With their new EP Skyline earning them a flurry of positive reviews, The Ludlow Thieves have plenty to smile about at the moment. With an album close to completion and a number of tour dates lined up, the band happily took part in this exclusive interview with our staff writer Rebecca to talk ambitions, influences, and dream show lineups.
PW: Who were your musical inspirations growing up, and was playing music something that came easily to you or did you have to work at it?
Dan Teicher: When I was growing up, my parents played oldies, country, and classical in the car. I had no vote on the radio stations, but that was usually fine by me until talk radio came on. I would hear Motown, then Randy Travis, then Beethoven. But around 4th or 5th grade, I discovered Nirvana, Pearl Jam, and Soundgarden. That was the start of my music obsession. Playing music was always fun, but I like working to be better; as I became more obsessive about the guitar, I would practice for hours and hours. When I started studying classical music, I was a real fish out of water, but I liked learning about it.
PW: Have those influences and inspirations changed much over the years?
DT: At this point, I think that like a lot of people, I listen to everything. I think the best part of the streaming culture is that listeners can digest everything equally. All of my friends and I have Jay Z next to Mozart next to Zeppelin on playlists, and it has created a really great space to be creative. I like that certain songs of ours lean towards rock, others toward country, others toward classical. On our upcoming album, I think you will hear an even wider set of influences.
PW: What would you say makes you unique when compared to many other bands and artists today?
DT: I think our live show conveys genuine joy. Even though we have all the influences listed above, we consider ourselves a rock band at a time when rock is not very mainstream, but in a live atmosphere, nothing can bring you to church like a rock show. We have such a great time playing together, feeding off the audience's reactions, and I think the audience can see and hear how happy we are to be in that environment with them.
PW: Who would you most say you sound like?
DT: Fleetwood Mac, Led Zeppelin, The Faces, Arcade Fire, Ryan Adams, Wilco, My Morning Jacket.
PW: Danny, what inspired you to really get involved with music?
Danny Musengo: I have always been singing. My mom brought me to church in Iowa to sing when I was 4. And I haven't stopped singing since then!
PW: Dan, how does and has your Masters's degree in classical music composition influenced and helped with what you and the band create?
DT: I think it just gives me a whole different set of tools for sculpting arrangements and productions for the band. I can reference different types of music and pieces than just our direct influences, and I think that can bring in more unique sounds. It also helps me to write parts and think about them through a different lens, but most importantly, I hear things differently and more thoroughly as a result of the classical training. Most of the instrumentalists in the band are classically trained so we can use that language to talk about how to approach the music.
PW: How do you think your music has evolved in terms of its creation and performance since you started out? Has songwriting, for instance, gotten easier, or does it often depend on the subject matter?
DT: Songwriting has always been the most fun part, but I think we have a much more developed sense of what our sound is now. We know what the sound of this band is and what we have to capture in the studio based on our live performance.
PW: Your video for "Almost," taken from your newest EP Skyline has been commented on and shared by the likes of Britney Spears. Did you ever imagine that wanting to tell a love story in the way that you have would receive so much attention?
DT: Not at all! We knew that it moved us, as a band, but we never could have imagined it getting to Britney Spears and moving her!
PW: Dan, what did your grandparents think of the video?
DT: They absolutely love it. I showed it to them as I was working on it, and they always cry. They are eating up all the attention it has gotten, and it has made me so happy to see how moved my grandma in particular has been by the way their love has resonated with strangers.
PW: Skyline came out last month and is undoubtedly your best work to date, but from all your material, could you pick a favorite track?
DT: I think for Danny, his favorite track is "Sing Me Back” which is coming out soon on our next EP. My favorite is probably “To Travel."
PW: How has social media impacted the amount of attention you have received since you started out?
DT: Social media is a very important part of the music world now, and it hasn't always worked in our favor. I think that a lot of folks in the band are humble and don't really like posting about all of their moves and shakes. There is a fine balance between sharing with your fans and being uncomfortable with how much you share. I think we are still navigating it and figuring out where our comfort level is.
PW: Would you agree that to get ahead, or get a foot in the door of this industry, bands and artists today need to be socially interactive?
DT: Absolutely, and we are reminded of it constantly.
PW: What are your touring/performance plans as of the moment?
DT: Right now, we are going to do a few more big shows in NYC, then play Live Nation's Voodoo Fest in New Orleans in October. After that, we are hoping to do a short tour and coast through LA around the time our full-length album comes out.
PW: Are you hoping to get across and around Europe in the near future?
DT: Absolutely! We have actually gotten a lot of messages from folks in the UK, and we would LOVE to get there to play. We have to save up for the trip, though!
PW: If you could play any venue in the world with any other three bands or artists, living or dead, where and who would they be and why?
DT: Yikes. Big Question. I think most of the band could agree that playing Madison Square Garden with Led Zeppelin would be amazing. But those last two spots on the bill would be tough to agree on. We are a six-person band with a deep list of musical influences.
PW: Can fans expect a full-length album from you at some point? Is that something you're working towards?
DT: Absolutely! It is almost done now!
PW: Finally then, where do you go from here? What's next?
DT: Right now, we are looking for the right partnerships. We don't have a manager, label or agent. We feel pretty good about what we have been able to accomplish on our own, but I think with the right team, we could really achieve our goals. Hopefully, we can put that together soon to ride on the momentum!