Interview: an October check-in with Lucius

Holly Laessig and Jess Wolfe of Lucius
Holly Laessig and Jess Wolfe of Lucius. (Petecia Le Fawnhawk)
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Interview: October check-in with Lucius
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From Los Angeles, Holly Laessig and Jess Wolfe of Lucius check in with The Current's Jill Riley to talk about what they've been up to during the pandemic so far. They also share some memories of performing in the rotunda of the Minnesota State Capitol building back in 2017.

Listen to the interview using the audio player above. You can also read a transcript of the interview below.

Interview Transcript

JILL RILEY: You're listening to The Current; I'm Jill Riley. And I am checking in with Jess and Holly of Lucius. So, Jess and Holy of Lucius, how are you doing?

JESS WOLFE: Good! What day is it today?

RILEY: I don't know…

WOLFE: We were just saying that in California, there's no seasons, so I have no idea what month it is, other than hot and sunny and stuck inside.

RILEY: Yeah, it might be a long, cold winter here in Minnesota for a number of reasons. But the last time we talked, when we were doing a Phone a Friend series at The Current, maybe Holly, it was you that said you were doing some writing. And I wonder if you guys have any updates about that. I mean, have you been able to record anything, or is anything in process right now?

HOLLY LAESSIG: We're going to start recording. We wrote our little hearts out, and just wrote and wrote and wrote all through the pandemic, so we've just got this huge collection of songs. And now we get to do the fun part, which is pick which ones go together and, you know, the whole Tetris of it all.

WOLFE: It's really the first time that we've been able to pause and sort of step away from the road and focus on the writing. And I think we kind of had a bit of a writer's block for a couple years there because we didn't have the time, and I think without the time, and then you try to squeeze an idea out, it just doesn't work. And so you're left dissatisfied. It's just been a relief to just purge. And you know, a lot has happened: Quarantine. I went through a divorce. There's a lot of stuff. It's heavy. But it's been healthy in that way. Maybe I could imagine doing all that and being really busy! It probably would help, too!

RILEY: Maybe the routine and the busyness, there can be an upside there.

WOLFE: Yeah, but then you don't actually deal with what it is that you need to deal with, and there is something about sitting in the silence and sitting in the space and allowing whatever it is to actually move through you. And I think it's really helped in our writing.

RILEY: I'm talking with Jess and Holly of Lucius here on The Current. You know, I was looking at your website, and I was looking at some of your merch. You guys always have really good t-shirts and all kinds of different merch going on, and I saw a few self-care items, which I appreciated. I saw that you have a yoga mat and a pair of pajamas, which I have bought more pajamas during this time than I have ever owned in my life! But I also saw that you had some Lucius masks, and I noticed that with your mask designs that you have as merch, so your fans can show off a little Lucius personality on their faces, that some of the proceeds were going to something called the Carolina Mask Project. Can you talk about what that is?

WOLFE: This group of women, they make masks out of recycled materials. So in this case, we used like old Lucius shirts; maybe like back-stock that didn't get sold or whatever. And they took a part of the t-shirts and made masks from them. And then with every mask that's made, they make a mask for a healthcare provider or a service person who's in need of masks. It's a cool organization, and they do a beautiful job.

RILEY: You can check that out on the Lucius website.

LAESSIG: Yeah.

RILEY: But right now, The Current is doing fall fundraising, and we're highlighting some classic performances from our archives, so we're doing that nightly at 6 p.m., and tonight, we are going to re-air the Lucius Microshow that we captured at the State Capitol right here in St. Paul. And I will tell you, we have done some unique spaces with those Microshows — and again, it was a small audience, a Current audience — but such a big space. And I wonder if you could just share some memories of that performance and what it was like to perform in that environment.

LAESSIG: Singing in a space where you feel your voice all around you. That was an incredible space, acoustically, to just be in. And that day was amazing, too; and all the women that were there and children — everybody that was so empowered together. I mean, that was a pretty special performance.

WOLFE: You know, The Current has been so incredibly supportive of Lucius for such a long time. It's been such a rewarding friendship. And so, this opportunity was the perfect time to do something that was going to sound special and unique, and feel special and unique, and if you were there in person, hopefully, like, you know, be a part of something that was special and unique. So it was idyllic, really.

RILEY: And the feedback I heard after that Microshow, it was like, that was a really special experience for The Current. So for anyone who wasn't there — because it was a MicroShow — we're really happy that we can share those experiences on the air, and so we're going to re-air that tonight at 6 o'clock. And again, fall fundraising effort going on right now at The Current. And don't forget that when you support The Current, you are supporting artists like Lucius, because Lucius, you ladies will have a home here on The Current for a long time, especially if I have smithing to do with it, all right?

WOLFE: Thank you so much. It's definitely felt, and we are so grateful for the friendship. And it's true; if we don't have stations like The Current giving opportunities to artists who wouldn't otherwise have a voice and an audience — certainly without The Current, we wouldn't have the audience that we do in Minneapolis and St. Paul — so we're incredibly grateful for that. And if you support them, you're supporting us, it's true.

RILEY: Jess and Holly of Lucius. Good luck with your recording. Keep us up to date. Can't wait to hear what you've come up with during this time. And we look forward, like I said, to having that moment where we can dance with some new music.

Well, we'll check in again. Best wishes. We'll talk to you soon. You are listening to The Current.

External Links

Lucius - official site

Carolina Mask Project - official site

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2 Photos

  • Lucius at the 2018 Newport Folk Festival.
    Lucius performing at the 2018 Newport Folk Festival. (Adam Kissick/NPR)
  • The Current's Music-on-a-Stick 2017
    Lucius at the Minnesota State Fair Grandstand in 2017. (Darin Kamnetz for MPR)