Lucid prepares for Backwoods Pondfest
Lucid has been busy this summer.
The band released its newest album, “Home is Where We Wanna Grow,” in June and has hit up nearly every live music event in the area this summer. They headlined this week’s edition of the Songs at Mirror Lake concert series, and members have played at the I Love BBQ Fest, the Adirondack Challenge, the Last Waltz recreation, the Waterhole’s Party on the Patio series, and many more.
That’s in addition to touring around the Northeast and a July residency at Burlington’s Nectar’s, known for being the place where the band Phish got its start.
And now, the band is preparing for their annual music festival, Backwoods Pondfest, which is set for this weekend at Twin Ponds Campsite in Peru.
With all that going on, it’s tough to nail down lead singer, guitar player and band co-founder Kevin Sabourin, but the Enterprise managed to catch up with him in late July to talk about the new album, the band’s third studio recording, and this weekend’s Pondfest.
“Home is Where We Wanna Grow”
“This is our, ‘OK, we’ve been doing this for how long? We need to make a serious effort here. If we’re going to do this, then let’s do this,'” Sabourin said of the new album.
Lucid has been together for about a decade now, Sabourin said, and he described “Home is Where We Wanna Grow” as an attempt to bring together all the different facets of what the band has done musically over the years and to stretch beyond its previous boundaries.
“This album musically was a lot different than we’ve ever done,” Sabourin said. “This one is kind of a broader scope for us here.”
The band has its base in rock but regularly pulls in a variety of musical styles, including blues, ska, hip hop and jazz.
The band was always seen as a rocking group, and people expected shows to be loud, Sabourin said. So on this album, the band tried a few tunes, like “Parisian Melancholy,” which are more stripped down and bare, “trying not to use raw force and energy to get the ideas across and being more subtle in our approach,” Sabourin said.
“We’ve been at this for a good nine to 10 years now,” Sabourin said. “We’re not coming from the same place. I think we’re coming from a more humbled and grounded spot.”
Fans who see Lucid play live shows frequently will recognize a number of the songs on the album as ones the band has been playing for some time. The band’s keyboard player, Andrew Dellar, has what Sabourin calls a 100-time rule: The band can’t record a song until they play it live 100 times.
But other songs, like “Parisian Melancholy” and “Despot” didn’t go through that kind of vetting. Some were never played live before they were put on the album.
“They were just sort of flukes that happened to end up on there, but they were really good flukes,” Sabourin said.
Sabourin wrote or co-wrote all the songs on the album, and this was the first album in which the band did almost all of the production.
“We started realizing we have the ability to capture our sound,” Sabourin said. “We know what we want to sound like.”
He describes recording the album as similar to making a sculpture: They started with a solid rhythm recording, then build a song up from there.
Saxophone player Jamie Armstrong engineered the CD, and Sabourin said the band picked up a lot of new skills by going through the process.
“We came out with a product that was even better than we could have asked for,” Sabourin said.
It was put together around the beginning of the year, and the doom and gloom of the projected end of the world in December 2012 inspired the band to look for the positive and toward the future, Sabourin said.
“We were seeing people do a lot of good stuff around,” Sabourin said.
The album art features a futuristic building that incorporates plants and has inner workings that help create a sustainable future. That’s a symbol for the kind of future the band wants to promote.
Sabourin says he was heavily influenced by the band’s strong relationship with Fledging Crow Vegetables, a farm in Keeseville. Sabourin calls the farm the band’s “partner in community building,” and he sees music and food as “opposite ends of the same spectrum” that helps people grow and come together.
Dellar works at the farm helping to grow food. The farm plays Lucid’s music to plants in the fields in an attempt to help them grow, Sabourin said. Then the farm sends food to a Plattsburgh restaurant, where Armstrong cooks it up and feeds it to the public. It’s a circle that helps nourish people’s bodies and minds, Sabourin said.
Sabourin said many of the band’s fans see them play late at night and think of them as a hard-drinking, rocking act, but he likes that the band has been able to play some daytime shows at festivals where they can get a more diverse audience.
“We started finding that our demographic was much bigger than we thought, and we were reaching a lot of people, and a variety of people, too,” Sabourin said, which he called more interesting for him. “I’d rather play for everybody.”
Drummer Kyle Murray had only been with the band roughly six months when they started recording the album, and Sabourin said recording the album with him helped the band solidify.
“Now we have a whole piece that we’re all a part of,” Sabourin said.
Sabourin and Murray live in Paul Smiths, and the rest of the band lives in Plattsburgh, but Lucid plays in the Tri-Lakes area plenty. The Waterhole in Saranac Lake was their choice for their CD release party in mid-June.
Today the band is hard at work preparing the campsite in Peru for Backwoods Pondfest, a weekend concert festival named for a song called “Backwoods” off the band’s 2005 debut release, “Miles Deep.”
This will be Lucid’s seventh year hosting the festival. Sabourin said the band has brought around 40 musical acts to Peru over the seven years since it began. He said that’s pretty cool, because “we don’t always get the utmost of cultural events here.”
The campsite has been hosting music for decades, and Sabourin remembers going to a harvest dance there when he was 15 or so.
As hosts to the festival, band members do everything from putting up tents and fences and raking the ground to running the sound system and of course playing a set each night alongside acts like Dopapod, the Brian Worrell Orchestra, the Garcia Project and Giant Panda Guerilla Dub Squad.
“We’re all hands on deck,” Sabourin said.
Backwoods Pondfest kicks off at 1 p.m. Friday, and music runs through 4:45 a.m. Sunday morning. For more information, go to www.backwoodspondfest.com.
Contact Jessica Collier at 891-2600 ext. 26 or email@example.com.