First of all, how does it feel knowing Lucy Gray turns 10 this year?
Brian: It's pretty wild. We were little kids when this record came out!
Ryan: It definitely doesn't feel like 10 years ago. That's a trip.
How did you feel when the album came out?
B: Very proud. Maybe a bit scared. It was a big moment in all of our lives.
R: Very accomplished as it was not an easy one to make. I remember being at Bamboozle and seeing our faces plastered everywhere and watching a plane with an ad for our record fly over head. It was like "oh wow this is very real." It was cool to see the label get behind it like that.
Where do you think the album fits in the band's legacy?
B: I think it's a great first impression. It showcased our ambition, and also our naivité. It was our first attempt at a collaborative effort and I think those growing pains are evident. It adds a bit of charm after all these years.
R: I don't actually think I listened to the record after it came out other than having to shoot music videos for it or whatever. I know it means a lot to a lot of people, but being so inside it and having it be a snapshot of that point in life where I was just figuring myself out...it's a different experience for me. But revisiting it to do the reincarnation shows had me listening in a different mindset and I was able to appreciate what we did a lot more.
How did the band approach writing?
B: With the exception of "Lapse", Ryan would bring a skeleton of a song or a riff idea to the table and we would jam on it until something sounded like it made sense. We were using a house upstate that a friend was kind enough to let us use during the process.
R: I'd use the term "jam" loosely. I think that's how we WANTED the record to be written since we'd befriended bands like Circa Survive who told us their process and we were like "oh wow that sounds cool." But it was difficult for us. Dan was a very technical player, so before a song could become a song, he needed to be able to map out everything he was going to do. That was tough because he'd take a day or two alone to do that. And then Jer was a more feel oriented player, but he was forced to find his place in whatever Dan laid down. Sal was often elaborating on whatever guitar/key idea I brought to the table and then focusing on harmonies. And as in the case with everything we've ever done, Brian's parts were his domain. I'd bring a starter to the table and he'd do his thing on it.
What inspired the lyrics?
B: Since we were still so young at the time, a lot of it was drawn from our limited experiences growing up in suburban Long Island.
R: I was fresh out of Catholic school and definitely had a lot of questions. I also had a lot that I thought I'd had all figured out. Those are the parts of the record that make me cringe.
Do any of the themes touched on the album still hold relevant for you after 10 years?
B: To be honest, that record sounds like growing pains to me. Its a bit difficult to listen to in the sense that it was so specific to that time and place in my young adult life. It's the same as looking at a picture you drew in 5th grade and asking if you still saw things the same way. It was very of it's time.
R: Not particularly. Maybe there's a few core emotional bits and pieces in there that still hold true to day, but they definitely take form in a very different way these days.
What were your hopes and expectations for Lucy Gray during the writing and recording process?
B: For me personally, I wanted to make music that defined our place in the burgeoning Long Island music scene. I think we were well respected as musicians but we had yet to prove we could write songs that showcased our abilities, which was a bit of a theme in the studio.
R: We just wanted to do our own thing and make something that was 100% ours. All our favorite bands at the time were one's that cultivated their own sound and path. We had no interest in continuing a legacy that was already there or being part of any particular scene or thing. I guess for all the growing pains we hear when listening to that, we could stand to pat ourselves on the back for that part of it.
When you were in the studio, how was the morale of the band?
B: It was up and down. There was a lot of trial and error. Again, growing pains.
R: It's really weird because I know that record was a struggle to write. There was a lot of drama and battling in just making that aforementioned process work. At the same time, all my memories of how I felt at that time are beautiful. It was a really special time in our lives to be cooped up in a house making music for two months. Regardless of how stressful it got, I don't think we ever lost perspective on that.
When was the last time you listened to the record? Are there memories and emotions that come back?
B: It was when Ryan and I were gearing up for our 'reincarnation' shows in the summer of 2016. There were definitely feelings that came back but I think I was looking at them through a different lens.
R: Definitely a different lens. I think the biggest shock over the last 7 years of us being inactive has been coming to realize what the record means to people. So listening to it and rehearsing was just me trying to center myself in that feeling.
What do you remember most about making the album?
B: The writing process. It was a very special and trying time in my life.
R: I remember the coffee that I made everyone drink, which was essentially tar or mud. No one was sleeping. I remember Brian writing the first verse of Lapse and bringing it to me and me saying "this is great, keep going" and him coming back 15 minutes later with the second verse and then again saying, "you should do another verse". I think I may have been working on "if god smokes cheap cigars" in the kitchen. He just kept coming back in the room and showing me more until the song was done. I remember that vividly.
Were there any bands in particular you enjoyed playing with while touring for the record?
B: Middle Class Rut, Saosin, The Receiving End Of Sirens.
R: Everything Bri said.
What sort of place was your life in when the album came out?
B: I was starting a new relationship. All of my friends and family were 100% behind us and it was very exciting. It was one of my fondest memories.
R: I was ruled by my emotions. All my decisions were made according to that, which is very dangerous. It makes for some very productive times but also tumultuous ones for everyone around you. I think everyone can attest to that.
Did you ever expect the album to have the influence it did?
B: I can't speak much to it's influence, but I'm glad people still dig the songs after so much time.
R: I didn't. Playing those songs this past year and watching the reaction was something I'll never forget.
Do you remember what you were listening to at the time?
B: I was in the midst of discovering electronic music so probably a lot of Telefon Tel Aviv's "Farenheit Fair Enough".
R: I was in a weird place. I don't think I had really discovered what was my core record collection yet. I was sort of in between waves. I had one of those first generation ipods and it had the Cardigans, At the Drive in, The Blood Brothers, and a lot of our peers' music on it.
Looking back on things 10 years later, would you change anything about the release?
B: Everything is 20/20 in hindsight but I'd have to say no. That record defined such a specific moment in time for me and I think for better or for worse, we did it the only way we knew how.
R: Agreed. Without experiencing the hurdles of that record, we'd have never gotten to Lowcountry.