by Leci Solis
Kate Wakefield and Daisy Caplan are a powerful two-piece massive rock band from Cincinnati, Ohio. Their music is playfully dark. A delicious witchy brew. A sweet concoction made out of blended sounds such as Tori Amos melodies, a Rasputina heavy-rocking cello, and relentless metal-like drum beats.
LUNG's sound is massive and visceral yet oddly poignant. It is a theatricality in Kate's refined voice that is so engaging as she sings bold and biting lyrics. She sings, "And I know life is better when it hurts me" as gorgeous harmonizing howls sustain the chorus; the distinctive finesse in Kate's vocal acrobatics are indicative of classical training. Daisy's relentless and pulsating drums serve as a percussive narrator. The fueling drum beat at the end of every musical phrase augments the energy until their sound explodes. With every hit, the prowess in the electrifying cello is amplified. And yes, the electric cello is a bad-ass replacement for guitar as demonstrated by LUNG.
The duo formed in 2016, while Daisy Caplan (formerly in Babe Rage, Foxy Shazam) and classical singer & cellist Kate Wakefield began crafting songs together in their leisure time. The following year had both rockers embarked on an extensive tour before even recording their first full-length album Bottom of the Barrel. It was recorded in 2 days at John Hoffman's The Lodge, a hospitable recording studio in Kentucky whose guest list includes The Kills, Wussy, and Walk the Moon among many more.
The quality of Daisy's and Kate's compositions, their heavier songs, their sonic chemistry, and dynamism is fully synchronized. The percussion propels the music into an explosive sound that shatters everything in its path and disperses like smoke. LUNG has performed at over 200 stages, and received airplay in Europe and Africa. They begin their 3-week Texas tour and will output a 14 track record pretty soon. We just cannot wait.
LUNG made a pit-stop at Laredo's own Second Chance Music Record Store on March 10 before heading to SXSW Festival in Austin, Texas. Before the show, we timidly introduced ourselves to the Cincinnati duo and asked them for an interview. The enchanting Kate and bizarrely charming Daisy are incredibly kind, so they said yes.
I N T E R V I E W
Indiemuck: So, your sound as a band is very massive and potent, yet it's only comprised of two individuals. How do you guys channel the energy to fill up an entire room?
Kate: Well, firstly thank you for the compliment. That is really really nice of you to say. I think, like one thing is... we just... write music that has really dense chords and also, we do put the electric cello through two bass amps. And that's on purpose. We turn it really loud because we do want it to be massive. We want it to feel like a big big metal band, or like...just a big rock band, you know. And then Daisy really knows how to hit the drums. Oh my god.
You're just like this propeller!
Daisy: Thank you. I think the big thing is just knowing the dynamic range of what you're working with. You know, a lot of people, they use just the pedals to get up and down, volume-wise and fuel-wise. And we practice a lot with dynamic and the flow, you know. Make sure everything flows right.
The chemistry between you guys, you guys are very musically compatible. How do you guys craft so many songs in such a short-span of time? You are such a young band yet you have an EP and a full-length album already.
Kate: We just love to...we're both like the same kinda crazy as far as writing goes. We both love to write. We both love to practice. So when we're not on tour we just go to the practice room pretty much everyday and practice songs we also already have and then...also just jam out and come up with ideas. It's just a lot going on in the world right now, there's a lot of music too that I feel like I want to write, you know. What do you think, Daisy?
Daisy: I think that's about right. We both love writing music. It's more fun than not writing music.
I also read that you think that a band develops overtime and it evolves. Where are you guys headed towards musically right now?
Daisy: That's a good question. We were headed to--no, just kidding.
Kate: Well, maybe we'll- oh, were you gonna make a joke?
Daisy: I was gonna say we were headed to Laredo, but we are in Laredo.
Kate: We were at-- did you know I kept saying that we were in Laredo?
Yeah! "Laredo Laredo Laredo!" (on Kate's Misadventures Blog)
Kate: I kept saying that we were in Laredo and Daisy's like, 'No, we're not in Laredo yet. We're not in Laredo yet.' Well, actually we are gonna be releasing a new album soon so maybe we'll send that to you. We are gonna be releasing a whole another full-length album in the summer, most likely. I mean, it's all done, it's just a matter of getting it out. So maybe we'll send it your way. You can do a review on it or something.
Thank you! Where did you guys record this album at? At Hoffman's too?
Daisy: We recorded with [John] Hoffman. He became the studio manager of a 70's Dance Funk studio called Ultrasuede in Cincinnati and we recorded it there. It's such a great studio. It's like, the shag carpeting on the walls.
Kate: Super vibey.
Daisy: It was owned by the Cincinnati band Midnight Star at one point. They were a 70's dance band. They were awesome.
Kate: Then the Afghan Whigs, John Curley.
Daisy: Yeah, he owns it now. It's great. It's pretty sweet. But it's definitely, in terms of where we are heading, to answer your question, some of it is heavier and crazier and them some of it is like...
Kate: Poppier! [laughs] It's weird.
Daisy: It's like more extreme in both directions.
I know you guys don't like artificiality in your sound. It's very primal and raw. Would you ever consider adding more members or is it just a two-piece thing?
Kate: I think it's just a two-piece. I mean, probably cause it's just like once something works, why mess with it, you know?
Daisy: I mean, we do fun stuff sometimes. We have a friend named Wonky Tonk and we played a show with her and her band and she is a country musician. And it was cool but it felt like two different bands playing. And I think when it's us, we feel like one thing. Sometimes we play with other people but it's us plus someone else rather than more LUNG, you know what I'm saying? It's sort of becomes a different thing. Which is cool, too. We like stuff like that. But it's just a different platform.
At what age did you pick up the cello? Also, are you vocally classically trained? 'Cause I can hear it!
Kate: Oh... okay. Gosh, you're so freaking nice. You should just come with us on tour. So you can say nice things and make us feel better.
Daisy: Can you play? Sing back-up? Play maracas? You can play drums so I can do black-flips.
Kate: I started cello when I was a young kid and then I quit cello in high school 'cause I got tendinitis. I mean, whatever, you know. Bodies always fail you no matter what you do. But yeah, I quit cello for a long time. And then, 'cause I couldn't play cello I started singing and I did go to school for opera singing. I got my undergrad degree and my master's in that. And then, you know how I said everything always fails? Your body always fail? Then I got a vocal disorder where I couldn't really speak for a while and I picked my cello back up again. And started just playing music for fun and writing music on the cello. It kinda became a big part of therapy and recovery playing that instrument. Then gradually through vocal therapy my voice came back, too. So, it's been a process of random things failing, but it's been good.
You have an amazing range and you do all these vocal acrobatics!
Kate: Oh, thanks!
Now, Daisy. You used to play bass for Foxy Shazam.
Daisy: That is true.
And then you switched to drums for Babe Rage.
Daisy: I did.
So, are you... permanently a drummer now?
Daisy: I guess. It sort of feels natural. I never thought I'd be a drummer, but I just picked it up and it felt right. Then I kept doing it.
On your Facebook it says Meg White for Lung (as job description).
Daisy: And [Kate] is Jack White...that's about right. That makes sense. Nah, I don't know. I picked up a bass the other day and played with some people but it felt like...eh. I don't know 'cause I don't-- are you ever just done with something? Maybe I'll come back to it, like the way, you know where Kate's talking about eventually doing something else. But right now this is what feels well, what's right. It feels like a way to move forward with writing and being a musician.
Is it your first time in Laredo, Texas?
Daisy: Absolutely. I've never been here before. Foxy Shazam never made it down here.
Well, you guys were big.
Daisy: Yeah, but we should've come to Laredo! This place is awesome! Like there are certain places in the United States that I feel are geographically tucked a little bit away. Duluth is like this, that we've played. Bangor, Maine and I get there and it's like...THIS TOWN IS AWESOME. Why did nobody tell me about this town? And that's how we've both felt all day. We've been walking around taking it in. It's a cool freaking town.
Yeah! And how did you hear about *points to venue* this? How did you hear about Laredo?
Daisy: I think David Dondero played here. I book him every once in a while and I saw it on his tour schedule. I was like, 'That's cool. I wanna play there.' And then I wrote Beto, 'Hey, can we play there?' And he was like, 'Absolutely. Let's do this.'
And we don't have a lot of bands coming down... but we've had recently!
Daisy: Which you should.
We've had Acid Tongue, Candace and now you! 'cause you're amazing! Did you know that we, uh? ...I know that you love birds.
Kate: I do love birds!
Did you know that we have a Birding Festival here? This year we had a lot of people come down from other states.
Kate: No! That's so cool! That's amazing! Well, we're gonna have to play on a tour around the Birding Festival.
Daisy: We should just play the Birding Festival.
Kate: [laughs] But then we'd scare the birds! Oh, I love birds.
So, the last question...oh yeah! You have pretty weird stories from other tours. How about in Texas? What are some strange happenings so far?
Daisy: In Texas specifically?
Or no. But this tour, 'cause it barely started.
Daisy: I mean, we played a Renaissance Festival two days ago. That was pretty crazy... Like actually everybody was dressed up.
Kate: And we weren't! No, we weren't dressed up. Daisy-- this is not a story-- Daisy can name a hundred cities in Texas. 'Cause first-- we were in Texas a year and a half ago. We played in some small towns, then we played... was it Beaumont? Yeah. We were in Beaumont and we were outside hanging out and Daisy knows his Texas cities. That's not really answering your question.
Daisy: It was fifty. I mean, Texas is big. Fifty isn't that much.
Kate: You named fifty Texas cities. You did it in front of a room full of Texans.
Daisy: But it was funny because I did that but I forgot about it completely. Then we went back to Beaumont to play at the Renaissance Festival and they were like, 'Aren't you that guy who named fifty cities in Texas?!' And I'm like, I forgot about that!
Kate: He has a reputation in Texas.
Daisy: 'It's that city guy! That's the guy who knows!' I don't know. What else are some funny stories?
Kate: In Texas...? Oooh, shit! I mean...well, this is not funny. Well, the first time we were here was when Trump got elected so that was sad.
Daisy: Yeah, we played a show in Denton with Street Sects who are from Austin. And... it was a weird show anyways, but they're this real heavy, they're our buds, heavy industrial band. They filled up the room with fog. Within the same ten minutes, it comes across that Trump gets elected, Street Sects is playing so loud and the fog is so dense like you can't see their heads in front of your face. Then the cops come and bust up this party. So, there's these cops who are coming who think that the building is on fire! There's naked people running around in the fog in Denton.
Kate: 'Cause it was like a house party.
Daisy: Yeah, and these cops are going in like, 'What the hell? What is going on here!?' Just cannot fathom what the hell is happening. And it was just chaos! It was a real weird night.
Oh! I know you tasted mole? Can you tell us where you went to eat? What was the name of the restaurant?
Kate: Yes! I took a picture of the... is it Tomatillos? Is there a place called that?
Daisy: It was right around the corner. Tomatillos sounds right. It was delicious. It's on this street, right here, that way. It was ridiculously good.
Kate: I took a picture of the menu cause I thought it was so good. But I'd never had mole. And it was super good.
Yeah, it's like peanuts and...
Kate: Chocolate, yeah. It was delicious. I couldn't get over it. That's the fun thing about touring.
Thank you so much for coming to Laredo and to grace us with your presence.
Kate: Thanks for interviewing us and being so chill. And any help that we can do for your blog. If you want, if there is anyone you wanna interview in our area, we'd love to put you in touch.
I actually lived in Ohio for 6 months.
Kate: What? Where in Ohio?
In Cleveland. Do you guys ever play there cause, I didn't see any shows there.
Kate: We've never...we oddly have never played Cleveland. We've never played Cleveland!
Daisy: We've played in Akron, though, which is just forty-five minutes away.
Kate: But never Cleveland. I've played Cleveland solo. But we've never done Cleveland.
Daisy: We're too busy playing Laredo.
Kate: Yeah, we just wanted to come to Laredo.
Daisy: I mean, it's right there. We'll get to it eventually. You wait up there, Cleveland!
Kate: Yeah, Cleveland can wait. Laredo cannot!
And lastly, for genre. I know you guys don't really identify with any sort of genre. So, what is it that you guys belong to?
Kate: I don't know. What do you think we belong to? We're like...
Daisy: We belong to rock music.
Kate: We're like a blender of...if you threw like metal and rock and indie.
Apocalyptica and St. Vincent?
Kate: Yeah, just throw in a bunch of stuff in a blender and you get like a weird cello thrown in there and Daisy.
Daisy: That would be-- Apocalyptica would make sense.
Kate: Tori Amos! Oh my god. I saw her live in Chicago. It was insane. She is amazing.But yeah, I think it's like if Tori Amos was metal. Was a little more...
I love Tori Amos.Yes! That makes sense!
Kate: But yeah. I love her.
Daisy: She is great.
Kate: She is like melodically, she is an inspiration. And she just beats the hell out of her instrument. Aw, I knew I liked you. You're a Tori Amos fan. Heck yeah!