Music can come from literally anywhere today. Beth Lucas shows us that AC/DC isn’t the only Australian act we’ll be talking about in 2015.
Tattoos and acoustic guitar are not always the first association one might make when matching styles and instruments. Likewise, mixing emo, punk, and a little pop might not be the key to success for everyone. Beth Lucas has found a way to mix all of these things together and found a bit of recognition and happiness. This Brisbane native is working on her third release and if we are lucky it will be out before the end of the year.
National Rock Review got a moment to ask her about her music, her life as a solo musician, and about one of her most amazing experiences. Let us know what you think and if you get a chance to see her live, we definitely want to hear your thoughts. Now, on to the main part of this feature.
NRR: Your bio states that you started you musical career in 2005. What got you interested in playing and how did you get into the acoustic emo/punk/pop sound?
Beth Lucas: I got into music through my older siblings when I was a kid but didn’t really get into writing or performing until I was in high school. 2005 was the year I started getting paid for shows, so that was the “start” of my musical career, as such. I listen to A LOT of pop punk so I feel very influenced by that genre, but I am more of an emotional performer, so I guess that’s where I created my sound of emo/pop punk, although I’m not entirely sure it’s actually a genre!
NRR: How goes the work on your third EP? If it’s not out yet, or even if it is, are there any details about it that you can share at this point?
Beth Lucas: It’s been in the works for a couple of years but I’m slowly getting it all together and will hopefully release something later this year. I am working with a guy who is recording all the songs with a full band, but I will also release it acoustically as well.
NRR: How is the Brisbane music scene for your genre? Is there room for your career to grow even more there or has the goal to become well known outside of the Aussie borders always been the objective from the beginning?
The Ghost Inside – White Light (acoustic)
Beth Lucas: There is definitely a healthy alternative music scene here in Brisbane and across Australia. I have been fortunate enough to jump on some pretty big shows in Brisbane already, so the goal for me now (after the release of the EP) is to tour nationally, and then hopefully start looking at touring overseas, particularly in the States.
NRR: Hawthorne Heights and Red Jumpsuit Apparatus’ 2014 Australian Tour had you as its opening act in Brisbane. What kind of experience was that for you?
Beth Lucas: That show was EPIC! It was a really big deal for me, being a fan of both bands for a really long time, so getting the opportunity to open for not one, but both bands was massive for me. The show sold out, which made the atmosphere even crazier than normal, and I played half my set acoustic, half with a full band, so that was a really cool experience and it was also great to be able to showcase different elements of my music, especially for some friends and fans who had never seen me with a full band before.
NRR: Have you always been a solo artist? If so, is it a conscious decision or is more of just not having found a good spot to be in a band with other musicians?
Beth Lucas: In the beginning, definitely and I still, mostly, perform solo, but over the last five years or so, I’ve been writing and performing with my husband, Elliot, who is much better at guitar than I am. I still perform under the solo flag, but Elliot often joins me on stage and takes over on guitar for a few songs where I can really focus on singing and songs that I literally cannot play. It’s only been in the last year that I’ve really started getting a band together, the biggest issue being able to organize everyone at the same time.
NRR: How does a normal writing session go for you? Is it methodical or is there really no rhyme or reason to how a song is written by you?
Beth Lucas: Each song is different. Sometimes, I’ll be sitting on the bus going home from work. A topic will just pop into my head, and I’ll start writing lyrics, but then the music might not come straight away… Or sometimes, I’ll just be jamming a chord progression on the weekend and then I’ll think about a melody and putting lyrics to that. A lot of the time, it’s a bit slow to start but then once I get a rhythm, everything flows out at once.
NRR: Who have been some of your influences that have had a direct effect on your style and why?
Beth Lucas: When I very first started writing, I was really into Missy Higgins, Avril Lavigne, The Veronicas (really strong female vocalists) but as time went on and I started listening to heavier music, I was really inspired by bands from the East Coast Pop Punk music scene – bands like With The Punches, Man Overboard, Major League, A Loss For Words. I don’t really know if the general public can hear any kind of musical influence of those bands in my songs but I am definitely inspired by all them, and the community that is so evident in that particular music scene.
NRR: Is there a band, that if their manager called you up and offered an opening spot for an extensive US tour, you’d drop everything and head out for, and if so who?
Beth Lucas: There are probably two bands on my dream tour list and I wouldn’t be able to decide between the two, so let’s just say it’s a co-headline, yeah? The Used and Paramore are my ultimates. From a vocal perspective, Bert McCracken & Hayley Williams are gods for me!
NRR: If there was one bit of advice you could give to aspiring solo artists, what would it be?
Beth Lucas: Fine tune your live performance. There is nothing better than jumping off stage and having someone say to you that you exceeded their expectations live… It is one thing to be an artist who sounds great on record, but if you can’t translate that into your live performance, then it’s all for nothing.
NRR: What is the one major difference between playing in Australia versus playing anywhere else in the world? Or, with the globalization of social media, is there really much difference anymore?
Beth Lucas: Australia is really spread out and we only have a handful of capital cities so I think it’s a lot more expensive to tour here because the distances to travel are greater. My understanding is that in the States, or UK, everything is geographically closer so you could essentially have two or three shows in the same city, and they would do as well as each other.
NRR: You’ve played all over the world. Has there been any moments that have been surreal, simply too funny or ironic, or maybe even a tad bit embarrassing that you will simply not forget and would be willing to share? A Spinal Tap moment if you will.
Beth Lucas: For sure. The first major US holiday we took, Elliot and I were in OC hanging with friends and were attending a local show that The Ghost Inside were playing and they asked if I wanted to play my cover of White Light at that show… A bit of background – I uploaded an acoustic cover of the song about a month earlier and the band had seen it and loved it, and we managed to connect through it and then the show happened. It was the first time that the band had ever had the song in their live set, so being able to perform that in front of the band, their home crowd and some of my friends was the most incredible experience I’ve ever had. I mean, it was in the middle of a hardcore show and some chick from across the world jumped up on stage to play an acoustic song – it was crazy!!
NRR: Are there any bands that you would go to see live even if you weren’t playing on the bill, and if so who?
Beth Lucas: Yeah, I’ve already got tickets to this show actually… Circa Survive & PVRIS are coming out here in September so I’m keen to catch both of those bands. It’s at a real random venue here though, so I haven’t decided if I’m going to submit for local support yet.
NRR: Is there anything I might have missed that you’d like perspective U.S. fans to know about?
Beth Lucas: I think you’ve covered pretty much everything… Keep up to date via all my social media channels and hopefully I’ll make that US tour happen real soon!!
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