By Jessica Barr
“Lucky! Louie! Get out!”
“Oh sh*t, that’s a good name…”
Admittedly, that probably wasn’t the extent of the conversation between the band members in Lucky Louie Blues Co. after deciding to name the band after the two dogs ran into their practice, but it’s pretty close to the actual fact.
Between playing guitar, writing the songs and acting as the bands Vocalist, Ross Mandel has had his work cut out for him. Lyrically, most of his songs were written before the band even came together, letting the individual members take their own creative liberties on their parts. He and Josh Dudzik, who plays the congas, are the veterans of the group.
Once upon a time they had a third guitar player who left, putting them in a position to scout new members. The two did what any musicians needing band members would do: they networked. When all was said and done Lucky Louie ended up with a new bass player, Lorne Montague, Miguel Vazquez on drums and a pianist, Matt Conde. Their producers, Sophie Studios, work behind the scenes to get their music out to the world through Spotify and Apple Music. Their new EP, “Waiting”, was released on January 12 of the new year, with five original songs. I sat down to interview Ross and Sophie Studios about the behind the scenes of their newest EP.
What’s your favorite song on the EP?
That’s a good question… so “Someone Else” was the first song I ever wrote where I felt like I had actually written a genuine song, that was kind of the start of everything. “It Comes and Goes” was a last minute addition, we had the other four pretty much recorded. We had a fifth one and we started it, but scrapped it because I had just written this one [It Comes and Goes].
What was your inspiration behind them?
“Someone Else” is a freshmen year, “sad boy” break up song, that’s it. I was post break up and right at the beginning of college, so I didn’t know what I was doing and didn’t have a game plan. I kind of just sat down with a guitar and started writing. Actually, post break up I would sit on a rock at the pond by Esopus and smoke cigarettes, and that’s kind of where the inspiration for the chorus came from.
What is your song writing process?
It’s just me trying to put my thoughts in order and describe where I am mentally. “It Comes and Goes” is the only one that’s not straight up inspired by a boy-meets-girl story.
What made you choose these five songs?
I felt these were the best to record. Our other songs are really jammy, blues songs. These five had structure and kind of tell a story. A lot of the songs I write, yes they’re about a girl, but they’re not. They depict various factors, but I’m using the “boy meets girl” as an outlet to write about different things. “Waiting” isn’t necessarily about a girl and a crush, it’s about the patience you have to have wanting things, and everything that goes along with that. Nothing you want comes to you right away.
How often are you able to rehearse?
Lorne moved away, so we haven’t really been practicing. So when we play shows we really show up and jam, we improvise almost the whole time. We just show up. We know the chords, the changes and important moments throughout the whole thing, but for the most part we’re just out there jamming with each other.
What do you want your band to contribute to the music scene here?
This is a college town, so there’s a big turnover in who’s hosting and playing at house shows. The DIY scene here got us started, but I think it’s becoming time to move past that and see if we can do something bigger.
What brought Sophie Studios and Lucky Louie Together working on the EP?
Grant: Freshmen year Ross was semi consistently coming by and ripping guitar parts, and had the drive saying he wanted to do something about that. I got into music initially by working in studios in the tristate area.
Ross: Yeah we’ve been buds for a while. I heard he was going to the same Tame Impala concert as me. I actually didn’t meet Grant at all there, but on the train home I see Grant! He was promoting his studio to me, and asked if I had anything cool to record. I had just finished writing this EP like three days before the concert. So… I don’t want to say fate, but we were able to sit down and work on something.