Interview: Lucian Rice delves into his latest single ‘Can’t You See’ – a drop of pure nu-gaze dream pop at its best

Growing up on a diet of 95BFM, thrifting, and walking up mountains, Lucian Rice is living the perfect kiwi nu-gaze dream pop dream

Lucian Rice is an artist with a knack for mixing nu-gaze, dream pop, and alternative sounds, creating music that resonates with folks all around the world.

Whether he’s in New Zealand or on stages across the globe, Lucian loves teaming up with local and international talents to showcase his talents as a producer, songwriter, and performer.

We caught up with Lucian to chat about his latest single release ‘Can’t You See,’ and his love of indie music. And if growing up on a diet of 95BFM, and his innate sense of presence is anything to go by, it’s clear to see the future of music is in good hands.

Happy: What are you up to today? 

Lucian: Day off! So probably just gonna go thrifting then walk the mountain behind my house and listen to some music.

Happy: Where is home? Tell us what you love about it? What don’t you love about it?

Lucian: Home right now is Auckland. I grew up here and have lived here most of my life – I used to get really frustrated by how small everything seems here.

I used to just dream and dream about leaving, but recently I’ve grown to love being here. It’s a really beautiful city and I’ve got a good group here.

Happy: What did you listen to growing up, and what inspired you to delve into the fusion of nu-gaze, dream pop, and alternative genres in your music?

Lucian: Growing up I listened to a lot of everything. My mum put me on to bands like RATM, At the Drive In and always had 95BFM (student radio) on when we got in the car – so she exposed me to a lot of really pushing stuff from a young age.

I guess the 90s stuff she listened to really rubbed off on me and inspired me to go searching for other bands I liked from that era and being a teen in the 2010s, the latter end of music television helped to constantly provide a new pop or indie track every week for my ears.

Mixing that altogether with the internet at my disposal, it all just kinda came together.

Happy: Can you share some insights into the creative process behind your upcoming single ‘Can’t You See’?

Lucian: I had just started seeing someone new for the first time in a while. I got a night to myself and started blurting how I felt right into the mic.

I guess I was just frustrated that this person couldn’t immediately see me as the last person did. I didn’t wanna play the game, I just wanted to feel like I meant the world to this person instantly.

Which was super naive, and I understood that – but I guess it opened my eyes to how much the previous person meant to me. And that I probably needed to spend some more time alone lol.

Happy: What about production insights? Who did you work with? Where did you record it?

Lucian: I kinda just blurted it all into my laptop one night and didn’t really look back. My roommate was away for the weekend and it had been super gloomy, and I felt super doomy alone in my room.

I went through a few iterations of the intro, but I remember singing “I just want you to see who I am *bang *bang *bang *bang” and going yeah that’s the one and then a few hours later the song was done. So just me and my laptop in my dinky little room.

Happy: Are there any specific artists or albums that heavily influenced your current sound? 

Lucian: I’ve really gotten back on my indie shit. This one song “Carte Postale” by George Pringle has soundtracked my days recently.

Lots of Bloc Party, Phoenix, The Teenagers and +/-. Otherwise the same old emo and whatever demos of my friends or my own are floating around my phone.

Happy: How do your experiences split between New Zealand and overseas influence your music and creativity?

Lucian: I hate philosophies, but I carry one with me for writing which is “I gotta live a lot to make a little.”

So going overseas always opens my eyes that little bit more and every tiny thing can be so beautiful.

I try to take all those sights and feelings and twist them together with the frustration I can feel being back in my hometown, where I have a thousand memories at every stop. I think they balance together nicely.

Happy: How do you feel you’ve grown musically since your debut single, and what new elements are you exploring in your upcoming releases?

Lucian: Always tryna grow. Just listening to a lot of music in between making it tends to keep me grounded.

I just try to do what feels right and don’t really think about how I want a song to sonically feel until after. Just always trying to learn!

Happy: What emotions or messages do you hope your audience takes away from your music, especially with this latest single release?

Lucian: I like the idea of songs being interpretable. Although I’m talking about something specific relating to me, I hope the subtext of my songs lets people find their own meaning that’s special to them.

That’s what I love about music. I can listen to a song and it makes me feel a certain way, where it could make someone feel something completely different.

Happy: Who are your current fav Kiwi bands?

Lucian: Too many to count! There’s so much amazing music here, but a few of late have been: Bleeding Star, Feshh, Salt Water Criminals and Elliot and Vincent. 

Happy: Lastly, what makes you happy?

Lucian: Everything! It’s all so beautiful if you just open your eyes.