Meet Kid Lucifer! A truly dedicated and super talented psychedelic garage band originally hailing from Vancouver but now settled in Montreal, this passionate foursome is currently in the midst of a 5-week tour in the US. I talked to Quinn the drummer the day before their tour started last week. I’m inspired by their energy and their eager and self-made approach to creating music they love and using their own know-how and skills in classic DIY punk fashion to share their musical journey and art with the world. Through their sound I’m newly turned on to the resurgence in psychedelic garage rock bands over the last little while like them out there. Go check these fellows out live on their tour if you can, they are probably playing in a town very soon near you!!!
Tell me about your band. When and how did Kid Lucifer form?
We formed back in December 2015 and it was originally a trio, it was me and our bass player, Sam, the two of us grew up together, we met in first grade and knew each other basically our whole lives, and we ended up meeting our singer, Henry, at a concert with a band called Pity Sex, who aren’t around anymore. We were at this show together in the mosh pit and we met him and were hanging out with him that night. A couple of days later we asked if he played any instruments and we jammed once and immediately there was a really good connection and we played off each other really well and it was kind of magical right as soon as we started playing. And then Linus, our lead guitarist, who is actually Henry’s cousin, we went up to his home town to play a show and then they ended up moving in together, then he joined the band. Then in August of 2017 was when we decided to move over to Montreal, so we toured over across Canada and all moved in together, got a place with a jam space and that’s when we really started hitting it hard trying to push doing music as much as we can.
Why did you decide to move to Montreal?
We kind of felt we couldn’t reach our full potential in Vancouver, and it is much easier to live here, it’s cheaper to live, there’s more of an art scene and a bigger community of musicians, lots more venues and just a better place to work on your art, and then there is just so much happening here. We wanted somewhere where we could get better, a place where we could be working as hard as we can, and just comfortably live here and afford paying rent.
Had you been here before, or you just knew?
About a year before we moved I visited while I was traveling and just came down and went to Osheaga festival and got a taste for the city and just from that just fell in love with it. Originally, we were thinking Toronto, that was the idea for a while, but after coming here and I saw the city I was pretty sold on Montreal, we got the idea from there and ran with it.
Tell me about the tour you are embarking on? Did you organize this yourselves? Do you have a manager?
We worked with a friend, Sarah Armiento, she’s a pretty prolific booker here, she used to run an old underground venue in St-Henri called The Bog. A really cool venue, it’s literally underground, like in the basement of an apartment building and they used to do a lot of shows there and we were kind of part of that scene when we first moved. So we met her when she was running that venue, she’s actually running the Diving Bell Social Club, the new venue and art space up on St-Laurent street, so we met her through that and she works on doing press and PR for bands for a long time. So she helped us book it, splitting the workload 50/50 between us, her finding a lot of the venues and promoters and us finding bands to play with. I booked some of the shows too, myself.
Does that venue still exist, The Bog?
It does, I actually just played a show there, on Friday with my other band, The Fuzzy Undertones. But since a lot of people have moved on, they kind of do it sporadically throughout the summer, they do a show every once in a while. But it’s not like it was, a very consistent community, a big scene there.
And just a sidetrack – what’s this other band you are in?
The Fuzzy Undertones, they’ve been around Montreal for many years. The main songwriter is our friend Fraser Wayne Parkes, he’s kind of the principal songwriter, he writes most of the meat. I think every musician in Montreal has played with him at one time or another. I think he’s had like 30 different people playing in the band just over the period of time that they’ve been playing. The drummer and guitarist he used to have were working on other projects so he got our lead singer to play guitar and brought me in on drums, working with them doing a couple of shows, then after the tour this summer we will be doing some festivals with them and doing a lot more in that band.
So going back to Kid Lucifer, what releases do you have out?
In June we put out “Nothin’ But Bangers”, that was our first full length record. We also had a single before that, which was originally an EP that we weren’t satisfied with so we ended up putting out our best single, the song that we thought best represented our sound – A song called “My Girl”. We put out the record after that, and recently put out two songs, “She Loves Me” and “Serrated Knife” – which is our most recent output that was all self-recorded at our old apartment. Those two were a couple of songs we had in the works for quite a while and we wanted to have something new that wasn’t as daunting as having a full album in front to of you, so we chose the best two that represented both ends of our sound. “She Loves Me” is more of up tempo garage rock, fast paced and really energetic, while “Serrated Knife” is a counterpoint to that, that has a lot of texture and slower and sort of builds out. We are really influenced by both garage rock and a lot of psychedelic rock, so we wanted to show both ends of our sound with that.
I love both those songs, but especially “Serrated Knife” has this atmospheric mellowness…
Thank you. We have another song that we are working on, and we are going to be mixing it while we are on the road, and trying to put it out while on the road called “Self-Made Man”, and it’s another more slow, psychedelic song, in the vain of “Serrated Knife”. Not sure of a release date, it will probably be mid to end of May.
How did you guys come up with your trippy, psychedelic sound? Can you talk about equipment, effects, influences?
I think a lot of our sound comes from what we are listening to. We are really into to Kikagaku Moyo, they’re a good example, that’s one of our favorite bands on the psychedelic end, a lot of 60s stuff as well. We really like Sugar Candy Mountain, a band we didn’t know and we ended up opening for them when they came here. They stayed at our apartment and got to crash with us and they actually gave us a record in exchange for them crashing on our couch, and we were listening to that constantly, that was a huge influence, being a bit more flow-y and down, all nonstop really heavy intense garage rock, to being like no we could sort of write more detail, sort of slow burning textured psychedelic stuff and still sound like us. Does that make sense?
And Henry, our singer and rhythm guitar player, he’s really into experimenting with pedals, and him and Linus come from very different influences, Linus is more a classic rock guy, more into Rolling Stones, Jimi Hendrix and The Doors, whereas Henry is into the same era but more obscure rock, punk, and psychedelic, so the mix between them together makes a unique sound that is very us and doesn’t sound like a lot of stuff out there.
How long have you been playing music?
As a band as I said it’s been since around middle of 2015 was when we started playing. Seriously when we really started going for it and playing live consistently and owning our skills and really developing was when we moved here in August of 2017. But I’ve been playing music, I taught myself drums, 9 years ago now is when I started. But we’ve all played different instruments, Henry plays drums as well he kinda picked up, I used to play bass. We’ve kind of grown up always playing guitar and different instruments, it’s always been something that’s been around. But this is the first time it’s been a very defined and serious band. For all of us it’s like our first real main band, so It’s cool that it’s been this successful so far.
Are you on a label, or you put your releases out yourselves?
We are very into the idea of doing it DIY, we’ve had the option to, but we figure especially since moving to Montreal and thanks to the wonders of the internet we’ve been able to teach ourselves pretty much everything we need to know, like creating merch, recording our music, promoting ourselves on social media and booking shows and tours and all that. We feel pretty confident in doing it ourselves, so we don’t necessarily need it. We keep everything in house. Henry is also a graphic designer, he does all of our artwork as well. We prefer to keep everything self-contained.
So what format do you put your stuff out on, CD? Vinyl?
We’ve done CDs, we also did a cassette run, a short run that we are selling on our tour. We are hoping vinyl will be something probably for the future.
Are your songs mostly originals? Any covers?
We actually never really did covers. We did some at the venue The Bog that our booking agent runs, we did an 80’s cover night, that was about the extent of it. When we first started playing together when it was just Henry, Sam and I, the very first time we played we didn’t do any covers, we right away just played. Henry played 3 chords and we liked the sound of it and wrote a song and it was the first thing we ever did. We always just played original stuff. A lot of times when we practice it’s sort of open jazz, someone will start playing something, everyone will start playing along. We’ve been playing together so long we can read each other pretty well, and kind of understand where the other person is going, and we play until it starts to mold into a full song.
You guys are about ready to go on tour, are you guys excited? I guess it’s a lot of work, right?
Yeah it’s been the culmination of a lot of work and a lot of skipping out on going out. Working really hard on doing everything, and there is so much that goes into it, but it really shows me how you can , if you really set your mind to it and work really hard you don’t need to rely on other people to do something like that, it’s pretty amazing. Yeah, it’s a very exciting time, we’ve never done anything quite this ambitious before. Before that was when we moved from Vancouver to Montreal, that was 5 shows over 8 days that we traveled there. Just thinking about the amount of crazy stories and stuff that happened in just 8 days compared to this run which is 5 weeks and 25 shows. It’s kind of mind blowing to think of all the stuff that’s about to happen. We are very very excited!