BY SID MARCH
Lucas Silveira is a musician, visual artist and frontman of a band you’ve probably seen play at Pride by now: The Cliks. After releasing his solo album “Mockingbird” in 2011, Silveira has returned with producer Hill Kourkoutis to release a new Cliks album unlike anything you have heard from them before.
With a different sound, a slick look, and Silveira’s husky, deeper voice (Silveira, who is transgender, started taking testosterone prior to recording “Mockingbird”, but it’s his first Cliks album since transitioning), “Black Tie Elevator” goes a whole new, sexy direction.
We caught up with The Cliks’ Lucas Silveira to talk about his creative ventures, personal life and bridging genres.
“Black Tie Elevator: is the long anticipated upcoming new Cliks album. You’re the only original member of the Cliks still in the band, so who is playing with you on the new album?
Most of the instruments are myself with my producer Hill Kourkoutris. I always call her my little genius! She played a lot of the bass, guitar, keys; we went back and forth. There’s also a local Toronto dummer, a couple horn players, and a string arrangement by Mike Olsen.
Who will you take on the road if you tour?
Because I’ve been doing this a while, this has pretty much become my project and I can’t expect any other players to put all their energy into something that’s not their personal project. I had to scout and I ended up finding some pretty amazing players, including a bass player from Boston, Dhy Berry who’s a phenomenal Berkelee kid, and another Berkelee kid, drummer Stephanie Barker. I am also going to be taking my partner/fiancée on the road with me, Skye Chevelleau. She’s a keyboard player and she sings on one of the songs on “Black Tie Elevator.”
This is totally inappropriate of me, but she’s super hot!
Yea, she’s a babe! I’m a lucky guy!
You so are! Anyway, back to the band.
I’m fumbling around with if I will play or if this guy Griffin, just simply “Griffin”, might. We haven’t been in touch for like 14 years. He used to play in a band with my brother, but I texted him and I was like “hey, want to do this?” and he was like “yea!”
I really want to focus on singing. With this record, it’s all about my voice and feeling comfortable in it, giving my all from within in it.
The sound is really different. The production seems like its gone a whole different direction, even though there’s this undeniable Lucas thing going on.
The strangest thing for me was the attachment people have to the style and genre of music I used to do. Obviously with transition my voice changed, and it’s completely not something I did personally but my style of music kind of transitioned with me. Testosterone changes not just the way you look but for me, it changed the way I create and my artistic process. I started feeling really connected to the roots of what I loved when I was younger, a lot of blues and soul music, and it naturally started coming out of me. Still, everybody was perturbed that the genre was changing.
People started feeling alienated from me and the band when I changed and transitioned physically and vocally, but I think a lot of people have come around. I have had so much support from the lesbian community: my core audience! It’s been a balancing act.
You did the cover art work? That’s a self portrait, I’m brilliantly assuming?
Yes, I did! I worked very closely with my producer Hill not just on the music but on the entire concept of the album. She’s a very close friend and I’ve been talking to her about this for about three years. I wanted to be comfortable with somebody I was working with who really knew where I was coming from. But how do I package this? You start scratching your head. The cover is usually easy: a photo of the lead singer or a photo of the band or whatever. But Hill said, “you’re an artist, paint something! Steam punk art, paint a picture of yourself!” I started thinking about how my insides really changed, I had this different sort of pathway in my thoughts and emotions, hence the machine in the back of my head.
Tell me more about your visual art and when you started actually selling pieces. What’s your favorite medium?
I have been creative visually since I was super young, but I thought “I’m a musician, I’m not really an artist, it’s just something I do on the side.” I got a break with the transition and decided to get back into into it. It’s the closest thing to me for meditating: I do something, go into it, don’t think about anything else. I never thought I could sell any of my art and I kinda just put it on Facebook and started getting emails saying, “I want to buy this!” And I was like, yea! I like this idea!
I love working with black ink and black pens. I’m simple, I’m not trained in anyway.
I heard you might be doing an art show.
That’s something I really want to do! Art takes time; good art takes a lot of time. It took me 4-5 days to do that painting on the cover (it’s really big)! I think it will be at World Pride in Toronto, I believe in 2014, that’s what we’re aiming for.
OK, now things are going to get personal! Most of your fans know you’re fairly recently engaged. Do you have a wedding date set yet?
Oh hell no! People always ask me that. Me and Skye are both artists and when it comes to that, we’re super chill. Our goal would be next year but you know, we have a great agreement between each other; we refused to go into this to get married until we can do something that we like. We are considering eloping because everyone is like, “it was the most stressful day of my life!” Maybe we’ll hit it up with Elvis in Vegas.
You are really active on YouTube. I personally like your version of “What Goes Around” better than Justin Timberlake’s version but don’t tell him! Is that a forum for you to see fan reactions to potential upcoming covers or new songs, or are you using it to network? I don’t see too many musicians posting such awesome and personal free content all the time!
I’ve always loved to do covers. When my voice changed, I didn’t want to tell anybody. I didn’t want to tell anybody I was on testosterone, I felt like I had babysat everyone through every coming out I had: first a lesbian, then a transman, then top surgery and it became so frustrating to have to deal with other people instead of taking care of myself through my own changes. I decided to only tell people close to me. I started using YouTube as a way to slowly get people to hear my voice changing and to see what people’s reactions would be. As the process was happening I started feeling more comfortable with the kind of music I was telling you about: soul, blues, I wanted to show people I wasn’t just a rock musician.
I think it was a transitional tool to get people used to what they’re hearing now. It’s just really fun to take other people’s songs and put your own spin on it! You know it’s a good song when you can do it in any style.
“Black Tie Elevator” will be available on iTunes April 23. To find out more about Lucas, The Cliks or the single to be released April 2, visit TheCliks.com