St. Lucia is the infectious, experimental pop project of former choirboy Jean-Philip Grobler. Inspired by Radiohead, Phil Collins and Lionel Richie, the New Yorker will be gracing our shores for the forthcoming Parklife festivals. Ahead of this, we probed him.
Where are you and what are you wearing? (Laughs) I’m sitting on my balcony in Williamsburg, Brooklyn and I’m wearing stripy shorts and a stripy tank top (laughs).
‘Closer Than This’ has almost hit 100,000 plays on SoundCloud. Did you ever imagine that it’d be this popular? It’s funny as that’s probably the oldest song on the EP. I kind of forgot about it and didn’t work on it for a long time. Then, when I was nearing then end of the EP’s recording, I was trying to finish off this other song that just wasn’t quite working out. But then I remembered ‘Closer Than This,’ and so I started working with that one again and it finished it off really nicely. I actually even thought it was one of the best tracks on the EP but no one else at the label seemed to think it was any good! So, I didn’t know what to expect from it due to those mixed feelings. I just really liked it. I was kind of surprised and then not so surprised that it became as popular as it has (laughs).
How does one go from being in the Drakensberg Boys School Choir, to becoming an experimental electro producer? Well, what I am doing now is what I wanted to be doing when I was in that choir (laughs). But when I look back at my days in there, they were just some of the best of my life. There has definitely been a lot of time and change between now and then.
Who would you say your greatest influences have been as part of that transition? There was a point in my life where I felt embarrassed for liking Phil Collins and Lionel Richie. Then over the last two years, I’ve rediscovered their music. St. Lucia is definitely the result of the marrying between these two sides of influences. One side being the slightly more experimental stuff which comes from bands like Radiohead, and the other side being the cheesy guilty pleasure of 80’s pop (laughs).
Pumped for the upcoming Parklife festival circuit? I am very excited. I’m really dreading the flight, but I’m excited to be going there (laughs).
Do you have anything special lined up for the shows? Well, we are going to be playing a bunch of new songs from the upcoming album, which is in the finishing stages at the moment. There’ll possibly be a few other little surprises but they wouldn’t be surprises if I told you about them (laughs).
Will you be stalking anyone? I’m definitely looking forward to seeing Passion Pit. Chiddy Bang is another one; those guys are part of the same music circles I’m in I guess. I started off on The Knocks’ Heavy Rock Music label and Chiddy Bang are really good friends with those guys. Also, Xaphoon Jones of Chiddy Bang did a St. Lucia remix a little while ago too, which was pretty awesome. I love Chairlift, so I can’t wait to see them. And Robyn too, I love her as well (laughs).
Kudos on the sweet Passion Pit remix. Do you have any other remixes or collaborations in the works? There are a few other remixes coming up but I am mostly trying to focus on my album at the moment. I really want that to be the priority. But there is a thing that I might be doing with Charlie XCX in the near future, which stems from a few cool ideas we discussed when we toured together recently. So keep an eye out for that one.
Catch St. Lucia at one of this year’s Parklife festival dates. Tickets are on sale now.
Prepare yourself with St. Lucia’s self-titled debut EP:
Let’s finish off with the music video for latest single ‘Before The Dive’: