„The German crowds were very good to us“ – Interview mit Mike Olson von Lake Street Dive

DATUM» 09.05.2014
ARTIST»

Lake Street Dive gibt es bereits seit 10 Jahren, dennoch ist die in Boston gegründete Band, eine der vielversprechendsten Newcomer auf dem deutschen Musikmarkt. Nun steht ihre zweite Tour durch die Bundesrepublik an. MHQ-Redakteur Marc Brüser hatte die Möglichkeit ein E-Mail Interview mit Gründer und Gitarrist Mike „McDuck“ Olson durchzuführen:

I know, this an awful opening question, but how would you describe Lake Street Dive in your own words?

We try to mention soul and pop music when we answer this question. It’s definitely what we’re striving for musically with our songs and how we play them, in that we want everything to be super hook-y and dance-y, but with that soul sass. Too often people say they hear jazz or something else crazy, like bluegrass, when they listen to our band, and that’s all well and good I suppose, but those things aren’t necessarily what we’re going for.

What are your expectations about the upcoming tour in Germany?

We had such an excellent time in Germany last year when we toured there for the first time ever, so frankly, there are a lot of very high expectations! The German crowds were very good to us. So we’re hoping to build on what we had going on last year, and ideally, will be playing to bigger audiences. But in the end, we’re also really looking forward to spending time in what for us has been a very fun and inviting country. That, and we’re super stoked to be there when the weather is nicer! It was pretty cloudy and cold last time.

Which record of Lake Street Dive would you recommend to a person that never heard you before?

Bad Self Portraits, of course! It’s our newest release, and the one we are most proud of. It really is an example of our best songwriting and best playing and we’re really pumped about the production, the whole nine yards. We really love it, and we hope everyone else does too.

Are there any bands or certain people that helped you along during your career (e.g. taking you with them on tour)?

Absolutely. A few years ago, we did almost a full year of touring as an opener to larger bands, such as the Infamous Stringdusters and Yonder Mountain String Band, and one of our personal heroes, Josh Ritter. Those experiences were great for us, as not only were the headlining bands that took us with them extremely warm and kind to us, but it gave us a taste of what larger-scale touring was going to be like. We played bigger rooms, larger crowds, sold lots of merch, and really broke us into certain markets we had never played before. Those kinds of tours are exhausting, but in the end very valuable and lots of fun.

How important is the German music market for American bands?

I couldn’t really say, quite frankly. I think it differs from one band to the next. There are a lot of bands who focus only on the North American markets and make whole careers out of playing in the States and Canada, and are totally satisfied. For us, though, it has been very important to expand into European markets, and Germany constitutes nearly a quarter of all the touring we do over here. It’s too easy to get caught up in touring the US, but with the advent of the internet, we have been able to sell our records and reach fans via Facebook or Youtube all over the world, and we want to make sure that we are able to get to those countries when we can, and actually make person to person connections with those people.

Are there any differences between playing a concert in America and Germany?

Well frankly, Germans are much…quieter. But don’t take that the wrong way! We’ve experienced audiences in Germany that are very exited to be at the shows, but are also very respectful and truly there to listen and enjoy the show. Often, American audiences are at a show to be entertained, but also to talk to their friends and drink and hook up, and maybe Germans are looking to do those things too, but Americans tend to do everything just a little louder than everyone else. Maybe you’ve experienced that too…

I’ve seen on your setlist that you used to cover „I Want You Back“ by The Jackson 5 at your shows. Do you have a specific connection to this song?

That song is sort of the reason we’re here in Europe, in a lot of ways! We were very much toiling away in obscurity for years and years and years, and one day, we made a low budget video of that song and put it up online, not really expecting much of it. A few months later, it got a bunch of attention from blogs and music websites, and was shared over and over again, and pretty soon, it had over a million views. It really propelled us into the next phase of our career, and afforded us a much larger audience both online but physically at our shows as well. It’s crazy to think that people all over the world have seen that video. It truly laid serious groundwork for us professionally.

What are your most important plans and hopes for the future in regard of Lake Street Dive?

International stardom!! Just kidding. We have been a band for ten years, so we are very practiced in the „slow and steady wins the race“ method of touring and music making. We like to take things as they come. We’re already writing and rehearsing for our next record, which we’re hoping to make early next year, we are planning on hitting the road really hard to continue building our fan base both in the States and abroad, but perhaps most importantly, we focus daily on staying sane and having a healthy friendship with one another. It’s what got us here in the first place, and it’s what will allow us to continue coming to Germany over and over again in the years to come.