Photos and words by Carol Simpson
A simple stage setup, a full drum kit off to the side and Lostboycrow gracing center stage with a guitar in hand. A project that doesn’t adhere to the standards of genre and also takes in the influence of friends close to the project. Earlier this year Lostboycrow released the record Santa Fe. The album was named after the city in New Mexico which is rampant with creative energy. That “magical” energy is felt throughout the record and it takes on new form in its follow up EP, Santa Fe (Live).
The full-length record itself was a slight and deliberate step away from the usual sound, but the live EP was meant to take that twist and run with it. “The album Santa Fe was such an intentional pivot away from the kind of music I had been making. I wanted to kind of get away from more electronic R&B leaning songs and get back to this sort of guitar-based writing that I had done years prior. Santa Fe was kind of the step in that direction, but still had a lot of elements as the music before.”
It was important that the live show and record tie together very well while taking a new approach to the typical single then music video rinse and repeat cycle. “When we were putting the show together I knew I wanted a live band. So I found the guys, we started rehearsing and Santa Fe was coming out and it was great, but it still wasn’t an accurate depiction of what people were going to get live. We wanted to rather than making some music videos we decided to go into a studio and record videos of us playing live how it would be for a show. These new renditions for me [were] a dream come true to show people, this is where we’re actually at musically. Really proud of the album Santa Fe cohesively, but as a musician performer and writer I think it really bridged the gap between the album coming out and what you’re seeing live.”
Lostboycrow is currently out on the road bringing this live EP directly to the fans with flor and Joan. The three band bill offers three unique sets in one night. As the opener, Lostboycrow has a lot to prove while also satisfying his loyal listeners. Being on tour with your friends makes that first part much easier. “I feel like every answer I have falls short a bit because it’s so hard to describe the connection and the familiarity that we all have. Touring is exhausting, it’s grueling, it’s beautiful. My point being, it’s going to be hard no matter what, but when you have the history that we have and the level of communication and comfortability that we have it just takes out a lot of the guess work and a lot of the variables off the table when problems do arise how do we deal with it. How do we share time. It just makes everything so much smoother. It’s still a lot of work, but it is infinitely more fun touring with your best friends.”
That vision for the live show is coming to life and being effortlessly executed with a simpler set up than in the live videos. Though simpler, nothing lost in the set. “We’ve had a few different set ups. This is the first tour where we have just done the two of us, Cole and I. I think I was telling Matt, it has been such a fun challenge. It’s just the two of us, how do we do this and still without sacrificing anything? Cole and I have been working together the longest. We have been working together for four and a half years maybe. I feel like that level of comfortability and again communication played a factor and we were able to make something we were really proud of just the two of us and have fun with it. It’s always a fun challenge.”
Being on tour with friends makes half the battle easier, but one huge goal, for any artist, when touring is to make sure you are engaging new fans along the way. Lostboycrow executes that well on stage. New York crowds are known for being more difficult to impress, but hanging at the back of the crowd during the second half of his set proved he was winning their attention. They weren’t talking over his set. They were listening and grooving along even when they didn’t know the words. The line at the merch table at the end of the night waiting to meet Lostboycrow was surely a blend of old and new fans. “I would say we’ve done some tours where it’s mostly our fans and others where it’s mostly new ones. This one is definitely mostly new ones and theres an added pressure for sure, but it has been so nice to have that feedback and have people come up to you and say they had no idea who we were and now they’re fans. It’s part of why we do this and are able to bring the music out to people that may not have heard it yet. It’s very rewarding.” Chris expressed to us during our interview.
With such a well thought out live show and unique records, it makes you want to dive further into the creative process behind Lostboycrow. Being an artist on the up and up while working on cultivating who are as an artist can put a strain on the self, but not for Chris. “Honestly, I don’t feel like I experience seasonal ruts. A rut to me would be like if tomorrow I went to pick up the guitar and nothing was clicking that would be fine. That differs from other people’s approaches. I am fine with putting the guitar away. I’ll play some songs I know already or some old ones and get the energy out that way and come back the next day or whenever the song that wants to be written is ready. I hope this doesn’t sound too cavalier, but I really don’t force songwriting and I think I just collect a lot of bits and pieces whether it’s song titles or just like one certain chord progression that I like and then trust my gut that when that song wants to reveal itself when I am in the right headspace. Obviously it’s still work when you are in the midst of writing a song you have to push through sometimes. For the most part, I feel like I do a really good job of taking that pressure off myself if I have to write an album. I lieu of that I have been really fortunate to have a ton of music and the next album is done and a couple of other projects I have been working on are done. Getting ahead of everything that I don’t feel the pressure to write the next thing. I am ready to get it out and have two next things.”
Part of the freedom of being able to write and not feeling an overwhelming pressure to produce comes from trusting his gut and taking things as they come. The free flowing nature of his work and live set doesn’t quite fit into a mold. While most people may be beating themselves up about what others think along the way, Lostboycrow makes a conscious effort to not let outside factors rule. “Freedom to me is just not being tethered to concern. I’m kind of ripping off Jim Carey because he talks about performing standup and wanting to be free from concern and that sort of being what you strive for. Anyone that performs that’s what you strive for because that’s what the audience wants. I think the listener too whether it’s a live show or a recording. Freedom is just being free from concern and that can umbrella under a lot of different things.”
With new music on the horizon, Lostboycrow is going to close out 2019 with plenty of accomplishments to look back on and more to look forward to. Listen to Santa Fe (Live EP) here and check out Orange Juice on our New Impressions playlist. There are only a handful of dates left on Lostboycrow’s fall tour. Purchase tickets for an upcoming date here.