One-man band St. Lucia comes to the Casbah July 25
By Logan Broyles | SDUN Reporter
It takes a talented musician to run a one-person, international pop band. Fortunately, Jean-Philip Grobler of St. Lucia has bounced around the globe studying music since he was a child.
Originally from South Africa, Grobler grew up singing for the Drakensburg Boys Choir and has since toured all over the world. He discovered the joys of pop and electronic music in his teens and moved to England for three years to continue studying music in Liverpool.
Eventually he settled in New York City and, in 2012, founded St. Lucia, an electro-pop project that serves as homage to the various music styles Grobler has studied. Grobler described his music as a version of “nostalgic world pop.”
St. Lucia’s self-titled debut EP is currently available, with six singles including “Before the Dive” and “We Got it Wrong.” The band’s first full-length album is in the works and set to come out later this year. Grobler said he has been practically living in his recording studio lately, as he works to finish it, thought he does not like to consider it work.
“I stopped working the moment it started feeling like work, and I feel like that’s kept things fresh and exciting for me,” Grobler said. “Of course, there’s a lot of things you can do when you’re not feeling inspired, like editing vocal takes and stuff like that, but I always try to keep my creative work to the times when I’m feeling inspired.”
All those hours in the studio have been a learning experience for Grobler as he evolves as a musician. Saying the EP and album have influences from pop music from the 1970s to the 1990s, Grobler calls the feel “dreamy, nostalgic” and “slightly melancholy.”
“It’s a natural progression from what I was doing in the past, but basically the first time that I think all, or most of my, musical influences have been expressed in one project,” he said. “Mainly, I just want to make the best album that I feel I can make at this point in time. From there, we’ll have to see where that takes us. I’m not too far off though, I don’t think.”
Grobler’s music has been compared to Peter Gabriel, mixed with a more contemporary electronic band like Empire of the Sun. He plays a plethora of instruments for the band, naturally, including all sorts of electronic mixing equipment, guitar riffs, pianos, and even the occasional sax solo for good measure.
“I learned to trust my instincts, and not be afraid of any of my influences or ideas,” Grobler said. “As you grow as a musician, you realize that all forms of music are beautiful, and that it’s about what makes you feel something rather than what a group of people think is cool at a specific time.”
Neon Gold will release St. Lucia’s debut album later this year, the same label that helped launch releases for Passion Pit, Ellie Goulding and The Naked & Famous.
“I’ve never actually been to San Diego, but I’ve heard a lot of good things about it,” Grobler said. “One of my friends here in New York is from there, and he’s always boasting about the weather. The weather in South Africa is pretty amazing too, so we’ll have to see if it can match up.”
The band will be playing at the Casbah, 2501 Kettner Blvd., on Wednesday, July 25. Tickets are $8 and doors open at 8:30 p.m. Dr. Seahorse and Maren Parusel open before St. Lucia. For more information visit facebook.com/stlucianewyork and for tickets visit casbahmusic.com or call 619-232-4355.