Photo by DUSTIN CONDREN
BY DYLAN LONG You probably haven’t heard of indie rocker Lucy Dacus just yet, but that will soon change. With the release New Burden, her Matador debut LP, she is well on her way to becoming one of the most talked about singer-songwriters of 2016. The girl knows what she’s doing, plain and simple. Her entire debut album was recorded in under 48 hours, her voice kicks major ass, and her lyricism is nothing short of truthful and direct. She’s already notched a #4 spot on Time Magazine’s “Best New Albums of 2016 So Far” list and just embarked on a coast to coast U.S. tour that stops at Johnnty Brenda’s tomorrow night. Last week,, Lucy was kind enough to take a call from us and discuss literature, being Feist from Broken Social Scene for a day and discovering her identity.
PHAWKER: Hey Lucy, how’s it goin’?
LUCY DACUS: Great!
PHAWKER: So I’m gonna dive right in here if that’s cool with you. I wanted to know what the inspiration was behind the first single from your new album, “I Don’t Wanna Be Funny Anymore.”
LUCY DACUS: Okay! Yeah, that song’s like, three minutes long and it took like three minutes to write, but probably about four years of thinking went into it. It’s about trying to express how I felt when I was a kid trying to figure out what my identity was and having so many people tell me what I was, whether it was the funny one or the smart one or the tall one, even. All these things that you don’t even know if you want them to define you until people are already defining you by it. So I think the song is pretty direct in saying I don’t want to be pigeonholed into one identity and be expected to maintain that for everyone else.
LUCY DACUS: Yeah! And like, not letting having people have a part in defining who you are.
PHAWKER: What was the last album that you bought that blew your mind?
LUCY DACUS: Oh my gosh! Um, okay. I have a couple answers, but it’s probably Masterpiece by Big Thief. That’s the last one I bought, the new Car Seat Headrest album came out yesterday, I haven’t gotten my copy yet but that’s another one that’s really amazing. But this year, the number one record that has stolen my heart is Masterpiece by Big Thief. I don’t know if you’ve listened to it but you absolutely need to.
PHAWKER: I’ll definitely have to hop on that after this! Now let’s talk books, what is your favorite book and why?
LUCY DACUS: That’s so hard. Favorite book? Gosh, um, I think at least one of my favorite books is House of Leaves by Mark Danielewski, because it doesn’t even feel like a book when you’re reading it. It feels like a word sculpture! I don’t know if you’ve ever heard about this book, but if you ever see it, pick it up and flip through the pages. The formatting is really bizarre, it’s got David Foster Wallace-style footnotes, like a huge section of footnotes. It’s really complex and it’s pretty much the only scary book I’ve ever read. I’m also really into the Fitzgerald sort of writing style, and I really like Edna St. Vincent Millay who’s a poet. But House of Leaves is just really whack and unconventional and cool.
PHAWKER: If you could go back in time and be in any band, what band would you pick? Who in the band would you be?
LUCY DACUS: I think I would probably be Feist in Broken Social Scene. It’s funny cause those are still existing people still. I’ve always really loved Broken Social Scene and that was some of the first music I found on my own, independently of family or friends. I kinda devoured their discography; they make so much music and everything they make is something that I like. They don’t have just one style and there’s so many creative forces in that band, it would be crazy to be apart of that. Like, in my band, I write all the songs, period. And that’s cool! But I wonder what it would be like to be in such a collaborative setting.
PHAWKER: This last question may spark a fire in you, it may not, but here we go: Bernie or Hillary?
LUCY DACUS: Bernie. For sure.
PHAWKER: Simple as that?
LUCY DACUS: For sure. Is that all of your questions? That was a speed interview.
PHAWKER: Well I could definitely ask you how it felt getting onto that Best Albums of 2016 So Far list for Time Magazine. You notched like a #4 spot, right behind Beyoncé and Kendrick Lamar.
LUCY DACUS: Well I was alone when I found out and I found out from a stranger on Twitter who had tagged me, and I thought “Uhh, this can’t be real.” So I looked it up thinking, “is this THE Time Magazine and not some blog? Is this one of my friends writing a blog post about me?. But it’s just really weird, it was one of those things where people that aren’t really involved in music and don’t read Stereogum or Pitchfork, but they know Rolling Stone and they know Time. Those are the two that people in my life who aren’t involved in music are like “Wow! It really seems like you’re doing well!” I got a huge flood of people reaching out to me about it; it’s really weird being like, “Oh! We haven’t talked in eight years and now you’re telling me that you’re proud of me.”