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December/January 2016

by Briar Lawry

Fresh Talent: The Lucid Effect

by Briar Lawry

Fresh Talent: The Lucid Effect

In his endeavours managing, marketing and making his own music, Declan Ramsey is a self-described nerd, the kind to be found geeking out over gear and tour cost spreadsheets. Declan’’s ‘band’, The Lucid Effect is primarily a one-man operation – with a little help from his friends at times. 

“I liked the idea of it being a catch-all for all different incarnations of my music. It makes a consistent brand.””

Branding and reaching fans – both current and potential new listeners –are things that Declan pays a lot of attention to.

“Things are changing so quickly. My solution is to be everywhere: Bandcamp, Spotify, Patreon – I love their approach.””

He also sings the praises of DistroKid, a start-up that streamlines the process of hitting all the platforms needed. Stretching himself between the different online outlets has some serious benefits. While not financially helpful in the short term, Spotify he rates as essential, and he’’s found that the dedicated fans really do care,– and pay accordingly. “Of all the people who purchased the EP on Bandcamp, only one paid the minimum price.””

Practicality regarding touring has also paid dividends. “Instead of blocking out a few weeks, I stretched it out over a couple of weekends. And it was basically dive bars, minimum…”

In his hometown of New Plymouth he played in his mother’’s lounge,– his high school songwriting mentor Peter Jefferies opening for him.

“One of my earlier jobs was as an event organiser and gig promoter,– so when I toured I learned from other band’s’ mistakes. I actually managed to break even, with a little beer money profit on top of that!””

His incredibly detailed spreadsheets also helped, with breakdowns of all costs involved. But what of the EP ‘I Came From A Dark Place’’ itself? Aside from one track (Our Great Escape) which was recorded at the NZ School of Music when Declan was studying sonic arts), the record was recorded in his Berhampore home studio, named Studio Lucidette.

‘It’’s not a huge set-up,” he says, before enthusiastically rattling off the current set-up. “I use a Rode NT1-A condenser mic, with a Tascam US-366 interface  and a MacBook Pro running Logic.””

He says that his lyrical influences have varied considerably over time. With “…quite considerable trauma,”” – the unexpected death of friends, the diagnosis of nocturnal epilepsy – there has been a lot deal with, and music has provided a means of processing.

“When I first started writing songs, I imagined stories about people I saw on the street. But it’’s evolved to be much more personal now.”

‘‘I Came From A Dark Place’’ is a title that tells the record’’s own story –– from difficulty through to something new, something lighter – a universal experience told in a very personal way.