- Posted on Feb 24th 2011 1:00PM by Theo Bark
You recorded the first EP by Lake Huron, Mich. Is that where you came up with the name?
Yeah. That lake has always been a big part of my life, and that part of the world just felt like something that meant a lot to me. I've always liked names that kind of recall where someone's from or tell you a little bit more about them than just their names.
You've been making music for years but only just started releasing it last year.
Yeah, I've always been in bands in high school and in college and stuff, but I was focusing more on creating visual arts. I went to school for painting, and I was doing some shows around L.A., doing graphic design to pay the bills, and started recording music again. I had taken a break, but I started up again and that's what became Lord Huron.
What was it like growing up in Michigan?
It was nice, you know? It was good. The best part of it for me was always going up north to the lakes and spending time up there -- I did that every summer. That was very formative for me. Being isolated up there, away from the world and on your own in the wilderness is kind of a cool thing. I really got into that when I was a kid, being out there in the wilderness. All the guys in the band are from Michigan, too, which is really cool. If I can make it work, I'd love to move back there eventually. I just wanted to get out into the world and see some other things before I settle down there.
That seems like a good place for an artist to record music.
Yeah, very good for that. It's amazing that there are not more people out there, especially on that side of the state, the east side. It's just empty and gorgeous, and we've got a little house up there where I stay.
I know you like Leonard Cohen and Neil Young. Who else? Tom Waits? Arthur Russell?
There's all kinds of stuff. I love good storytelling in songs. That's the thing that I'm most attracted to, so that manifests itself in a lot of ways. There's more folky guys, guys like Bruce Springsteen and Paul Simon. And in the Caribbean, guys like Mighty Sparrow, Lord Melody, who are a little more on the humorous side, but they tell great stories in their songs, and I really like that. I love really evocative music, stuff that really transports you somewhere else.
It's funny -- we don't think people really think about the beach when they think about Michigan, but you have a lot of beach influences in your music.
Especially with 'Into the Sun,' that was the product of the time of year when I recorded it, and where I was. I wasn't in the Caribbean, I was up in Lake Huron, but it was the summer, and it was very beachy feeling. I think 'Mighty' starts to get a little away from that, especially towards the end of the record, and I think the next stuff we're gonna release is gonna be farther away from that beachy sound. A lot of those elements will stick around, some of the rhythmic stuff, but I think that'll start to be pushed to the background.
We were also interested in the design on your albums.
I do all the artwork simultaneously with the music. I guess because my background is in visuals, a lot of times, the way I'll start working on a song is I'll come up with the story I want to tell and I'll visualize an image that illustrates that story. That's my starting point for writing. I wanted the artwork to be part of it, to go with the music and help evoke this sense of place and this sense of mythology, of this world that I'm trying to craft.
Catch Lord Huron's SXSW Set on Thursday, March 17 at The Bat Bar (218 E 6th St.) 11PM.
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