Perfect in the Summertime: Lucksmiths Interview

Another fine interview from our gal Helen. This time she tracks down a member of the Lucksmiths in fine girlie-stalker fashion. Grab a cup of coffee and settle in for the cutest conversation in cyberspace.

An Interview with Mark Monnone of the Lucksmiths

August 2002

It was perfect in the summertime

I’d just ask and the sun’d shine

But the days just disappear this time of year

Yesterday was lost drinking

And, yes, today I was thinking

I could be making more of the weekend

I recently earned myself the nickname “Lucksmiths Girl” at a coffee shop in my neighborhood because I was always wearing my Lucksmiths t-shirt and chatting with the guy behind the counter about the latest indie pop records. Why do I like the Lucksmiths? I’ve been beating my head against the wall trying to come up with something poignant and meaningful about how their music has changed my life. And the bottom line is that it makes me happy. I don’t know if the Lucksmiths have changed my life, but they sure as hell make it better. They make me sing at the top of my lungs while driving to work; they make me dance around silly when I’m alone in my apartment. When I saw them live last summer, I sang along to every song as loud as I could and didn’t even care if I bugged the people around me. At the same time, they’re just soft enough that I can put them on as motivation while plugging away at my dissertation.

And I can hardly think of any better music for summertime than the Lucksmiths. Their lyrics describe holidays at the coast, road trips across the country with the windows open, summer romances, wasted summers, and even friendless summers. Their snappy tunes and catchy lyrics are perfect for long road trips with the sunroof open. Their wistful rhythms capture that soft feel of warm daylight savings nights that seem to last forever or that perfectly lovely pink of early summer evenings just before sunset.

After I saw the Lucksmiths live in Chicago twice last summer, I was disappointed that they didn’t make it to the US at all this summer. And since last summer’s Why That Doesn’t Surprise Me, they haven’t even released a full-length album in over a year. In the spring, we got Where Were We?, a compilation of tracks from 7 inches, EPs, and label comps…but no new material. I miss them. So, I sent bass player Mark Monnone an email to see what they’re up to these days and asked him some other stuff while I was at it. His answers are short, but incredibly cute…just like their songs.

GLONO: How, besides the obvious of playing in a band, has music affected your life?

Mark: Playing music made me think that I wanted nothing else to fall back on, and therefore I slept through most of my final year at high school.

GLONO:

If you were stranded on a desert island, what album would help you survive?

Mark:

Jonathan Richman’s Jonathan Sings! would at least keep me smiling while the maggots ate my eyes out.

GLONO:

On some of the tracks on your recent compilation album, Where Were We?, you collaborated with some American “indiepopstars” – what was that like?

Mark:

There are only two songs that we did with the aid of any American friends, and coincidentally, they’re probably my favorites on the album. “On A Downside to the Upstairs,” Pam Berry, (from The Pines, formerly of The Castaway Stones, Glo-worm, and Black Tambourine amongst others) sings some harmonies in the chorus. That was really fun recording that song. Pam’s husband Mike engineered it in their lounge room in Crystal Palace, London. We tried to draw the recording time out so we could eat as much of Pam’s cooking as possible!

Some members of The Ladybug Transistor helped us out on “Even Stevens” when we recorded it in their Brooklyn, NY basement studio known as Marlborough Farms. When we visit NY, we invariably end up sleeping in that very basement, so it was very comfortable to record in there too. The hard part working with those guys is they try and make us watch The Wicker Man all the time.

GLONO:

I understand that you are currently working on some brand new material. What can you tell me about that and when do you think it will be released?

Mark:

We have a whole bunch of new songs coming along at the moment. It seems we’ll have a lot to choose from for the next album, which I presume we’ll start working on in a few months. This year we’ve had the luxury of staying in Melbourne a lot, which is the best way for us to work on new material. The last few years have involved a lot of touring, and for us it’s hard to find time and space to really get stuck into the writing.

GLONO:

OK, this one’s a little personal. Are your relationships with women really as cute and romantic as your lyrics suggest?

Mark:

I have the flu at the moment, and my girlfriend is getting fairly pissed off with my whining.

GLONO:

What other influences are behind your witty and heartfelt lyrics?

Mark:

Football.

GLONO:

Can we expect to see you again in the States any time in the near future?

Mark:

I hope so. Actually, I’d say we won’t be touring out of Australia at all this year, but probably next year we’ll be heading over. I don’t think I’ll be able to endure another Melbourne winter!

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