Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Lucas Silveira: Better Than Ever

Lucas Silveira is pretty much the man. And it doesn't matter how many line-up changes The Cliks experience the core won't change. Lucas is the heart and soul of The Cliks. The guy's also a sweetheart! Not only did he get the answers back to me in an hour (record!), he also told me I could send in more questions! Well I hope you enjoy the read. It's a very revealing, sad and yet...optimistic look into the mind of Lucas Silveira.

I saw you guys play in Detroit about a month and a half before Dirty King came out. The show was amazing! How was that mini-tour? Were you at all nervous about playing new material live for fans before they had heard it?

The mini tour was unbelievably exhausting to my recollection. Short time and all you can do on the road crammed in 7 days. After that show in Detroit we drove straight to Columbus and got lost because your main highway was closed. It was a nightmare! And then arrived at 6 am, had to wake up at 10 AM and do a live radio show and play 3 songs, then go to a sound check at 1 PM. Can you say tired?
As for fans hearing the material, I think live is always the best way to introduce people to your music, so no, not nervous.More excited than anything.

I read that The Cliks actually released a debut, self-titled record in 2004. I have to admit I was not aware of this. Is this record available? If not, any possibility of a re-release?

Yes, this is true. It was an entirely different band. Actually, every Cliks album has a different band so that's a little telling. Ha ha.
There's only 1000 copies printed and I think I have about 50 left for keep sakes. You can get it online digitally though http://www.thecliks.com on the Maple Music website.
As for re-release, anything is possible, but not planning on that right now. I don't like working backwards.

I know that 2005 was a really tough year for you with that 'Cliks' line-up parting and also a lot of sad things happening in your personal life. That experience would have broken most people. How did you get through that?

It was indeed a hellish year. I've learned from that experience that it sometimes takes those bad experiences to break you down so you can build yourself back up again and I think that's what I did and am still doing. I got through that with music and some really good friends & a loving family. I'm lucky that way. I think I'm still recovering from all that because I think when trauma hits your life like that, your body holds it and releases the sadness slowly when you're in a better place so that you can handle it. So I still have bad days from remembering all of it but nothing you can do but move forward.

When you decided to transition did you have any fears or concerns about what effect that might have had on your music career?

Of course. It was my main concern. Before I came out, I completely resigned myself to the fact that I would never be successful because of coming out as a trans man. I would always do music for the love but I told myself mainstream success was going to be out of the question. Then I come out and 6 months later we got signed. I sometimes think when you stop trying so hard to be something you're not, that's when things fall into place.

I'm so sad about there not being a True Colors tour this year! And wow what an AMAZING line up last year! Did you get close to any of the other bands on the tour?

True Colors was indeed an amazing experience. The best I've had so far. I kept in touch with Brian Viglione of the Dresden Dolls and thank god I did because now he's the new drummer for The Cliks! Whoopee! I'm also pals with Margaret Cho and actually just wrote a song with her for her new album and of course have kept in touch and email often with the Queen herself, Cyndi Lauper. She's been an immense support for me.

You guys hooked up with Sylvia Massy for the production of Dirty King. She's responsible for half my ipod; from Tool to Johnny Cash to System of a Down! The woman is brilliant! How did you guys end up working with her? What was that experience like?

It was through an engineer named Mike Philips who worked at Radio Star studios that we ended up in Weed, California to record the album. He had let her hear Snakehouse and she loved it and emailed us and said she'd like to throw her hat in the ring to produce the next album and how could we say no to that? It was an amazing experience. I learned a lot about myself as a songwriter there primarily and realized that no matter how many machines and tools you have to record an album, a good record comes from good songs and that's what Sylvia taught me.

Since the most recent 'Cliks' line-up broke up you've actually been more visible/active on the web. You also seem to be interacting with fans more. And judging for your tweets it seems you've been having more time for family and friends. I know you're a bit of a workaholic, did this break-up turn out to be a much needed vacation for you?

I think my visibility on the web was always something I'd wanted to do and yes, I do it a lot more now. With the old band I really felt that I had to censor a lot of what I did. It was harder to be myself because I felt so much jealousy coming from them unfortunately. So I would sort of hand it over to them and they would do nothing. In the years that they were in the band I think they wrote maybe 1 or 2 blogs and they were very forced. They didn't feel the same way about fans that I did. It was actually part of the tension between us. I love the fans. Without fans, artists have no one to connect what they create to. Morgan and Jen resented a lot of their fans and typically only took notice of the ones that were musicians.
I have had a long forced break and yes, it's what I needed. It's like the saying goes, when one door closes another one opens and I'm doing a lot of self work right now and realizing what I actually need as opposed to what I want out of life.
The relationship I had with them was toxic to the point that Jen felt justified in sometimes uttering transphobic comments. I haven't talked about it before but feel it's due time I come out about it because it was so hurtful. There's no good that comes from a band mate calling you "it".

So earlier this month you revealed the new 'Cliks' line-up, which includes Tobi Parks (Bambi) on bass, and Brian Viglione (The Dresden Dolls!!!) on drums. That's exciting! Any plans to start touring Dirty King again?

Yes, we're doing 2 shows this year as sadly that's all that was available at this point in the game. Brooklyn NY December 11th and Cambridge MA December 12th. Tours take months to plan so now we'll be hitting the road again in March of 2010 and finally touring the album.

I have a question from one of your fans (and twitter followers), Fireboltx:

Having had so many line-up changes in your band how easy or difficult is it to adjust to newly recruited band members, past and present?

This new line up was actually the easiest most natural change I ever went through. It's easy to feel good with the people you play with when you see they want it as bad as you do, and Brian and Tobi really do. We had 1 rehearsal for the show we did in DC and it was the best show I have ever done in my entire Cliks career. They're pros and their energy is on the money. It's not about ego, it's about music.
The band before was a lot more difficult. When I went from Heidi Chan and Ezri Kaysen, who were the original Cliks, into Morgan and Jordan, the second line up, I had a tough time. Morgan took a hired hand attitude to being in the band, like a job, even though she wasn't a hired hand and Jordan, well, that's a long story.
The addition of musicians as we went along was also difficult because everyone was always 20 steps ahead in expectations and that is what made them fail as band members. The work comes first, the reward, later. They didn't want to put their all into it and eventually got tired of waiting.
I think this new line up is completely different in that capacity because they've actually done more work already than any other band members I've been involved with and I need that kind of support because a band isn't just what happens on stage, mainly, these days, it's what happens off stage. That has to be solid because if it isn't, what happens on stage ends up falling apart.

One more question. Other than Lady GaGa, who are some of your favorite current bands/artists?

I'm actually so into the rnb and hip hop side of music right now because I feel like a lot of rock music is going to the birds.
I love the crap out of Beyonce, Jay Z, Rihanna, TI, Kid Cudi and outside of that I love the Arcade Fire, Bloc Party but mainly I am obsessed with an artist by the name of Geo Wyeth with a project called Novice Theory. He's a trans guy and on Testosterone and has been able to retain his singing voice so that has given me a new perspective on that whole situation.


Firebolt said...

Great interview!

Bassist said...

Jen and Morgan are two kind and friendly human beings with us fans and I really can't understand why you are talking about them like that. It's really sad what you said. :( I wish you all the best, but please, stop slander against them.

tipsyindisclub said...

It's not slander if it's true! I also met the whole band and the only people that actually seemed interested and present were Lucas and Nina (who WAS a sweetheart).
Now seeing as you're a bass player, I guess Lucas' comment is valid. So if you are a fan of the Cliks, you should support the person that IS The Cliks and that's Lucas. If Jen really did use that slang then she's an ass. Watch their interviews, Morgan and Jen look bored in most of them. Watch the body language. I also heard they didnt like being in a "queer band" and although it can put you in a box, if it is who you are then be a spokesperson, we need as many as possible these days. Bravo Lucas, thank you for caring and sharing the truth with us. Time to write a book and really let us know what went down.

hig said...

When I met the band in April 09 Jen and Morgan seemed bothered to meet the fans and didnt engage at all. They also have issues with the muscles in their face as they just do not seem to have the ability to smile. You could tell by watching the 3 of them interact that there was tension.

Bassist said...

I’m a queer musician too, but I prefer being appreciated (or hated) for my music, NOT for my sexual preference. I really can’t see a connection between music and sexual preferences and, as a musician, the most important thing to me is Music. When I listen to Jen or Morgan playing, I don’t care if they are queer or straight, I just lost myself into Music and decode every note to find out the essence of Jen and Morgan. You said that they look bored in many interviews, but if they were bored or just quiet or shy, we can only guess, isn’t it? For them I was a complete stranger, but they were really kind with me, especially Jen, so polite and she doesn’t know that I’m a musician too.
Do you really want to know if they are so evil? Listen to them playing, honestly and without prejudices, close your eyes, feel the human being behind the Music and you’ll know it. Ciao!

suzi said...

Lucas, i don't know you, but i think you are an extremely talented performer. However, its sad to see someone with so much talent, exhibiting so little class. I have to wonder what Jen or Morgan would have to say, given the forum that you have abused here. There are two sides to every story. I have a feeling they would have a great deal to fire at you, but would have too much grace and class to stoop so low.

you should check your ego dude. And perhaps your facts. Lies do not become anyone. and Bitching like a 12 year old becomes you even less.

get a grip, stop being so bitter and move on. I'm sure they have.


Jaime said...

Awesome interview and great questions. I agree with tipsy that there's no point in protecting people who have treated you badly, you just do yourself a disserve by pretending it never happened. Glad the relationship ended if it wasn't good for anyone in it, though, and Lucas has been able to move on to a happier place!

Jae said...

I know this is a late comment, but, here's my $0.02. Bravo to Lucas for being honest about the transphobia he personally faced. Shame on you for those who want to tell him he is abusing a forum. Those are the kind of comments that pressure transgender people to go back into the closet or to not stand up for themselves.