ARTIST DIRECT Q&A: Ludo
Thu, 07 Oct 2010 10:52:48
When ARTISTdirect caught up with Ludo, they were in the midst of a headlining tour promoting their second effort for Island, Prepare the Preparations. When a band refers to itself as "'70s butt rock," which vocalist Andrew Volpe did in their publicity bio, you know you are dealing with a bunch of chaps who don't take themselves too seriously, which doesn’t mean they don't take their art as seriously as an STD diagnosis! Keyboardist Tim Convy was happy to open up to ARTISTdirect's Amy Sciarretto about the band's quest, their sense of humor, the creep guys and their native St. Louis.
Give our reader’s the quick history of Ludo.
We formed in the summer of 2003 and put out our record ourselves. We toured, mostly in the Midwest and Texas, as we are from the Midwest, from St. Louis. We booked our own shows, put out our own records, toured full time. No one had jobs or school. We signed with Island in 2006, put out a record in 2008 and in 2010.
Why, after all the groundwork you laid doing things independently, did Ludo decide to partner up with a major label? You guys really seemed to have a solid foundation when you started.
Things got crazy. We were on the road, so it was us doing every booking and mailings, so things got crazy. Ludo, from the beginning, was over the top and we pictured ourselves playing to lots of people. Things we wanted to create, production-wise and show-wise, would need us exposing the band to more people, so we were looking for help on that front. We were not set on a major label, but it happened. Sure, it has its ups and downs, but it was good. It got Ludo to more people in three years than we did on our own, so it was the right thing.
How do you feel about that decision, to give up control and to just go for it? Was it difficult?
I feel great about it. We have a whole team of people behind us, so we can focus more on music and shows, and the things we want to do, instead of all the other stuff we were doing. We did so much on our own, and our deal gave us some leverage. We still make our own decisions and any missteps or mistakes that happen are our fault as much as anyone else’s. We have been lucky. We can’t complain.
Ludo’s music is weird and interesting in a good way.
Interesting and weird is a good way is a good way to describe our band. This album, we have more confidence. We felt more like we belonged, creatively, and the decisions we made were more confident. Yes, Ludo are interesting and weird at times, and the record is all over the place. It is strange and over the top, but there are much more serious songs And then there are the creepy songs, theatricality.
Where does that theatricality come from? Were you theater kids?
It was always a part of what we do. We grew up doing theater stuff and the music that comes out is theater stuff. We have a flair for the dramatic that just comes out. We also focus on telling stories and developing characters. It comes out. We did high school plays but nothing too insane or Hollywood’ish.
What’s the creepy element a product of? Creepy guys are sort of “in” in 2010.
The creepy guys come out! The song abut Whipped Cream is about creepy douchebags at the bar. ‘Skeletons on Parade; is about skeletons and the dead rising, so that is creepy.
So what’s your creepiest tour story?
Too many to start.
Okay, then what is the creepiest thing about St. Louis?
[[Asks band]] The Lemp Mansion. It’s a haunted mansion that the Lemp familiy had. People commit suicide. They supposedly had -- how to do it say politely-- a deformed child locked up in a room. There was an exorcism performed at the St Louis University Hospital. That is really creepy. The Arch is creepy, too. I think it. It doesn’t serve a purpose.
Maybe there is something stored within it!
It’s cool, but what’s it there for.
Famous last words?
See us on tour. That’s the best representation of what we do!