We here at ASCAP were big enough believers in the L.A. indie rock band Low vs Diamond that we showcased them at SXSW back in 2008. So it was sad news to hear that founding member Lucas Field left the band to focus on a solo career. One listen to Field's late-2011 debut Conquest of Happiness banished any residual sadness - the exuberant album ditches Low vs Diamond's guitars and synths for a vintage 70's soul sound, replete with electric piano, funky bass, background vox and earthy grooves. We asked Field to explain how he found his new direction. - Etan Rosenbloom, Associate Director & Deputy Editor, Communications & Media
It was around my junior year of high school that Sly Stone, Rufus and Blood, Sweat and Tears fell into my lap. Granted, "Mo Money, Mo Problems" also did, but with that said, soul music was a pretty instant love for me. If you don't like soul music, you probably don't like other cool things like Instant Netflix, Russian bathhouses or laughing.
As I grew into more and more music, soul just stayed by side. JB and some of the later Temptations stuff made an appearance, and like a friend of mine once told me, "Try finding a record made between '72 and '77 with a cool black guy on the cover that doesn't have at least one badass moment buried somewhere..." Sure, that was a generalization and slightly racist, but it's pretty true.
I wrote Conquest of Happiness the same way as Low vs Diamond, with the songs in mind first, followed by the style. Songs need to sound great on my piano before I arrange them with other instruments. What's cool about a soul bass and drums section is that you can write something really happy or angry and the groove keeps people moving regardless.
I never really gave too much thought about making Conquest of Happiness sound new, because it felt new to me. If this record would have been made in the 70's, it might have had a full horn section, guitars and maybe some traces of heavy cocaine use - the lack thereof makes it modern to me. I picked the instruments that I was the most into and didn't worry about the rest.
Lucas Field is on tour on the West Coast between January 11th and 16th.
Find the dates at his website: www.lucasfield.com