Lake Street Dive reflects on development before upcoming show

Laura Rostad, Staff Reporter

Lake Street Dive and Lucius will play at 8 p.m. Wednesday at Tipitina’s.

Led by rich and powerful vocals of Rachael Price, Lake Street Dive is a refreshingly original fusion of jazz, rock and soul-pop. Rounding out the quartet is upright bassist Bridget Kearney, drummer Mike Calabrese, and trumpet player and guitarist Mike “McDuck” Olson.

Lake Street Dive independently released two albums before signing with Signature Records to produce its self-titled debut album in 2011. “Fun Machine,” an EP comprised of covers along with an original song, shortly followed. This past February, the group released its newest album, “Bad Self Portrait.”

Since its breakthrough performance last September at New York City Town Hall, Lake Street Dive has swept like wildfire. Not only has the band been on tours, playing shows and festivals all over the country, but it has also appeared on shows such as “Conan,” “Ellen” and “The Colbert Report.”

“It’s been a really important year in the band’s development. This past year has marked the transition from just existing and getting by as a touring band to this particular career,” Olson said. “We have so many more fans that we’re reaching at shows, we’re playing in larger rooms [and] we’re traveling with people that make our lives easier. Not only has it been significant musically, we’ve been involved in some cool projects, but personally we’ve experienced a level of success that we had never had before.”

The group has spent more than a decade playing music together. All of the musicians met while studying jazz at the New England Conservatory in Boston. The band formed out of musical and social reasons, Olson said.

“Musically, they were all standouts. From hearing them in rehearsals and classrooms and jam sessions, I can recall thinking that they were all great players,” Olson said. “The social side came over time, realizing that not only were they fun to play with, but also fun to hang out with. That realization is really significant when you’re choosing the people you surround yourself [with] for a long period of time, especially intense hanging like touring.”

The band’s formative years were not only shaped by its time spent at the conservatory, but also by its involvement in the Boston music scene.

“There was and still is a really cool community in the Boston music scene,” Olson said. “The folks that we played with tended to be acoustic music, folk music, bluegrass music. If they like your music, they’ll ask you to open for them, even if it doesn’t pay anything: ‘This is just for fun, let’s just hang, I want your music to get out.’ We really owe a sense of gratitude to that.”

After a year packed with shows all around the country, Olson noted one of his favorite moments from the tour was playing in Colorado.

“We played Red Rocks on the tour, which was a real bucket list moment for us,” Olson said. “It’s one of the most gorgeous places to play a show. It’s super badass.”

When it comes down to making music, all of the band members are involved in the creative process.

“This initial kernel of inspiration for a song tends to be from an individual,” Olson said. “The collaboration starts once those initial sparks are developed a little more.”

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