Fans of rock in Athens may already know Kip Lacy for his drumming in local bands Big Morgan and Jack’s Johnson, but Lacy’s most recent output has shown there’s another side to his musical inclinations. Since last September, Lacy has been using the alias Trip Lacy to put out his own brand of DIY bedroom pop.
After having spent most of musical career playing in bands, Lacy decided last summer to experiment with solo songwriting as well. Just trying to get his feet wet, Lacy says his first solo endeavors involved using GarageBand to turn songs by local artists into new music.
“I really liked playing with people’s voices and making them sound unrecognizable or really slowing down someone’s song. Just taking it and mutating it into something else,” Lacy says. “And that’s kind of how I learned to even use digital audio software, so I think that kind of stuff was a big influence – just making things sound weird.”
In addition to his first experiments with repurposing songs digitally, Lacy says certain artists he likes were also a big influence on his solo sound. Considering the overt pop and R&B elements in Trip Lacy’s music, it’s no surprise to hear him cite Rhye, Sade and Justin Timberlake as inspirational.
As his new sound started to really solidify, Lacy simultaneously began his first foray into producing entirely original songs. Although he didn’t have much equipment with him at the time, Lacy started recording anyways, using his laptop’s internal microphone to track most of his vocals.
“Only on one of the songs am I using a real microphone,” Lacy says. “It’s basically just me and the computer.”
September 15, Trip Lacy released his first single, “Whatcha Know?,” through his Bandcamp and Soundcloud pages. A smooth love song with obvious R&B overtones, the track serves as a good introduction (both sonically and thematically) to Trip Lacy’s music.
“It was like the first [song] that came out of this creative process, and I was super proud of it,” Lacy says.
After the release of “Whatcha Know?,” Lacy continued to work on his solo music, writing, recording and mixing entire tracks in his bedroom. Before long, he had another five songs finished, and he turned to some to close friends to give him suggestions for revisions.
Eventually, Lacy decided that his work on the material was complete and opted to get his songs professionally mastered before releasing them. Jesse Mangum handled the finishing touches, and all of Trip Lacy’s music was soon ready to meet its listeners.
“[Mangum is] just a really nice guy,” Lacy says. “Super fun to work with.”
November 11, Trip Lacy released his six songs online as “Sex Cells,” a title he credits to his bandmate from Jack’s Johnson, Jack O’Reilly. Expanding on what Lacy established in “Whatcha Know?,” the release explores a wide range of emotions and song styles.
Although Trip Lacy hasn’t released any more music since “Sex Cells” hit the internet, the project is far from dormant. In between time spent drumming for his other bands, Lacy says he’s been working on increasing his production quality and writing new solo songs in the same vein as “Sex Cells.”
In addition to working on new material, Trip Lacy has also played a number of live shows around Athens over the last couple of months. Used to performing behind the barrier of a drum set, Lacy says carrying a show on his own has been an interesting experience.
“I’ve been performing for a long time, but it’s always been with a band,” Lacy says. “It’s kind of cool and kind of stressful and kind of super exhilarating to just be the sole focus and be creating all the music that’s happening.”
While Trip Lacy shows don’t include the projectors and light shows many electronic musicians use live, this definitely doesn’t mean they’re less entertaining. With his energetic live presence and knack for changing things up, Lacy seems like he knows how to keep a crowd interested.
“I try to mix it up and do something new every show,” Lacy says.
Those looking to see what Trip Lacy has to offer live should be happy to know that they don’t have to wait long. Lacy has a show tomorrow night at The Caledonia Lounge, where he’ll share a bill with Mad Ace, Bad Nudes and Superbody.
It seems like Trip Lacy’s work so far has been just the start, and fans of his music should keep an eye out for what he does next. With his production skills and his experience performing alone both growing, Lacy’s solo music has promise to stay on the upswing.