The pop/folk songs of The Lighthouse and The Whaler first captivated us on their Pioneers EP, a trio of songs anchored by the beautiful “Venice” that had us waiting for more. Much more.
This Is An Adventure is the follow-up and the band’s first LP, and it’s everything we hoped it would be. It’s a collection that resonates with the listener far after the first listen, and it’s the reason that media outlets from KEXP to MTV singing their praises.
We recently took some time to discuss the new release with LoPresti and hear more about the band’s hopes, including the adventure alluded to in the title. He hopes you, as the listener, will come along.
SSv: After the succes of the EP, you finally have a full-length and I personally know several people who have been waiting for it. Does it feel good to have it ready and out there?
Michael LoPresti: I think there’s something special about a full album — 10 or whatever songs that people can dig into. They can listen from beginning to end, take portions of it and have that resonate with where they’re at in life. That’s cool and the EP can’t really do that. The EP is a teaser that’s not enough to really get enthralled within. Having a full-length, then, is really cool for us to give to friends and fans.
SSv: Not sure how to say all of this, so bear with me. With the album title referencing the adventure and then here you reference the journey of your listeners, it makes me curious about the perspective of the band. There’s a strong sense of the greater whole in your language on the album and even early in our conversation. Perhaps that more of a statement than a question and I realize that’s the most vague, open-ended…
Michael: [Laughs] That’s okay.
SSv: Let’s start with the title then. [Laughs]
Michael: When it came to the album and the title was forming, I didn’t want to be a cog in the machine. I wanted to do something that I felt mattered in life. A lot of where the title came from was trying to disconnect from what I considered personally to be the mundane in life and just seeking out different and exciting things that I could do with my life just in the every day.
The title ended up so grandiose and everyone we’ve spoken to place so much emphasis on the title, and I think that’s great. It is supposed to set the tone for the album and the journey we’re embarking on as we release this. That’s what we want to say. We’re always learning, growing and becoming better hopefully.
I never want people to listen to our music and grow from it and have something to take away from it. I want it to fuel their own adventure.
A lot of it has to do, too, with my faith and growing up going to church all of the time. It instilled in me that there’s something bigger out there and I want people to grab that in the music. Regardless of what you believe and what you think, that’s just an awesome thing about life — that there’s something worth going for and living every day for. I’m not here to push anything on anyone, but for me, that’s where it comes from.
SSv: Do you find your audience resonating with what you just said in the music?
Michael: People are dying for that, I think. The world is crazy and revolution is everywhere. On a grander scale, I think people want something more out of life. We get e-mails all of the time that our music will transform their mood — that they were feeling awful and then put on our music and it brought them to a new place.
I think that’s what music should do. I think it brings you to a better place, a different place. That’s what our music can do is to take people from where they are and they can use it as a tool to make their life better, however they want to do that. I wouldn’t be doing this unless that was possible.
SSv: It’s rare to find an artist who can speak or sing about their spirituality in a way that’s meaningful while it’s not difficult to find an artist who will speak about their spirituality in a way that’s trite or cheap or even like propaganda.
Michael: I want to be an artist. I want to create something that people can hold on to. But these things come from me, so I think those things will always pour out into the lyrics. I don’t want people to think, however, that they have to look at things from a spiritual perspective. I want to convey who I am and what I believe, but I want people to be able to breathe their own meaning in as well.
I never want to be a person who says, ‘This is the way that life should be.’ Life is a journey and I believe certain things, but it took me a while to that place. I had to work to get to where I am at now. I would never expect people to take what I say and think, ‘Okay, this is now fact because Michael said it.’ People have to get there themselves.
Hopefully our music can just be a part of the journey, wherever that is taking you.
SSv: You’ve had some great experiences with tour dates and festivals so far, so you’re not a rookie band by any stretch. But you are releasing the first full-length. How are you feeling at this point with the experience you have?
Michael: We’ve really put a lot of work into it so far. It’s been an insane couple of months getting ready for the release. We’re touring for a full month from the end of September through the end of October. I know there’s more touring planned after October, but I can’t say what that looks like yet.
I think it’s great because it will be the first time we have our record out in stores across the country. That’s good for our spirit to be a part of independent record stores and what they’re doing. We’re doing our second Daytrotter and second KEXP sessions. I can’t talk about other things in the works, but it’s all good. Lots of good things. [Laughs]
SSv: When you look at the theme of resonance as we discussed earlier, is there an artist or band that you look at and appreciate how they’ve walked things out with experience? Is there a trajectory you appreciate?
Michael: Yeah, Sufjan Stevens is an artist who I think has a great way of mixing faith and music in a positive way. People look at him as an artist first and they don’t judge him based on what he believes. I think that’s important. If you want someone to listen to what you have to say, you have to gain their respect first. I hope as a band that we can do that, and Sufjan is someone who has done that. He’s just a phenomenal songwriter and composer.
I personally love Local Natives. I love their songs. I think they have a trajectory as a band that’s really fabulous. They’re working on a new record and I’m excited about it. I’ve also been a fan of Vampire Weekend. There’s just something about them and I hope we can capture that someday. It’s that ‘it factor’, I guess you can say. It’s just a bass line and drum line and then the melody. It’s all simple stuff but the songs are so powerful.
Then of course Radiohead who are constantly evolving. That’s something that I hope is true of us, so we can hopefully follow suit with a long career. They never settle. They’re always fighting to make something really good. I hope people see that in our music.