis, but the four members of the band came to know each other while they were studying at the New England Conservatory of Music.
The band started playing a decade ago, but it wasn’t until 2012 that they decided to put some serious effort into the project. The only hurdle being the songs they had just recorded were being stalled due to contractual issues.
“Rachael (Price, vocals) was involved in an pre-existing contract for solo material that was exclusive for her,” explains Kearney. “We spent about a year negotiating with the parties involved in that contract to get permission to release Bad Self Portraits. The good news is, she is now completely released from that contract, so we can put out as many albums as we want.”
The delay was an emotional drain on the band who were happy with the album and wanted to share it with people, fearing at times that it may never be possible. The experience also brought the four members closer together. They committed fully to a band that was essentially without legs to stand on – that being the ability to release albums, which much of the music industry is based around.
“The fact that we all stuck around built some trust between us. It gave a certain intensity to our live shows, because at the time we knew that was the only place people could hear the songs from Bad Self Portraits. It also gave us a chance to continue building buzz about the band and the record for a good amount of time which gave us a much bigger platform to release Bad Self Portraits on.”
Having met at the New England Conservatory of Music has given each member a strong background in the theory of music and an impeccable base for writing songs. The band realise, though, that it’s important to retain a passion for music that’s more from the heart than the head. It was this philosophy that saw them abandon their early premise which was to be a ‘free country’ band.
“It’s hard to say that we really gave the ‘free country’ sound a go, because none of us knew anything about country music and we also knew very little about playing free (avant garde) music. But our songs in those early days were these weird kind of art songs where there would be a rubato verse about milk cartons and hair cuts and then a chorus that went into a swing feel with walking bass and a really angular melody and then there would be a five-minute trumpet solo with no chord changes behind it. Suffice to say, we were not winning any fans!”
The Perth Festival is a perfect fit for Lake Street Dive whose love of Motown, pop music and their liberal use of harmonies will be well suited to a summer’s night under the stars.
“The Perth show will be a big one for us because that is where our singer Rachael’s family hails from! I’m sure we will all be extra excited to get on stage that night, and pretty much everyone who comes to any of our shows walks away astounded by Rachael’s talents but she’ll probably be positively on fire that day.”