Interview: The Lumineers discuss inspiration, 4.5million YouTube hits and touring with The Civil Wars – Mancunian Matters

In Interviews on November 4, 2012 at 4:36 pm

The Lumineers lead singer and guitarist Wesley Schultz chats to Mancunian Matters about their upcoming gig in Manchester, their recent success and the prospect of touring alongside The Civil Wars.

Folk rock trio The Lumineers are neatly comprised of Wesley, along with Jeremiah Fraites on drums, percussion, mandolin and vocals, and Neyla Pekarek on cello, mandolin, piano, and vocals.

But The Lumineers’ story didn’t come so easily as naming the trio suggests.

In 2002, Jeremiah’s brother, Josh, tragically died from a drug overdose at the age of 19. Amidst the loss and grief, Wes and Jeremiah found solace in music.

They ditched what they saw as the ‘cutthroat’ music scene and extortionate living costs of New York, packed up their lives and headed for Denver, Colorado where they found Pekarek on Craigslist.

According to their website biography, the band was ‘born out of sorrow, powered by passion, and ripened by hard work, The Lumineers have found their sound when the world needs it most’.

How do you feel about touring with the Civil Wars?

Excited… they wouldn’t have us in a lot of these rooms without a band of their stature. And looking forward to getting to know them.

You have almost 4.5 million YouTube hits – and counting – for your single Ho Hey, how does that make you feel?

It’s a tough thing to wrap your head around… I remember around Christmas a year and half ago, my brother said, hey that house show video of you guys playing ‘Ho Hey’ has 3,000 hits and I didn’t believe him. So this is quite a jump.

How are you dealing with your fame and success?

I don’t know about fame. I keep to myself mostly. I’m an introvert who happens to be a musician and I’ve learned how to be more open live. As far as success, I feel pretty good about it. It’s a good thing to essentially fail for a number of years, in our case about eight years, and have it turn out all right in the end.

What are you most looking forward to doing in Manchester?

Looking forward to playing to the folks over there… I lived and studied for a semester at Goldsmith’s in New Cross and got to play a few shows as a solo artist in the coffee shops there in Southeast London, but I’m looking forward to doing a gig with a full band in a foreign country.

What does your tour hold in store for Mancunians?

You’ll have to wait and see.

Who are your musical inspirations and muses?

I am most influenced by a few albums that were force fed to me growing up on long car rides with my father driving… Talking Heads – Sand In The Vaseline, Bruce Springsteen – Born In The USA, The Cars – Greatest Hits, Leonard Cohen – The Future.

You have very powerful lyrics. What’s your usual song writing process? Do you write alongside your instruments? Do you keep a notepad on you when you sleep for those 4am lightning bolts of inspiration?

You have kind words. The song process is sort of like a musical game of hangman. I try to develop a melody and then fill in those syllabic blank spots with words that resonate with me. For me, the melody always sets the table for the lyrics.

What’s next for The Lumineers?

What’s next? A whole lot of touring. And hopefully writing while doing so.

The Lumineers will be supporting The Civil Wars on their tour and will be playing at the O2 Apollo in Manchester on Tuesday October 30 from 7:00 pm.

The Lumineers


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