Lake Street Dive’s latest studio release “Side Pony” —yes, like the hairstyle — is due out Feb. 19, shortly before they hit the road for a world tourthat endsin their home state of Massachusetts in late August. The Brighton-bred four-piece band has been together for more than a decade, so we asked guitarist/trumpeter Mike “McDuck” Olson about how they’ve managed to keep it up.
I’m in Boston, so I’d like to still think of you as a Boston band, but that’s not totally the case anymore, is it?
The girls [Rachael Price and Bridget Kearney] live in Brooklyn, and then Mike [Calabrese] lives in Dudley [Square], and I’m the Jamaica Plain guy. We’ve found ourselves based in all different places over the years, but home base in some way has always been Boston.
What do you think being apart during your downtime does for you as a band?
We end up using our time on the road more wisely. There’s so much to do and see when you’re on the road, especially when you’re in a different city every day. So we divide our time between going to the places that we as individuals want to go to and then, as a band, working while on the road. When we’re home, that’s our weekend, but when we’re on the road, we’re rehearsing on the bus and in the green room of the venue every day.
Do you find you get much done while you’re on the go?
[Laughs] I know just said we’re very productive while on the road, but writing isn’t something we do often. You need a safe space, a creative space that shuts off the world and is conducive to writing a new tune. It’s hard to find that individual headspace when there are too many cooks in the kitchen. I have to be alone in my bedroom with the blackout curtains on my windows to get into that headspace.
So how do you not kill each other while trying to include extra layers of work on top of being on tour?
As the year wears on and the tour gets longer, we do need to find our own space and routines. The mornings are really great for that, especially when we were driving ourselves around and we were in that same confined space all day. You get to know every nuance about a human being when you’re in that kind of proximity.
But bus touring has transformed our ability to put on more energetic and thoughtful shows because it’s allowed us to be as friendly with each other as possible and work to maintain those good vibes and friendship that ultimately preserves the longevity of the band.
Any band good luck charms you keep on the bus?
The Aeropress. That’s a pretty crucial Lake Street Dive talisman. I think those good vibes might not be so good if we didn’t have it with us. We’re all very addicted to coffee.
You’ve been a band for more than a decade. When did you know you were onto something special?
Even after 12 years, when you see someone [in the audience] singing along, you think, ‘OK, you’ve succeeded in what you wanted to do.’ Your song is catchy and memorable, and the show is something people want to come back to multiple times. You’ve made music that people want to purchase in a time when record sales are nonexistent. But seeing people singing at our shows, that’s always been the baseline.
How should fans approach “Side Pony”?
I think from the beginning. The order of songs [on an album] isn’t arbitrary. We agonized over the order of these songs, and we have 12 songs we care deeply about. It’s sad in the era of Spotify and shuffling a record, you lose the intended transitions, and you’ll have fast songs into slow songs or two fast songs in two different keys. A record is a map, and you should go from the beginning to the end. We’re proud of the way [“Side Pony”] tells a story, not necessarily with a narrative, but there are messages in there and we’ll let people decide what they are. If it’s out of order, I think something’s lost.
If you go:
March 18 at 8 p.m.
29 E Allen St, Philadelphia
March 23 at 7 p.m.
House of Blues Boston
15 Landsowne St., Boston
March 25 at 8 p.m.
2124 Broadway, New York