There is a delicate balance between the fun and the serious with South of France. On one side Jeff Cormack and Kelly Lueke are carefree and easygoing. They engage in frivolous banter and both flash genuine smiles when they toss around silly jokes. When discussing what it takes to stand out in the Denver music scene, Lueke offered some very specific advice.
“Sexy haircuts,” she said.
“Maybe some bandanas hanging out from your back pocket,” Cormack added.
Just seconds before, however, they were in serious mode, discussing the importance of having a solid album to make lasting impression on the local scene. Although they transition between the serious and the silly with ease, their music comes first.
For South of France, their band isn’t a hobby. It’s a business, and it’s work before anything else.
“I always joke that I could be a head trader in Wall Street if I had given as much time and effort [as I have to the band],” Cormack said.
Finding like minded individuals was difficult for Cormack, who started off as a solo artist. It’s always difficult to see eye-to-eye with new members, he said, and in Colorado it’s tougher because there is often a non-professional attitude.
“Music in Colorado is a hobby, it’s not an industry,” Lueke said. “In Los Angeles it’s a real industry.”
Since he loves alternating male and female vocals, he knew he wanted a female vocalist. After several failed attempts, he turned his eyes to Los Angeles where he found Lueke. Once he realized she was willing to work, he knew she was the right fit.
“To me it’s way more important to know that somebody is willing to work or that somebody gets the big picture rather than how well they play their instrument,” Cormack said.
Once Lueke was on board, they began to finish their first album, Another Boring Sunrise (2012) which he had been toying with for years. When they finished it, they released it with virtually no professional promotion. It would eventually garner decent attention, getting shout-outs and writes ups in publications like Under the Radar and Pitchfork.
Since their freshman release, they’ve performed many local shows and some festivals. They’ve also had some lineup changes, but they now have a permanent drummer, Nate Barnes, who is “the man” according to Cormack and Lueke.
“Having his drums on [our demos] makes me want to see us live,” Lueke said.
Barnes’ drums makes the live show more intense they said, and they’re looking forward to bringing that energy to the Underground Music Showcase (UMS) main stage in Denver on July 26.
Their UMS set will be their last show in Denver since they are moving to Los Angeles shortly for professional reasons and for a new challenge.
“Being a band in L.A. sucks,” Cormack said. “The Denver Music scene is kind of a small community and supportive. I want some people to come up after and say ‘man you guys suck, and here’s how you can get better.'”