By Nicholas Jason Lopez
Dubbed both “The Mad Scientist Of Music” and “The Art Kid From The Country,” singer-songwriter Lucas Carpenter is used to riding solo, as he is his own auxiliary player and adds penny whistles, percussion, keyboards and more to his quirky act.
Made with the help of Kevin Rooney (Rascal Flatts), his latest EP ‘The Shimmer’ explores his reflection upon the long journey to musical recognition, with the natural highs and lows life provides for free.
The Music Bugle had the chance to talk to Carpenter about ‘The Shimmer’ and more.
Music Bugle – What creative advantages do you feel come with being a singer-songwriter?
Lucas Carpenter – You’re your own boss in many ways. It’s like a “Choose Your Own Adventure” book. You’re responsible for your own creativity and what you put out there into the world. You’re also able to sing your own story and I think people relate much more to songs when they’re coming from the person who actually wrote them.
Music Bugle – Have you been working on any new music?
Lucas Carpenter – I just put out a new EP called ‘The Shimmer,’ which is streaming everywhere! It was produced by my friend Kevin Rooney – of Rascal Flatts – and it’s pretty tasty, if I do say so myself!
Music Bugle – Which of your songs were the hardest to write?
Lucas Carpenter – Sometimes, I’ll have a concept for a song, but it will take a while to get around to finishing it for whatever reason. The song “Tiny Fortress” is fairly simple, but it took a while to come out of me, because it was incredibly personal. Sometimes, you’re too close to something and it’s too fresh, so you have to step away and come back to it later.
Music Bugle – What makes you the most proud about where you come from?
Lucas Carpenter – Probably my family. We’ve been through a lot in my lifetime and we’re still very close. They’ve always been very supportive of me and my journey and have taught me a lot. My dad is a mortician, so I was raised above a funeral home. You learn a lot about life when you’re surrounded by death your whole life and you can find hilarity and beauty in just about any situation. Also, Williamsport, Pennsylvania is the Little League capital of the world…that’s something to be proud of!
Music Bugle – Does social media help or hurt musicians?
Lucas Carpenter – I think it does both. In some ways, it’s incredibly difficult to get your work seen, because you’re not just in competition with other artists posting music, you’re in competition with pictures of people’s kids, meals they’re eating, vacations, political articles, memes and everything else your followers’ social media feeds are bombarded with. On the other side of things, pretty much anyone, anywhere in the world can post their art and build an audience, which is incredible. You just have to figure out how to get it seen. I think social media and the internet in general, is so new that we’re like toddlers, stumbling over ourselves trying to figure out how it works. It can be very destructive, but it’s changed the world in so many amazing, beautiful ways. It’s like the human race!
Music Bugle – How have you been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic?
Lucas Carpenter – The release of the EP got pushed back about six months and obviously, touring isn’t an option. It’s given me a ton of time to work on my one-man-band live show, though. I’ve also been making a ton of videos – music videos, live looping, acoustic and cover videos, which has been really great. I’m definitely itching to get back out on tour though!
Music Bugle – Where do you go when you need an escape?
Lucas Carpenter – I walk a lot and I try to be in nature as often as I can. I garden and also hunt as well – mostly deer, but getting into small game, so whenever it’s hunting season, I very much enjoy being out in the woods. It’s incredibly meditative and spiritual for me. It’s a lot less shooting stuff and more so just hiking with a gun and/or an excuse to eat snacks in the woods! I also process and eat everything I kill, plus have made many other projects from my harvests, including a hoof rattle – which you can hear on my song “Tiny Fortress” – and a djembe drum made from a deer hide. All that processing is a ton of work, but it’s incredibly rewarding.
Music Bugle – Who are you listening to right now, music-wise?
Lucas Carpenter – Lots of female pop artists. I love Kylie Minogue’s ‘Disco’ album, along with a healthy stream of Carly Rae Jepsen and Robyn. Mika’s new album ‘My Name Is Michael Holbrook’ is pretty awesome, just great pop writing and production. Really bummed his Nashville show was cancelled right after Covid hit. Lots of live albums from my favorites like Paul Simon, Sting, Paul McCartney and Dave Matthews Band. I tend to find artists I like and go pretty hard on their whole catalogue. (Laughs)
Music Bugle – What are your goals for 2021?
Lucas Carpenter – To promote the new EP as much as possible and make a lot of videos from home. I’m going to start regularly live streaming shows in the next few months and I’d like to possibly release a few other songs before the end of the year. It would be awesome to actually play a show in person before the end of the year, but we’ll see how that goes!
Music Bugle – What’s something you wish happened more in today’s music industry?
Lucas Carpenter – It would be nice if the music industry could focus more on developing talented artists over time. It’s very much about having big social media numbers. The music is an afterthought, because anyone can be turned into an “artist” if they have the followers already paying attention. A lot of times, labels will give folks one shot and move on if it doesn’t hit. It took Tom Petty several records to finally break and if the label hadn’t kept trying, we wouldn’t have one of the greatest songwriters of the 20th Century. They still screwed over artists back then, but at least when they saw talent, they kept trying to push it beyond one album.