To call Jess Wolfe and Holly Laessig of Lucius bandmates or even best friends barely scratches the surface. Since meeting at the Berklee College of Music nearly a decade ago, they’ve built a career out of melding their life experiences into cohesive songs and their two voices into one. Their first album, Wildewoman, was released last October, and is rife with tales of peculiar female characters that come to life through Wolfe and Laessig’s energetic harmonies. “They’re sort of representations of people that did exist that are not in our lives anymore,” Wolfe says in a phone interview last week from Los Angeles. “Or, certain songs are about people who are present in our lives and who have made our lives better.”
Their connection is obvious, even over the phone. Wolfe frequently refers to herself as a “we,” and that shared mentality is also what fuels the band’s creative process. “Holly and I have been lucky enough to share parallel experiences. Where friends would normally get together and talk about the good and bad, we get to write about it together,” she says. “We’re fortunate to have someone to bounce things off and someone who can speak for you when you can’t speak for yourself.” It comes as no surprise that Wolfe and Laessig perform as identical twins, sporting the same blunt blonde bobs and angular 60s inspired outfits on stage. Like their music, their stage persona is an extension of their bond.
In the first installment of the Style Record series, Wolfe talks Lucius’ synchronized aesthetic, their style influences and their bizarre haircut routine.
Paste: How has your style changed since you first started performing together?
Wolfe: It’s definitely progressed. When you’re doing something with more than one person, the repetitiveness is bold in itself so you have to be careful not to get too kitschy. I think we’ve matured. We kind of collect images along the way and we use stuff that makes us feel good but also is striking and fun and something that we can both feel good in. We have our own little secret Pinterest board. We collect photograph and stage ideas and also fashion.
Paste: Have specific artists influenced your style?
Wolfe: We always thought the visual presentation of a band was really important to set a scene and set a tone for your audience. The artists that we are most inspired by are the ones that have strong visual presences like Bjork and The Kinks and David Bowie and Prince. It automatically takes you into a space. You’re transported, and for us, when people look at the stage, you’re not looking at one person, you’re looking at one piece. I think the same goes for when you listen to music. You’re listening to two voices as one.
Paste: You say you and Holly are two voices as one. Is that also why you always match on stage?
Wolfe: Holly always calls it “dressing the sound,” and we’re trying to have a visual representation of what we do and what we sound like. We don’t want people to see two faces, or two singers, because that’s not what we are.
Paste: Do you match off stage as well?
Wolfe: Accidentally. We just went away to rehearse for the weekend and we were wearing jackets since obviously it’s cold out, and we took off our jackets and we were wearing the same outfit. To be quite honest, when we’re not in our outfits, we’re usually in pajamas, because we’re in our outfits so often. I don’t even really know at this moment in time what my personal sense of style is. We just don’t have time to think about it. We’re just sort of in the zone right now.
Paste: What makes a good stage outfit?
Wolfe: We want something bold and a little wild and geometric and maybe something a little strange even. I think the artists that we are most strongly influenced by all share those qualities and that’s something we’re trying to pursue. We’re definitely influenced by the Mod style and the 60s era and that comes out. But we’re also trying to do something that we think is fun and some kind of structure and some kind of math and geometry to it.
Paste: Where do you typically shop?
Wolfe: It’s a mixture. We’re just starting to work with people to make some stuff. We have some ideas and we would like to make something that is a little more unique. But we also just piece things together that we find along the way. We really like Topshop and ASOS. They’re somewhat affordable and they give you something that’s edgy. You can find weird stuff that nobody buys and those are usually the things that we buy. We have dreams of the next step. We’d love Marc Jacobs. We love vintage shoes, but it’s so hard to find two of the same thing.
Paste: Matching throws a wrench in your thrifting?
Wolfe: Totally. We have to find two identical things in our sizes.
Paste: Do you mix high and low fashion?
Wolfe: For a long time it was whatever was funky and also cheap. But now, you realize that things fall apart if you don’t spend a little more money. Which is not to say we’re buying really expensive things, but maybe not the $5 dresses anymore. We’ve moved up a little bit.
Paste: What do you always pack for festivals?
Wolfe: We always pack one pair of matching walking shoes, not just heels. We always pack a change of clothes cause it gets really hot in the summer. Something that we can either layer on top of or remove. We always bring matching sunglasses. Always something funky.
Paste: Do you have any beauty essentials?
Wolfe: I love Sephora No. 1 lip stain. It’s the perfect red and it doesn’t come off. When you’re singing and you’re touching the mic with your mouth, it can get messy. It’s amazing and it’s really affordable. We like Stilla liquid eyeliner. It’s almost like a paintbrush and that one is really nice. We can wear it for a long time and our eyes aren’t bothered. Our eyes are sensitive.
We have a regimen and it’s so easy. It looks like we wear a ton of makeup but we really try to keep it simple: cover up, a little bit of blush, some lipstick eyeliner and mascara and that’s it.
Paste: So you even have the same beauty regimen?
Wolfe: Oh yeah. We do because we both break out if we don’t keep on top of our skin and also we have fair complexions so we try to use as little amount of makeup as possible. We also get our hair cut at the very exact same time by the same person. We sit next to each other in chairs and she cuts mine, and then cuts hers, then cuts mine, and then cuts hers.
Paste: You’re kidding.
Wolfe: No! It’s a real spectacle at the salon. People are like, “Who are those girls, and what are they doing?”