Lookbook

Feverishly trying to catch up with a tour schedule, driving a Subaru through a “horrible blizzardy mess” in Pennsylvania is probably the most representative setting to catch up with Minneapolis’ two-piece Lookbook. Their debut LP Wild At Heart is a collection of brilliant tracks which have all the power of a four-wheel-drive vehicle, but have a soft, aural snowfall surrounding. While Maggie Morrison drives to the next gig, Grant Cutler rides shotgun and speaks to ION over the telephone about the Minneapolis scene, “stupid” drum breaks and how they’re trying to escape the word Eighties.

Tell me about being based in Minneapolis.
Well, Minneapolis is really far away from everything, so touring is kind of a challenge because you start out with a huge drive. We go to Madison and Milwaukee a lot, but the next big market is down in Chicago which is six or seven hours away. But Minneapolis has its own little community which, is, like really awesome and the music scene is cool—everybody is accepting and wonderful and it’s a cool place to be based out of. The trick is just getting out of town, like getting everybody ELSE to pay attention.

Are you tired yet of the word Eighties being associated with Lookbook?
OH MY GOD. SO MUCH! I don’t ever want to talk about my Eighties influences ever again. We’ve been working on some new music now and we’re really trying to get away from that even though there are still plenty of synthesizers and crazy beats and shit. That’s what everybody starts with and it seems like no matter where the interview goes it always ends up written up like “these guys just sound like the Eighties!” and I’m like “we didn’t even talk about that in the interview!” I can’t believe that’s what they get out of it.

It’s getting increasingly more difficult to make pop music without being derivative. Explain how Lookbook makes this happen.
Oh god, I don’t know. We really work on it. It seems like now the song structures are kind of the same but a lot of it is using new sounds, textures, and having Maggie write really great lyrics that aren’t necessarily your typical pop lyrics.
It’s a combination of all those things and being thoughtful about it I guess. If it does come across as derivative or “cheesy” we usually change it. Like, we actually think about that when we’re working on this music.

Some of your songs start off with ominous tones and notes, but continually resolve into a sweet piece of music. Is this intentional?
I guess it’s always something that I’ve enjoyed listening to. I never did it on purpose. But it is always kind of like a trick. I have the worst intros I always think. They’re always so long, y’know? Some of our songs are, like, way over a minute before a verse or anything.

Well the first song I heard was “True To Form” and that long intro might be the most charming part about it.
Yeah that one was totally a surprise because that song could turn into anything, I mean it’s got that stupid drum break that comes in and I think it’s a happy surprise for most people when that happens.

I gotta ask, there’s a Myspace photo where you are performing in a room that is four walls of high bench seats and a skylight. Where and what is that?
Yeah! Okay, so that is at the Walker Art Center and it is called a “Sky Pesher” [by James Turrell]. It’s like a sweet, stone room and you walk down this big hallway into this hill and then there’s benches on all four sides and there’s a cutout in the sky and the whole idea is to build this artistic frame around something in nature which is the sky and you sit and focus on that. They actually did a concert series there last summer and we were the first band that got to play there. It sounded kind of horrible in there because it was a big stone room but it didn’t matter because the idea of it was so cool, to be performing in this piece of art. It’s really amazing and I think it’s open all year round, day and night.

How do local bands feel about The Replacements?
At this point, I think that our generation knows ABOUT The Replacements. The dudes one generation above us are like really really into The Replacements because they were still kind of around when they were growing up or when they started playing music or something. They got huge, and they are actually great. I really like The Replacements, but I’m not a huge crazy fan or anything. Minneapolis really does have a ton of talent and it does feel like people spend a lot of time on their song writing, instead of just going for some quick flash in the pan thing.

Is Lookbook considered party music somewhere?
People definitely come out and dance especially if we play all-ages- shows, the kids will come out and cut a rug, but old people never dance.

Where do you want Lookbook to end up?
I don’t know. I would like to be a successful musician for a long time and I think Maggie’s the same way. I’d love to just tour and get our records out there for the next five or 10 years of my life. I think we’ll just keep our slow climb here going and see how far we can get.

[www.myspace.com/lookbookmusic]

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