Brooklyn-based band St. Lucia creates the type of music that you can’t help but dance to. The soaring melodies, and perfectly crafted pop that tugs at the heartstrings, have found more than a few fans – St. Lucia sold out on multiple nights at New York City’s Terminal Five venue and performed at festivals all over the States this year. This September, they’re back with brand new album Hyperion, an 80s-tinged record inspired by the greats that looks set to put St. Lucia right up there with them. We met up with singer and frontman Jean-Philip Grobler.
Hyperion is the 3rd album from my musical project called St. Lucia, and it very much expresses where I've been in my head and heart for the last couple of years. It's very romantic and optimistic, but not without an eye on the problems we're dealing with as people and as a society. I'm inspired by so many things and it changes over time, but the one thing that remains constant is that I'm inspired by 'the greats'. I know that's a loaded term and there's a massive list of bands and artists that people would consider 'greats', but for me, it's artists who reach beyond the confines of genre, sometimes gender, and just general expectations that are inevitably placed upon them by their fans, the general public, and the label that is trying to make them as understandable or marketable as possible. I'm talking about artists who straddle the line between pop and 'alternative' like Prince, Kate Bush, Beck, Radiohead, Kanye West, Fleetwood Mac. I could go on for ages!
I've just made, and that we're touring behind, from a totally different perspective – how people respond to the songs. I also tend to do a lot of the writing for whatever the next album ends up being while we’re on the road. There’s something about the way that, at least on paper, you’re in the least ideal situation to write or record anything, but that somehow frees me up. In fact, some of my best ideas or songs were written on a plane.
I'd say probably the 70s and 80s. There was something about those decades where the fidelity of the recordings was good enough, but still not 'perfect' by modern standards, yet there was almost this limitless quality to the records being made. And I'm sure a lot of people would consider many of the records made during those eras over-the-top and I fully understand why and agree in a lot of cases. But I really feel like you could hear in those records the process and excitement of discovery and people using x and x tape machine or synth for the first time. I'm not sure if we'll ever experience that again.
Ha! Well, thank you. I'd probably have to say “Let's Dance” by David Bowie or “Inspector Norse” by Todd Terje. But there are many songs that get me dancing.
'OK Computer' by Radiohead totally changed the way that I think about music. Then 'Rumours' by Fleetwood Mac, needs no explanation really, it's the most perfect pop album ever made by a band and yes, I'm saying better than any single Beatles album. 'V' by The Horrors was probably my favourite album of last year and it's just so great to see a band getting better and better with each album and aspire to greater heights. And then 'Isolation' by Kali Uchis. I love to see aspiring pop stars still trying to be themselves and be interesting. The modern pop landscape does its best to homogenize artists, but somehow Kali comes out with her own very strong voice. Not only that, but this is a really awesome pop album that's not trying to be in your face the whole time, it's quite relaxed most of the time.
I'm constantly working on new music and collaborations and there was a tonne of music left over from everything I wrote for 'Hyperion' so I'm hoping to have something else out not too long after Hyperion is released.