The Lucid Furs’ Karen O’Connor talks beach, banter, and being the band of your nightmares

Date:

Karen O’Connor of the Lucid Furs rang us from the beach outside Wilmington North Carolina where we had the pleasure of catching up with the power house rock vocalist on a break from their current US tour following the release of the Lucid Furs third album, Damn! That Was Easy.

Melodic Mag: Hey Karen, how’s the beach!?
Karen O’Connor: Cold! But it’s a nice break from the road.

Melodic Mag: I bet! Thanks for sharing your break with us. For those in our audience who don’t know, tell us a bit about the Lucid Furs.
Karen O’Connor: We like to describe ourselves as Detroit Freak Rock because we think our sound is reminiscent of Detroit, but not necessarily the genres that are mostly there. It’s a culmination of everything we grew up listening to.

Melodic Mag: Would it be correct to say that you’ve a strong 70s rock influence? Who are your influences?
Karen O’Connor: Heart. I get compared to Janis Joplin a lot too, but I didn’t listen to her as much and don’t seek out that comparison.

Melodic Mag: How would you describe your approach to your singing style?
Karen O’Connor: I grew up listening to those artists, then R&B on the radio, and then I listened to a lot of punk in high school. I resonated with that angst.

Melodic Mag: What can your audience expect from a Lucid Furs show?
Karen O’Connor: We have our own little thing, some stage banter that we do. We just bullshit with each other on stage the same that we would in the rehearsal room or in the van, really. We tried being scripted, but it doesn’t work for us. We mostly get as much music in there as possible, and we talk shit to each other between songs until Dan starts in with the drums and then we’re off again.

Melodic Mag: Tell us about the singles you released in the lead up to the new album.
Karen O’Connor:  We released three singles from the album; “Pull the String”, “Another Page”, and “Five Finger Disco”. “Pull the String” is on the heavy rock side, “Another Page” is very bluesy and chilled out for us. “Five-Finger Disco” is the funkiest song we’ve ever done. We try not to be formulated. The singles are like a sample platter. We did music videos for all three singles, and Five Finger Disco is my favorite right now. A nerdy rapper named Brian who I’ve been making t-shirts for for years did the video. I told him it was my turn to be his customer for a change, and it came out really cool. For those in the [Detroit] scene, there will be a bunch of familiar faces.

Melodic Mag: You’ve recently released your third album, Damn! That was Easy. Was it, in fact, easy?
Karen O’Connor: Very easy to write, not easy to put out. We were ready to release it in 2020, but there was no real way to release it except on the internet. We sell most of our records on the road, so we sat on it for a minute which worked out because we ended up getting label support from Argonauta Records. They took care of our vinyl, got us on some publications, and we ended up on some charts because of their efforts and connections. I’m glad we sat on it.

Melodic Mag: Did COVID have a big impact on this project in other ways?
Karen O’Connor: We had to cancel a Southwest US and Canadian tour. We didn’t see each other for a couple months at first. Some of us work in the food industry, and that’s risky. We met up outside during summer and practiced acoustic. It was actually good for us to have time to write and create while there weren’t any shows. We had to figure out how to record some things ourselves, which is a skill that we’re happy to have.

*Break to rescue Nick’s shoes from the surf*

Melodic Mag: Tell us about lyrical themes on the album.
Karen O’Connor: Sassy…Sarcasm…I don’t do much story writing. My songs will often be about multiple things. I go with what sticks with me and feels like it flows as opposed to what tells a story.

In a song on the album called “Follow Me”, the lyrics are just things that a woman yelled at me at a pub once. She thought I was her husband’s mistress. Weird situations like that stick with me. I just remember what people say. “Straight to My Head” is about quitting my job at the print shop I worked at before opening my own business. The boss’s perspective versus my perspective. So yeah.

Melodic Mag: You don’t see sarcasm in American music much. What do you think the audience will take away from your lyrical themes?
Karen O’Connor: Hopefully nightmares. That’s the kind of strong impact I’d like to have. I’d like to be the monster under every listener’s bed.

Melodic Mag: Are there any musical themes that follow from your previous albums or are unique to this one?
Karen O’Connor: Gordy’s signature solo. That’s his thing. He gets one Santana-esque solo per album. Dan has always used claves, marracas, and other percussion on our albums. But on this album, every track is beefed up with bongos. We were missing someone in the studio on a day that we were paying for the studio time, so we threw some bongos in there and they ended up complimenting everything really well. There’s more bongos on the album than actual drum set.

*Break to move for the tide coming in*

Melodic Mag: It’s weird to come from an inland state and be on the beach with the tide coming in like, Ah! No! Stay Back!
Karen O’Connor: Yeah, I always give it more space than I think people who live here do. I have family here and it’s not the time of year for it right now, but we like to come out here to see all the dead, gross jellyfish that wash up on on the beach after they mate and die.

Melodic Mag: Sounds like a good way to go.
Karen O’Connor: Purpose fulfilled.

Melodic Mag: What was the recording process for the album like?
Karen O’Connor: We went to Emilio Diaz at Tone Worx Studio in Michigan. He’s great; done all three of our albums. We were part way through this album when COVID happened, so we recorded a few things ourselves and then a few months later we went back in. He’d done a good job with COVID precautions. It took us a couple more months to finish the album, then we sat on it until it felt right to release.

Melodic Mag: What’s next for the Lucid Furs?
Karen O’Connor: We’ll do stuff closer to home over the winter and start writing again. That’s what we do, right? We release one, then it’s time to start the next one. Won’t take too long because we’ve already got a lot of stuff together while we were sitting on this album. Gonna try to reschedule the Canadian shows. Get a really nice angel investor to fly us around.

Melodic Mag: Where can our readers learn about your music and upcoming shows?
Karen O’Connor: We’ll be announcing tour dates for later winter, spring, and summer soon from our social media pages.

Melodic Mag: Is there anything else you’d like our readers to know?
Karen O’Connor: We’re coming to a venue near you. Grab your vinyl before it’s gone.

Keep up with the Lucid Furs:  Twitter // Instagram // Facebook // Website

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