Lucas Guerin of Casxio
Casxio is a band you would pay to see live. Trust me. This four piece from L.A. has garnered so much buzz before the release of their full-length LP that they have managed to secure four sets for New York’s fabled CMJ. The darkened Canal Room (QRO venue review) is an opulent venue, quite nice for a lot of the venues featured this CMJ and Casxio takes the stage. Opening with "All My Love", frontman Lucas Guerin shows himself to be a cross between Prince and James Brown incarnate, with a side of Bootsy Collins to spare. Moving with a grace and quick moves the frontman crooned "17", the title song of the newly released EP of the same name. Followed with catchy beats, silky vocals and sexy dance moves the band continues with the upbeat and aptly titled "Sex" which left more than one blushing in the wake of it’s suggestive lyrics and delivery. Finishing up it’s too short set were the songs "Goodbye Horses", "Boiling Point", "Where Were You?", "My Book", and "Lose Control". They left the crowd dancing and with more than a few cries for an encore that never happened. That’s CMJ for you. Within a busy day of press and in the historic Norwood club, frontman Lucas Guerin took the time to chat with QRO about the stage, the recording and all things Casxio. We expect big things from this band, and so should you…
QRO: This is quite a difference watching you walk in from seeing you onstage [at Canal Room]. You have a softer air.
Lucas Guerin: Oh yeah, transitioning from stage… You’re in a whole different place in your head when you’re performing. When it’s over you kinda have to decompress and just breathe. Especially after a performance that’s as energetic as it was last night. We put a lot into that night’s show. It changes. It varies. Last night was pretty heavy.
QRO: Is that what you would expect from a normal Casxio show?
LG: I wouldn’t say it’s NOT my normal. I would say I put a lot into every show. Sometimes more comes out.
QRO: I’m excited to talk to you after seeing the set because wow. What’s up with the lyrics? I’m like standing there blushing watching you perform. Where do you come up with this stuff?
LG: [laughs] Oh yeah? Hmmmm. Okay well I mean I think one of the songs you are probably talking about is the song "Sex". "I just want to have sex with you" is the chorus. I was thinking you know
Yeah, and so I did.
QRO: [laughs] So you think you’ll have problems getting radio play with that one?
LG: Uh. Haven’t had it, the recording isn’t done yet. We’re mixing right now so yeah.
QRO: So when can we expect the album?
LG: I would say give it a few months. We are still mixing it and we are taking our sweet time with it. We want it to be right. Yeah, I’d say give it a few months. But expect good things ‘cause it’s sounding really good. We aren’t going to put out a mediocre first album.
QRO: After seeing you guys live I don’t think we could expect anything mediocre from you.
LG: Oh, okay…
QRO: Being in the recording process, what is it that it takes to make a Casxio song?
LG: I write all the music at home in my apartment. I record everything on ProTools, and then bring it in to the band and teach them the songs. And we go into it, and sometimes things change and sometimes they don’t, but usually what happens is I write all the music first, and then I’ll work on the lyrics later. The lyrics always come a little later. Just because lyrics for me are, you know, the most personal part of the song and are that much more important to really craft. Yeah, lyrics usually come last and sometimes they come easily; sometimes I sit and stare at the wall for two hours and come up with nothing. It’s hit or miss.
QRO: How is the crowd different on the east coast as opposed to la where you come from?
LG: Uhhh… It’s not much different. I don’t think you can really categorize crowds like that. You are out to see music and I heard that New York crowds are… they’re a little harder to reach. I don’t believe that’s true. I mean we played to some pretty tough crowds in L.A., and I think there are tough crowds everywhere and there are great crowds everywhere, you know? There are crowds that will get right into it. They give you energy you know. They feed you energy and I think that’s really important as well. The time, hone in on that, just grab that energy from the audience as well really connect, really connect with the audience. As intimately as possible. Find a focus and really push. End at that point.
QRO: Do you plan on touring?
LG: Eventually, yeah.
QRO: What are your influences?
LG: Lot of influences. I think I’ll just start top of my head. First thing that comes to mind, Philip Glass, Fela Kuti, Sly & The Family Stone definitely. CHIC, Nile Rodgers, Talking Heads, huge influence, Michael Jackson, eighties & seventies funk and R&B, a lot of jazz. I started listening to jazz; that was probably the first music I really got into. Bebop-era jazz, ‘40s and ‘50s.
QRO: What are your favorite live venues?
LG: Well, I mean, I think our best shows have happened at the Lava Lounge in Hollywood; it doesn’t exist anymore. It was this little dive bar that we played when we first started. It was a tiny place, really intimate, heavy red lighting, which is kinda trashy but works really well for the show. And we would have all our friends come and pack the place and it was just a fucking party. It’s fun, yeah; those were some of the best shows we played. So I’d have to say that little dive bar. I think we played most of the venues in L.A., Spaceland, Echoplex, The Roxy, Keyclub, Troubadour. The Troubadour is a great club. Preference as far as sound goes, The Viper Room, great sound people.
QRO: Tell me something insane…
LG: This one… It’s kinda funny. I got… someone threw a pair of edible panties at me on stage. That’s probably one of the funnier things that’s happened to me. Yeah, it was just a pair of edible panties, still packaged; they didn’t take them out of the package. They wanted them to be clean for me. Apparently. I didn’t eat them. I still have them, but I’ll look at them and they’ll whet my appetite, but I won’t go for. I’ll restrain myself.
QRO: Are they framed?
LG: They’re not framed. No. [laughs] Not a bad idea though.
QRO: Did you guys fly to CMJ?
LG: We flew. It was an interesting plane trip. The last hour, the stewardess came around and we were like let’s get some drinks. And so we ordered a couple of jack and cokes. They just ended up giving us, I don’t know like six free drinks. So me, Zach, and Eric got nice and toasty for the last hour of the trip. Which was very nice.
QRO: So what happens when you get home?
LG: Just finishing the mixing, and we don’t have any shows set up so. We might not. I really want to focus on finishing this album because we’ve been working on it for so long. We’ve been working on it from studio to now… probably about a year. I always make demos at my place before anything. Before we go into the studio and I really appreciate that in a way that I can’t appreciate a big studio where I’m working with other people. Because you know it’s just me and the inception. In the studio the song exists and we’re just kinda getting a better sound. Really just honing in that sound. Honing in the actual sound, the final sound of it. They are two different experiences but I appreciate them both.
QRO: You are the main songwriter, where does the band come in?
LG: I consider them vital aspects. I mean, you saw Eric. He is incredible as a performer. Yeah they’re Casxio.
QRO: So tell me, where did you come up with the idea of Casxio? How did this all begin?
LG: The idea of the band? The name? Everything? It all began, I knew I wanted a band around 2003-2004. I was really thinking about, really thinking about having a band. I’d been writing for a while. I just haven’t found exactly what I wanted to do yet as far as writing goes. So I worked and I worked and I wrote and I recorded. I finally got to the point where I was ready to put the band together and it all just kinda came together. Through friends. I put the word out that I was looking for a band and got hooked up.
QRO: What are you doing while in town aside from playing?
LG: I don’t know. I haven’t really had time to think of it. I’ve been doing this and interviews and such. After shows we have time to go out and do things, although I’ve been trying to get sleep that doesn’t seem to happen. Doesn’t seem to happen, even when you’re trying… [laughs] Um, I don’t know, I don’t have any plans. [laughs]
I saw a band that was interesting. We went to the Vice party a couple of nights ago and there was a band playing, I didn’t catch their name, they were interesting. They had one guy who was playing a tambourine who looked a little wacky. Maybe at one point he could have been bulimic um… and on something. Definitely on something and he was kinda moving around the stage with the tambourine and being a nut case it looked like, and there was a guitarist who was just going fucking nuts. It was a rock show you know, it was a fucking cool just grungy rock show. It was interesting; it was fun.
QRO: How do you feel that L.A. influences your music, the L.A. scene?
LG: Um… That’s a good question… [laughs] It’s a tough one to answer, though, because I grew up in L.A. I’m not sure exactly how it affects my writing style or anything else. I mean as far as Casxio goes, L.A. is just part of me. It is really who I am I think. I mean I’ve lived there my whole life. I love this city. It’s just in the music. I would say.
QRO: I haven’t been to L.A., but of the stuff I’ve heard from there, you guys just seem so different. I mean I know L.A. is known for the hair metal, glam rock and here you come this funk, R&B disco, and I’m like where does this come from?!?
LG: Yeah. Oh that? That just comes from the music I listen to. I mean, I’ve always listened to that. Funky music. Music where the bass and the drums carry. So that’s what I listen to, that’s what I write. That’s what I’ve always… really always written that style. Yeah. The first thing I wrote, well my first experiences with music were with a keyboard I had recreating hip-hop beats. Like Dr. Dre beats, even then I was working with a lot of drum and bass. Yeah.
QRO: Last thing: Say something to your audience. Leave them with some words of wisdom from Casxio.
LG: Say something? Oh Jesus, really? Okay.
QRO: That’s it.