FORT KENT – The Lucid, formerly known as “Dominic and the Lucid,” is an eclectic bunch of fellows all hailing from the St. John Valley. On stage, The Lucid performs with a connection to their music that is difficult to find. Each member’s facial expressions during their sets shows a sense of passion and freedom that makes it obvious the stage is where they belong.
The band, made up of singer/guitarist Dominic Lavoie, 30 (Madawaska), bassist Nathan Cyr, 25 (Fort Kent), keyboardist Timmy Beaulieu, 30 (Madawaska), drummer Charles Gagne, 28 (Fort Kent), and new utility man Scott Mohler (Portland), have been making some serious noise in the Portland music scene over the past seven years that the band has been together. With the emergence of a brand new album on the brink of release, (their new record will be releasing some time in February) the guys sat down before their fourth Thanksgiving show at Bee Jay’s Tavern in Fort Kent to talk music, new records, and, most importantly why, after a two-year break from playing in Portland, they changed their name.
“We felt the band, as well as the shows we were playing, were getting monotonous,” Dominic said in regards to the name change.
“We’re more of a collaboration,” drummer Chuck Gagne added. “Before it was more Dom playing solo and Nate and I backing him. Now the band has a band feel, and we wanted the name to reflect that.” After playing the same bars, venues and songs for almost five years, the band decided to give Portland a break from “Dominic and the Lucid.”
“It wasn’t a hiatus,” Nathan said of the band’s break from playing gigs in the Portland area. “We were still playing (shows), we just weren’t doing them in Portland.”
The biggest of those shows came in October, when The Lucid trekked down to Brooklyn and played a showcase along with six other local bands at the Trash Room. “Playing in New York was really gratifying,” drummer Chuck Gagne said of the experience. Timmy Beaulieu, the newest member of the band, talked about how the crowd had a lot to do with making that particular show so great. “I would rather play to an audience who really seems to get the music,” said Timmy. “It’s not that we don’t like playing bar gigs, it’s just nice to know that people appreciate our originals as much as they do our covers.”
The Lucid played their first show back in Portland to an audience of more than 300 at the Port City Music Hall in Portland on Nov. 16, along with fellow local band Phantom Buffalo. For many of their die-hard fans, the concert was received with open arms and an anxiousness that had been building for two years. “Something happened at that show that night,” Timmy said of the show. “It’s not something we can explain; it was just that great of a show.”
So how does a band go from playing the third biggest music venue in Portland to playing Bee-Jay’s Tavern?
“Bee Jay’s is a whole other experience,” Nathan said of the shows they put on at the local bar throughout the year. “When we play in Portland, we don’t play a lot of covers, but when we’re here people are more interested in hearing us do a cover of ‘Last Dance With Mary Jane’ instead of a lot of our originals.”
That isn’t to say the band doesn’t enjoy coming home and playing to their hometown crowd, though. “People enjoy listening to us play,” Chuck added. “We get to play for our friends and family, and that’s always a good time.”
Aside from playing gigs outside of Portland, The Lucid has been busy in the studio writing, recording, and producing their third record, loosely titled “Garlands For the Conquer.”
They’ve also added a fifth member to the band, who was an engineer on the band’s second album “Season of the Sun.”
“Adding Scott to the band was natural,” Dominic said. “We needed someone who could make our records convert better to a live show, and we were able to do that with Scott on stage.”
The writing process was more of a collaborative effort on this album as well. Where Dominic did most of the writing, both lyrically and musically, on the first two records, the third album was a lot of “jam sessions and demo-ing.”
“Dom still wrote most of the lyrics,” Chuck said of the writing process, “but Tim has a song that he wrote on there as well.”
The band booked the studio and began the recording process before they were even done writing all the songs for the album. This worked out in their favor, though, and gave the record a less polished sound, which is exactly what the band was going for.
“We wanted this record to not sound as produced as ‘Season of the Sun’ sounded,” Tim said of their third studio album. “It’s not that we don’t like the music on that record; we just wanted this one to go in a new and completely different direction.”
The band got a breath of fresh air when producer Brian Coombes at Rocking Horse Studios in New Hampshire gave them free reign over the recording and mixing processes. In an age where many producers want to put their own stamp on an artist or band’s record, Coombes and the Lucid went for what the band thought was best for each individual track on the album.
“Brian let us do what we wanted (to the record),” Nathan said. “We were there every day for the mixing process, and we were all very much on the same page of what we wanted the record to sound like. Brian was great for that.”
So what’s the most important thing about the new sound on the third record?
“You really get the Lucid on this one,” said Tim. “No guests, no bells and whistles, just us.”
With the new record finished and ready to be put out, the band has been doing publicity and playing shows “like crazy” to get the funds to put the record out in February. They have recently added a free download of a new original song, entitled “Mothership,” on their website thelucidmusic.com. In order to get the free song, fans simply provide the band with an email address, to which the band will send the mp3 for download.
“The idea is to get as many email addresses as possible, so that when it gets closer to the release date, we’ll have emails to send people updates to,” Dominic said of his idea for the free download.
The band has been together for seven years, and through all the ups and downs, the guys have never questioned their dedication to their music.
“I could flip burgers for a living,” Chuck said candidly when asked what keeps the band going seven years after forming. “I think the reason we’re still at this is that we don’t know anything else. Music is our passion, it’s really all we know. We make music because we love it, and because we want other people to love it too.”