|Photo credit: Scott Minor|
L to R: Parker, Reed, Micolo, Davenport
Lacing is a Tennessee-based 4-piece comprised of Joe Davenport (guitar/vocals), Jerry Reed (drums), Robert Parker (guitar), and Joseph Micolo III (bass). They first caught our attention last year, after releasing their majestically dense debut EP, Honey Glow. Back in June we premiered their new tune, “Summer”, which is the lead single from their just-released debut LP, Bummer. We’ve been looking forward to this album for months, and it does not disappoint! If you’re a fan of stonergaze, slowcore, sludgy pop, swirling noise, epic drums, and other generally deafening/awesome aural journeys, Lacing is for you. Enjoy getting to know more about them!
How and when was the band formed?
JD: Lacing formed in the spring/summer of 2015. I'd been doing this solo harsh noise/shoegaze project called Millipede for a decade and decided I wanted to try to write actual songs in that style. Jerry Reed and I had bonded over both being new dads at the same time, both being in the local noise scene and playing shows together here in Chattanooga, and of course our mutual obsession with Slowdive. He played drums in two of my favorite local bands, Gravebound and Rough Rope. He plays LOUD, which is a thing I've always been super into...I've always been into bands with good drummers who play loud. We knew Joseph Micolo from the local noise scene doing his Segaworms project and the more beat driven GTRUK and knew he played bass so we asked him to join. Robert Parker was a friend of Jerry's from way back and they'd been in a bunch of bands together. Rob was in this awesome shoegaze band called SWOON that released one EP and then broke up right before we started Lacing so we were lucky in that regard because we were able to bring him in right at the beginning.
Can you tell us what the band has been working on and what you've got forthcoming in the future?
JD: Earlier this year we recorded our first full-length. It's called Bummer and it just came out September 15. You can get it from us directly through Bandcamp and also the label, which is called Elder Magick. The digital version is a pay what you want/free. We recorded it back in February with Scott Minor of Sparklehorse and our friend Carey Balch helming production and mastering duties respectively. We're about to start recording songs for a split with our homies in Chicago shoegazers Lazy Legs (recently relocated to Portland). After that we'll continue writing for another album with the goal being to get back in the studio in 2018. We've also been batting around the idea of doing a covers EP but so far haven't decided on what songs we wanna do. And as far as the near future goes, hopefully expect to see a video for a song or two from Bummer.
Do you consider your music to be part of the shoegaze/dream pop scene or any scene? Do you feel the band identifies closely with any genre? How do you feel about genres in general?
JD: As people who have loved shoegaze for a long time, we certainly hope that scene is accepting of us. There aren't any local shoegaze bands for us to play with but I think we all feel pretty comfortable aligning ourselves with the term in general. Outside of our area we know Michael and Laura from Lazy Legs, who have been nothing but supportive of us. We've played a bunch of shows but mostly with random bands/artists that aren't anything like us. We did get to play with Tender Age last fall and they were super nice people. As for our local scene, we've played a bunch of shows with our friends in this noise rock band called Prayer Circle.
As far as genres are concerned. I'm not too worried about it. People need shorthand terms to discuss lots of things. If we didn't categorize music in any sense then we'd all be having super long conversations that took forever to get to the point of what something sounds like. They're useful but I understand how other people worry about being tagged as one thing forever. They're right that it can happen and if you're too closely associated with a particular trend and it loses steam then your career or ability to get people to care about the music you make can end pretty abruptly.
What do you think of modern shoegaze in general, any favorite artists?
JD: We are way into it. A formative experience for all of us was seeing Ringo Deathstarr last year. I always liked them but seeing them live was something else altogether. We were blown away by how tight they are and how well those songs translate live. It made us confident that we could do whatever we wanted. So yeah, we love Ringo Deathstarr. Others would have to include Lazy Legs of course, Belong, Pinkshinyultrablast, Nothing, Bloody Knives, Deafcult, Dissolve, Jaguwar, Jefre Cantu-Ledesma, True Widow, Stargazer Lilies, and Tamaryn.
What is the most important piece of gear for your sound? Any particular guitars/pedal/amps?
JD: We pretty much all use Fender guitars. Rob and I both play Jazzmasters and I have a Jaguar I use for some stuff as well. Micolo's bass is a Fender too. I used to play through an Ampeg V4 but it literally caught on fire last year and died so now I have a Marshall 100-watt head I play through the old Ampeg 4x12" cab that went with the destroyed head. Rob uses a Fender combo amp into another big 4x12" cab that he can conjure some really crazy sounds from. We are all pedal junkies, even Jerry. He's been the most encouraging in terms of within the band forcing us to use different effects and move outside of our comfort zones. I have a vintage Memory Man that is the bulk of my tone and I use one of those modern silver Big Muffs paired with a Devi Ever Rocket pedal for over the top fuzz. Rob just got a Throne Torcher for fuzz so he's experimenting with new stuff there. He has some super weird pedals for sculpting feedback. Micolo plays through a Mesa Boogie 400+ and uses some modulation pedals such as the Small Stone Chorus, a Boss Flanger, and some other delays.
What is your process for recording? What gear or software do you use? Would you recommend it to others?
JD: I'm gonna let Micolo take over here since he has a sound engineering background. JM?
JM: We recorded the Honey Glow demo in my house using an old PowerMac G4 running ProTools 5, with gear from around that era. I have a spacious den area that made for a good recording room, as well as a smaller hallway we used for the vocal overdubs. We had borrowed some really great mics to cover Jerry's kit and for overall room sounds. It was done track by track, not as a live performance like the LP. But I approached it as though it were live, using the same room/mic configuration for a cohesive feel. After the initial recording, I mixed it using a slightly more advanced Mac mini running ProTools 7, which had updated versions of most of the same plugins on the G4. I'd say that if you're willing to go backwards in time for the sake of keeping costs down, using older machines can still be very effective. All the bells and whistles of the most current software and gear aren't worth anything if your ears don't know what to do with the frequencies.
When it comes to label releases vs. DIY/Bandcamp and the like, what is your stance if any?
JD: We're into both. We put out the Honey Glow tape ourselves but Bummer is coming out on Elder Magick. The two guys who run that label basically worked with us to make everything exactly how we wanted it, right down to being cool with us giving away the downloads for nothing. If we at some point work with another label and it doesn't go so well we may have a different take on it at that point. But we think Bandcamp is awesome. We've gotten a lot of support just through that which we wouldn't have otherwise had.
What format do you prefer to listen to music on? Do you have strong feelings towards any particular format?
JD: We're into vinyl, CDs, tapes, and downloads. We like vinyl the most ultimately if forced to choose. We do like having a physical format of some kind and if at some point the world goes to digital only we will probably be real sad.
What artists/musicians have most influenced your work?
JD: My Bloody Valentine, Slowdive, Dinosaur Jr, Smashing Pumpkins, Sonic Youth, Unwound, Nirvana, Black Flag, Throbbing Gristle, Delia Derbyshire, Grouper, Cocteau Twins, Joy Division, Swirlies, The Cure, The Smiths, Pixies........ We also come from a metal/hardcore/noise background. All of us have either been in hardcore or metal bands or done noise projects off and on for over a decade or more prior to Lacing. I think at some point we all realized that we'd been obsessed with this same wall of sound for a long time and had been trying to come at it from different places.
What is your philosophy on life if any that you live by?
JD: Don't die. Whatever it takes. The main goal is to keep on living. Maybe make some killer records?