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August John Lutz II: “I Miss Too Much of Life with Constant Documentation. I Try and Let the Moment Be.”

September 3, 2015

August John Lutz II, the frontman of Levee Drivers, is celebrating the release of his debut solo EP on Saturday at Bourbon & Branch. Song Dogs, New Sweden and Haint Blue will also perform.

We spoke with the Bucks County native about his latest project and the inspiration behind it.

What’s the story behind the new album?

I’ve been wanting to branch out and record a solo record for some time now. Once these particular songs came about and fell into place with one another, I was confident enough to finally take that step. I also had a lot of people – including the band – who understood why I needed to make this EP.

I’ve had the pleasure of working and surrounding myself with a solid group of musicians/friends who know how healthy it is for me to follow my instinct when it comes to music. Nothing is ever taken too personally, in that sense. Side note: For the most part, this whole EP was recorded in one half session!

How do you know when a song will be an August John Lutz II song and not a Levee Drivers track?

It all depends on how I see the overall picture after the song is completely finished. I never have a project in mind while locked in the writing process because I think that would attach certain rules and I’d wind up following familiar patterns and guidelines which could ultimately destroy and take away from the song itself.

I only begin thinking of where to bring the song and what the song needs musically after the writing is complete and then there are four options. I’ll either bring it to Levee Drivers. I’ll keep it for my solo projects. I’ll give it to another songwriter or I’ll toss in the trash!

“Foolish Heart” sounds like a man dealing with pain. Was writing the song therapeutic?

I believe writing is generally a therapeutic experience for me, whether I’m going through something very personal in my life at that time or not. It’s always felt like a positive release for me and has helped me express and open myself up in ways that I don’t necessary do on a day to day basis.

Do you seek out experiences so that you have things to write about?

I never seek out experiences just so later I can write about them. I feel that if you did that you’d just be setting yourself up for failure one way or another and the naturalism would be affected. I very much try and live and make myself aware of what “being in the moment” means.

I feel that all the advances in technology have given people the feeling that they have to capture and document every single moment through their phones, otherwise they (or someone else) won’t believe it happened. Speaking for only myself here, I miss too much of life with constant documentation. I try and let the moment be and if it means later I might have something to write about…then I can remember it through my eyes and not a device.

You recorded this EP with friends, right?

I did have the pleasure of recording this EP with very close friends. All of the production was backed by Brian Dale Allen Strouse and Josh Friedman, two musicians who play in an amazingly talented band called The Lawsuits. They tracked, engineered, mixed, and mastered this whole project for me. They were also a strong driving force in the early stages of getting this project off the ground.

I was also lucky enough to bring in Chelsea Mitchell from another amazingly talented band called Dirty Dollhouse to lay down all of the backing vocals for this EP. I’ve worked with Brian, Josh and Chelsea before in the past and have never be disappointed with the final outcome.

Can we expect a lot of guests on stage at the release show? 

Yes! Expect a good amount of guests to join me on stage this Saturday night at Bourbon & Branch. In fact, my whole band is made up of some of my favorite musicians from Bucks County and Philadelphia.

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