5 questions: Huntington's John Lancaster is all about creating something he's proud of
WANT TO GO?
John Lancaster, DeadFaceDown and Tomorrow Burns
WHERE: The Blue Parrot, 14 Capitol St.
WHEN: 10 p.m. Saturday
INFO: 304-342-2583 or www.johnlancaster.com
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- After years spent fronting and playing guitar in area bands Guru Lovechild, Earth to Eros and Chum, Huntington's John Lancaster put out his solo debut, "Phantom Moon," in 2010. He enlisted the help of guitarist Mac Walker, bassist Barry Smith and drummer Josh Adkins to take the studio project on the road, and now he and the band are working on an EP due out later this year.
The band brings the new material to its first show at The Blue Parrot on Saturday. In the meantime, the gazz caught up with Lancaster to see what's up with the band and the music.
Q: Chum reunited for a few shows in October. How did those go?
A: "It was a blast! I've known and played music with Chris [Tackett] and Mac [Walker] for so long that it felt very natural and things fell right back into place from where we had left off. Some of the earliest music that we made together as Chum was written 18 or 19 years ago, and the songs that we revisited at those shows were still a lot of fun to play. Rehearsing with those guys, laughing and reminiscing, Jude [Blevins] coming in and nailing the drum parts in a ridiculously short amount of time, seeing a ton of old friends -- we really couldn't have asked for anything more.
Q: "Phantom Moon" is a collaborative studio project with lots of guest musicians recorded over the Internet and in person. How satisfying was it to pull that together?
A: "Without a doubt, the Internet made a lot of those contributions possible, but the whole thing was still quite an undertaking in terms of coordinating everything. Not to mention the task of recording and mixing five different drummers! In the end, though, it was very satisfying to be able to finally pull it off and to have had some of my favorite musicians, both local and nonlocal, take part in it."
Q: Have you settled into playing the songs live with a band?
A: "It was, honestly, a bit tricky in the beginning because, even after the record was recorded and released, none of those songs had been played live. Everything had been conceived during the writing, demoing and recording phases. Some of the songs were a bit difficult to recreate live, at first, but things are feeling pretty comfortable these days. Barry, Mac and Josh have been awesome and we have a lot of fun playing together."
Q: Will the new EP have more guest appearances or have a more experimental bent?
A: "So far, the approach has been different [from 'Phantom Moon'], in that we are rehearsing the ideas as a band and will be playing some of the songs at a couple of live shows this month before they are recorded. I know that's far from an unconventional approach, but with 'Phantom Moon,' it was pretty much like, 'Here's the song. Learn these songs on your own, and come in and lay your parts down.'
"But since assembling the live lineup and playing together and getting tighter as a unit for the past year and a half, it was a no-brainer to rehearse these ideas as a band before beginning the recording process, so that's what we've been doing for the past month or so."
Q: After being a part of bands, what's it like being able to steer your own ship, musically?
A: "It really doesn't matter to me whether I'm in a collaborative project or if I'm 'steering the ship' with the solo stuff. At the end of the day, it's all about the music and creating something that you are proud of."