It’s hard to believe that the last Cliks album (Dirty King) was released way back in 2009. That’s not to say there hasn’t been anything going on, since then singer and permanent musician Lucas Silveira has been a very busy man. Now the wait is over because on April 23rd, The Cliks will be releasing their new album – Black Tie Elevator. We caught up with Lucas to ask him a couple of questions about music and life and found out that he’s pretty awesome.
NewNowNext (NNN): What inspired you to get involved with music?
Lucas Silveira (LS): I can’t say I was directly inspired to get involved, it was more that I was born into it. My family is very musical. My dad was a trumpet player and a singer, my brother is also a musician and my sister played sax. Music was always something that was regarded as being important for us and always nurtured. Since I can remember, music has been a part of my life and honestly, I’ve never thought of anything else that has been as important so it was just a natural progression for me to go from being so involved in it within my family structure and then to moving into doing it professionally.
NNN: Are there any artists that have had a big influence on your sound or the way you write? What is it about them that has that impact on you?
LS: Absolutely. I’ve grown through the years as a songwriter and I think a lot of that growth has been based on my retreating to musical influences so yes, definitely. On this particular record I felt my connections to soul and blues music revive, from artists like Otis Redding, Stevie Wonder, Lenny Kravitz and The Doors. Stuff like that. And it was all brought back to me when I fell deeply in love with Amy Winehouse when Back To Black came out. I’ve always loved that feeling of music which is all based on the emotion and passion of the singer. I think the genre of soul music in the way that I hear soul music in that retro vibe is something that had a deep effect on me long ago. There’s so much passion in how you say what you’re saying and I think it really feels like home to me.
NNN: Your band, The Cliks, have a new album coming out – Black Tie Elevator. Can you tell us more about it?
LS: Black Tie Elevator will be released on April 23rd. It was produced by Hill Kourkoutis who is not only a friend of mine but is an amazing talent based out of Toronto. Hill is also a performer and songwriter and for the first time in a very long time I took a stab at co-writing a couple of songs on this record with her. The result was our lead single Savanna which we wrote together in a couple of hours and demo’ed in less than a day. It was the first time on a record that I have completely felt trust in my producer and let go of wanting a lot of control. Hill is also a multi-instrumentalist so she played a lot of the stuff on the record which I fully welcomed because she saw my vision. When you have that in a producer, you’ve hit gold. We made this record mainly in a little basement studio and it was the most satisfying recording experience I’ve ever had. It was mainly just the two of us putting it all together and then I had some horn players and string players come in as well as putting a live drummer on there. Otherwise, the band is mainly Hill and me. My main focus on this record personally was to write the songs and do what I love to do most, sing.
NNN: Can we expect a tour?
LS: Absolutely. We start a North East Coast tour May 1st. We’ll be performing in Boston, North Hampton, Brooklyn, Philly, Washington, Columbus, Chicago, Detroit, and we end up in Toronto doing our formal CD release party and some as of yet unconfirmed Canadian dates are being added. We are planning on touring throughout the rest of the year and will most likely be hitting the West Coast and a mid West tour in August and also playing some Pride Festivals through the summer.
NNN: Speaking of touring if you could pick one act, living or dead, is there anybody you dream of going on the road with?
LS: Oh wow. That’s a tough one. David Bowie or Prince. I can’t make up my mind on that one.
NNN: Three albums you think should be in everyone’s collection.
LS: Grace by Jeff Buckley, Back to Black by Amy Winehouse and Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club by The Beatles.
NNN: As someone who is transgender, is there anything you would want to say to younger people who are going through the same thing?
LS: Stop wanting to be something you’re not and accept who you are as normal. I think the greatest isolating feeling of being trans is that you are unique to your personal identity because of your so called issues with gender. Transgender people don’t have issues with gender or so called gender dysphoria, it’s the world around us that has an issue with us. I’m getting bored of the idea that I’m somehow unique. I’m not a unicorn and neither is any other trans person. We’re all just people.
NNN: Since coming out as trans, your life has obviously changed in a number of ways. Your website mentions that you moved to Brooklyn and wrote a solo album, has the change of scenery impacted your music?
LS: I did move to Brooklyn but am no longer there but yes, it completely changed my music. In fact, it was living in Brooklyn that made me start writing almost all of the material on Black Tie Elevator. I wrote the song Still in the middle of the night in an apartment in Bushwick. Brooklyn is incredibly inspiring as a songwriter and artist but it can also be extremely isolating. I came in wanting to heal a broken heart and be reborn and I was but by the end of my stint there I found out that it wasn’t Brooklyn that was going to heal me, it was being home so I moved back to Toronto.
NNN: What is your favorite part of living in New York?
LS: The transit system. It’s pretty unbelievable. I also really just love the people. I think New York gets such a bad rap and people get called rude all the time. The only rude people I’ve ever met in New York are usually tourists. New Yorkers have this way about helping people that really blows my mind. I got lost once at a metro station and had a construction worker walk me to where I needed to go. Just a regular working Joe probably on his way to work taking time out of his day to help out a complete stranger. And you see that sort of thing all the time.
NNN: Is there any place you see yourself in the next five years?
LS: I’d love to see myself on a beach in the Caribbean drinking bourbon sours and collecting royalties for a hit I wrote for Justin Bieber but in all truth, I try not to think about the future too much. Where ever I end up, I guess it’s where I’m supposed to be.
You can check out a few samples from Black Tie Elevator on The Cliks’ music page, hopefully it can hold you over until the album comes out. You can also see if The Cliks are coming to a city near you. And don’t forget to buy the album on iTunes April 23rd, it’s an experience not to be missed.