erasing clouds

100 Musicians Answer the Same 10 Questions

Part Fifty-One: Lou Rogai of Lewis & Clarke

instigated by dave heaton

As Lewis & Clarke, Pennsylvanian Lou Rogai creates rustic folk music with a poetic sort of dreaminess, an intergalactic openness, and a pure sense of mystery. His melodic, immediate first album Bare Bones and Branches had all of these qualities, and they only seem to be gaining in his music, judging by recent live performances. He's currently on an East Coast tour with the Black Swans, and selling a new tour-only 12", Live on WPRB, released by his own label La Societe Expeditionnaire, which also recently released a lovely split 7" by Dragon Turtle/Strand of Oaks. Check out the Lewis and Clarke website and MySpace.


What aspect of making music excites you the most right now?

When it all vibrates and heartstrings rumble...circles...friends...I love it.

What aspect of making music gets you the most discouraged?

At this point, it is anything but the actual music that can cause discouragement. I feel rather encouraged, you just have to keep it simple and realize the periphery is not the music.

What are you up to right now, music-wise? (Current or upcoming recordings, tours, extravaganzas, experiments, top-secret projects, etc).

Blasts of Holy Birth is the new Lewis & Clarke album coming out in February, so that's been happening. In the meantime, I am touring solo and releasing a limited edition vinyl-only version of a radio performance. Been busy working on the Strand of Oaks record, too, and doing a bunch of La Société Expéditionnaire things, which is a vehicle to expose my immediate musical family's works to the people! Other than that, not too much.

What's the most unusual place you've ever played a show or made a recording? How did the qualities of that place affect the show/recording?

We were in an abandoned music hall and there were handcuffs involved, including a good shakedown from THE MAN. Please refer to Amy's take on the situation in The Places' interview, she could not have described it better and I dont want to get redundant. Here is my only addendum: I have to encounter the couple who own the building when I am walking around town with my family. I get scowls from the owners because they think I am a bad man, they seem convinced that Amy and I were in there doing all sorts of crimes, drugs, freaking out, and lord knows what else...awkward to the point of no return. The recordings sound great, can you resist an abandoned music hall?

In what ways does the place where you live (or places where you have lived), affect the music you create, or your taste in music?

It seems that even the slightest vibrational shifts cause considerable ripple effects in our lives. It must be an instinctual thing, people usually ending up where they belong. Being exposed to trees, rivers, stratified sedimentary layers of cliffs and wildlife is certainly a very different exposure than that of our contemporary urban existence. It can shape a person for sure, but it certainly doesnt mean you have to paint landscapes or sing songs about trees. It is a luxury to feel comfortable and satisfied with quiet surroundings, and less distraction. It helps one to tune in on vibrations. I like being in the city too, being exposed to immediate cultural happenings and all, but I get distracted easily and cant think as well. I dont want everyone else's ideas, I want to explore inherent identity, where the inspiration comes from.

When was the last time you wrote a song? What can you tell us about it?

Songs tend to tell more about themselves than I am able to do justice, there is one brewing about a Mother.

As you create more music, do you find yourself getting more or less interested in seeking out and listening to new music made by other people...and why do you think that is?

The right music always has a way of finding you, this is why mixtapes are so great. I think the more you enter your own realm, and realize your own potential, you realize how insignificant and part of a larger scope you actually are. Parts of a whole....discovering things, it keeps the world big.

Lately what musical periods or styles do you find yourself most drawn to as a listener? (Old or new music? Music like yours or different from yours?)

Any music I can consider or old. I am enjoying a long season of Indian classical music.

Name a band or musician, past or present, who you flat-out LOVE and think more people should be listening to. What's one of your all-time favorite recordings by this band/musician?

Bill Fay-Time of The Last Persecution.

What's the saddest song you've ever heard?

"The Kiss" by Judee Sill. And it becomes sadder yet, once you know her story.

To check out the rest of the Q&As, click here.

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