Former Bostonians and soon-to-be-hitmakers Lake Street Dive just released Fun Machine, an EP of (mostly) cover songs. We caught up with drummer Mike Calabrese and trumpet player/guitarist Mike Olson prior to their double-header at Club Passim to talk about recording and why people love covers.
What was the recording process like this time around?
Mike Calabrese: It was the first time we were holed up in one place for an entire week. Not only recording there, but sleeping, eating, and showering there.
I actually didn’t leave the house once in that entire week.
Did you go crazy?
MO: A little bit. By the end I was, like, laying on the floor in the control room, you know, not sure what I had just done.
How do you choose which songs you’re going to cover?
MO: That has a lot to do with [vocalist Rachael Price’s] aesthetic. If she hears a song that she feels she can tackle and put her own sort of spin on, that plays into the decision…And then from there we have to figure out whether we can do it or not with our limited instrumentation.
We’ve tried a handful of covers that we couldn’t make sound full enough with just bass and trumpet and drums and background vocals.
What are some covers you’ve abandoned?
MC: We tried once to do “Stuck In the Middle With You,” by Stealers Wheel. We pulled “Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard” out of our ass once. It was awful.
Why do you think covers are so appealing?
MC: A band is going to hopefully do a cover that is an influence for them, or something that they identify with for some reason. In our case, I feel like doing things like “Rich Girl” and “I Want You Back” sort of indicate the soul area we come from.
MO: It’s also a common language between the band and audience.
We choose covers that are usually very recognizable, so there’s this immediate sing-along potential.
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