The Lumineers, a folk group based out of Denver, Colo., is riding the success of its self-titled album released in April. This weekend, the band is bringing the folk to Minnesota’s Basilica Block Party.
Before performing in what looks to be one of Minneapolis’ biggest music festivals this summer, The Lumineers’ frontman, Wesley Schultz, talked with us about the band’s struggle for recognition, their hit single, “Ho Hey,” and more.
You’ve been trying to break through for a number of years in various bands. How crazy has your life become now that you’ve seemingly been thrust into the limelight?
It’s pretty crazy. We used to be spending a lot of time working for our jobs then squeezing in time for music. Now, music is the therapy through it all. So, life is crazy because everybody wants you at one place at once. It is a little bit nuts sometimes.
Did you know, when you were writing “Ho Hey,” that it would be a hit single?
No way! We were more writing in a way to get under peoples’ skin in a lot of our live shows that we were playing – crowded bars or not crowded bars. Trying to get people to shout out “hey.” Just trying to get people to shout out momentarily and listen. But it’s also a double-edge sword, because if you don’t have anything beyond that, people will kind of dislike you even more. So, we were trying to have a good song.
Through all your recent success, you’ve managed to stay humble and appreciative of the ride. What keeps you grounded?
We try to. We spend most of our time not doing anything that resembles success. A lot of it has to do with preparation, putting in time, saying yes to any gig that’s offered to us.
Is it true you found your cellist, Neyla, on Craigslist? How did that unfold?
Neyla gave us a call and we just took a chance. She was one of two people to call us back – her and some middle-aged dude. We lucked out with her. She’s been really great.
Your self-titled album, “The Lumineers,” took four years of writing and three years of recording. What was it like to finally see it come to fruition?
The cool part of it is that we were able to do things on our own terms for that first record. Initially, we were just short on time with doing everything, so we had to take our time with it and have it down how we pictured it in our heads. It was really fortunate. I was really happy it turned out that way and that we were stubborn in that way.
What kind of messages do you send in your music? What do you want listeners to get out of your music?
We don’t send messages. We just write songs. People think what they do from them, but we don’t wave banners or stand behind flags or whatever. We have people figure out how they connect with it.
How is the band’s songwriting process?
We develop the song in a very small way, a minimal level. From there, we work on that foundation and begin fleshing out instruments … bass, cello.
You’re coming to the Basilica Block Party this weekend. What can fans expect from your show?
I don’t know! We’re gonna play the songs we play on the record. We’re just excited to play Minneapolis again — truly excited. We recently played there, and it was an amazing experience. We had a really warm welcome.
The Lumineers play at the 18th annual Cities 97 Basilica Block Party on Saturday at 6 p.m. to 7 p.m.
To see the “Ho Hey” music video, click here!