St. Lucia's 2013 album "When the Night" created a name for the Brooklyn-based band who spun airy, energetic riffs of '80s synthpop. With their sophomore album, "Matter," (released in January from Columbia Records), Johannesburg-born frontman Jean-Philip Grobler worked with producer Chris Zane and Bleachers' Jack Antonoff, who co-wrote, "Help Me Run Away." The more intimate dive into Grobler's life features "Always," a tender ode to what could be lost in a breakup co-written with wife and band mate, Patti Beranek, as well as a cautionary tale disguised as a party jam in "Dancing On Glass."
Grobler calls in from Brooklyn, the night after a backyard barbecue, to discuss the band's upcoming tour with Chris Baio's indie project, BAIO.
Can we please start off by discussing the album art for "Matter"? It's magical. How did the concept come together?
That's a can of worms you're opening there. I really wanted to make something special that I could tie into the merch and the stage design. We started the mockup artwork when we started recording the album. I wanted it to be a room with lots of things going on, almost like a "Where's Waldo" situation. We connected with Silas Adler, head of one of my favorite men's fashion lines, Soulland from Denmark — most of the shirts I wear on stage are done by them — and gave him images of different things in our apartment and lives to include. Each of the objects is meant to represent one of the themes on the album. Silas then made a photo collage of all the items, and we found Lauren Mortimer, an English illustrator, who actually made the artwork.
What's one item of significance featured in the picture?
Everything in some way had some importance. All the wine bottles are wine bottles from our apartment, and there's a carafe-like thing that says Mampoer. That's South African moonshine, and that bottle belonged to my godfather, who unfortunately passed away. There are certain parts of the album that focus on those heady days of being a teenager, and that bottle has been around for most of my life.