Wednesday night, Sonos Studio welcomes South African native Jean-Philip Grobler, better known as St. Lucia, to grace a rather full room with an informative Q&A followed by a live set to promote his new album When the Night, officially releasing October 8th.
The studio walls are covered with stunning projections of Diplo’s world travels. Appropriately, the majority of them showcase day to day moments in Cape Town, South Africa. During the interview, anxious onlookers silently sip their cocktails and listen as Grobler details his unassuming journey from growing up in Johannesburg, the classical choir boy days in a boarding school in the mountains and selling out one of Los Angeles’s esteemed venues Echoplex in just a few hours this week. He asserts that though it is a daunting task to play new music to such a large, hopeful crowd, the band is able to hold it together throughout.
Grobler has come a long way from his modest upbringing in South Africa to fronting what is possibly one of the most promising new musical projects of 2013. St. Lucia’s appeal stems from its unique sound. The frontman explains that their tribal-tropical blend can be traced back to the start of his edgy grunge experimental days. Alas, in a quest to create something new, he draws on his African roots and “guilty pleasure” ’80s hits for inspiration. As silly as it is, he decides that the band name will come from an experiment with picking a random location on a world map; and voila! A star is born.
St. Lucia naturally experiment with translating their unique sound from the studio days to the stage. They whisk you away on a tropical island vacation with various synths, sweet echoing harmonies and fresh bouncy beats. The perfect blend of what makes you smile and sigh. He explains that the album juxtaposes several emotions from elation to despair. Without a doubt, it also carries a nostalgic tone throughout. This is most evident when they passionately burst into “Before the Dive.” Listening to “I hope that we will never regret / Seeing sinners of the night / ‘Cause we can not, can’t ever, no we can not / take it back, no,” elevates the reminiscent vibes. Upbeat tunes like the new “Wait for Love,” in addition to personal favorite “All Eyes on You,” pick up the morale and heat the room up quickly. Band members encourage the crowd to jump and dance. Sing-a-longs ensue. Heavier bass in songs like “Elevate” and “September” create a greater impact, making the moment all the more satisfying.
About a week after the official album release, St. Lucia will tour with Two Door Cinema Club. Hold your breath til When the Night officially drops because the final product will undoubtedly be worth the wait.
Before the Dive
Closer Than This
Wait for Love
We Got It Wrong
All Eyes on You
The Way You Remember Me