h1 It's a bit nostalgic, a bit like the music of the past while still being rooted in the present.
Jean-Philip Grobler, St. Lucia
When you're ready for something familiar yet fresh, ultracool but accessible, and infinitely danceable, take a trip with St. Lucia, an awesome new sound project from the South-African-turned-New-York-producer Jean-Philip Grobler. St. Lucia is one of our featured bands this year at our official SXSW party. We caught up with Jean just after the Great Snowpocalypse of 2013 for a preview of what he's working on, what to except on his upcoming album, and what other great sounds he loves that should be on your playlist.
Check out the interview and one of the band's official videos – and then join us at SXSW this year at The Speakeasy for the best party of the show.
We love the Caribbean island too but why St. Lucia? Well, the band isn't actually named after the Caribbean island, it's named after the South African St. Lucia, which is similar in the sense that it's a sub-tropical beach town. I came up with the name by closing my eyes and sticking a pen on a map of South Africa, and the 5th try was St. Lucia. I think the reason it fits has a lot to do with what the idea of a place like St. Lucia represents: an escape, an exotic place that you used to go on vacation as a child or teenager and where a lot of your earliest memories of things like first crushes happened. The name almost perfectly represents what the music of this project is. It's a bit nostalgic, a bit like the music of the past while still being rooted in the present, and I think it's music that one can escape into.
You've got an album coming out soon (congrats!). Any cool behind-the-scenes details you can share about it? Thanks! Well, even though I worked on it alone mostly, I did get to work with some great people, like Chris Zane (Passion Pit, Holy Ghost) and James Iha, who was a part of one of my favourite bands. I also came up with one of the most tropical sounding songs, Call Me Up, in the Tommy Bahama restaurant while on vacation in Sarasota, Florida with our friends from the band Haerts. Something about the completely over-the-top tropical decor and vibe of the place just pulled it out of me. In the deleted scenes reel there are moments of me lying on the floor kicking and screaming for sure, but in general it's been a lot of fun.
What track are you most excited about and why? I'd have to say I'm most excited about Elevate. Next to We Got it Wrong, it pretty much encompasses almost everything that St. Lucia is to me right now. It's dreamy, nostalgic, has some funk, has a kind-of heartbroken quality to it, and has literally a zillion things going on at one time at the end. Those are some of my favorite things in any music.
You're playing at SXSW this year. What are your most popular live songs? Elevate and September are the songs that seem to get the strongest reactions live.
What new bands are you loving right now? There are a few. I think Haim deserve every bit of success that is coming their way. They have an almost perfect formula, not that it's a formula. Their image is incredibly strong, personally they're really lovely and really cool girls, and everything they've released is incredibly strong and unique in the current musical landscape. And then, you have their live show, which has to be seen to be believed. I'm also really loving everything that Kate Boy, a Swedish band, has released so far. Then, I have to blow my own trumpet and say that I really love the band Haerts that I've been producing. I think Nini, honestly, has one of the most heartbreaking voices of the last 20 years.
What's something your fans would be surprised to learn about you? I'm almost too good at doing the chipmunk voice.
Don't miss St. Lucia at our party at SXSW this year along with 5 other amazing bands - it's a night you won't forget.