Before reading Underneath This’ interview with Lucas, featured below, read some more about him and the Cliks. There is also a link to vote for MTV to air The Cliks’ latest video, “Savanna.”
Founded by front man Lucas Silveira in 2004, The Cliks have gone through the highs and lows that make an artist a true veteran of change…and in all things, including rock and roll, the only real constant, is change.
Almost nine years since the formation of the band, The Cliks are still standing. After a slew of line up changes, Silveira is the sole remaining original member of the band and, the Cliks, an extension of his personal vision. That vision is on display with the new album “Black Tie Elevator” due for release March 2013.
The Cliks’ first two major label releases, Snakehouse (2006- Warner Music Canada/Tommy Boy) & Dirty King (2009-Warner Music Canada/Tommy Boy) brought the band international recognition.
They caught the attention of pop music icon Cyndi Lauper, who invited the band to join her on two consecutive True Colors tours. Subsequently, rock veteran Ian Ashbury of The Cult, also asked the band to join them to tour the U.S and Canada.
SNAKEHOUSE garnered critical acclaim from mainstream media outlets including the Associated Press, Chicago Tribune, New York Times, Toronto Star, NOW Magazine. “Lucas Silveira, has an impressively consistent formula for writing catchy, stick-in-your-brain tunes that have all but perfectly translated to disc” Evan Davies, NOW Magazine.
DIRTY KING was the bands second release. The album was produced by heavy hitter Sylvia Massey (Tool, Prince, Johnny Cash) and displayed a topless, bruised and beaten image of Silveira as boxer on the cover, an image that portrayed the state of his psyche. The first “out” male transgender to be signed to a major record label drew publicity and controversy, but it was taking its toll on the band, and on Silveira’s personal life. Two weeks after the CD release, the band members left and Lucas was left with the choice to keep going or throw in the towel.
He also recognized that his personal life had to take precedent if he was to move forward in his music career. After 5 years of living as a man but appearing to most as a woman, the image in the mirror needed to match the image internally. The voice coming through the speaker never felt familiar. “It was the strangest thing really. I would sing a track then come out to the control room to listen back and I would think to myself “THAT’S NOT ME!” It just made no sense. I told myself it would be the last record I ever made with that voice because I knew that, if I couldn’t hear the truth in it, how could anyone else.”
In 2009, Lucas took the opportunity to take a hiatus from the band to follow a very personal life-changing venture and began the formal process of testosterone hormone therapy, something he had been told by Doctors could cost him his singing voice. Knowing that his current existence was leading him down a road of deep depression, he felt his only option was to venture into the unknown and not let his fears dictate his choices.
The result was a voice that was changed, deeper and huskier, but somehow more soulful, “I still can’t put my finger on it, but when I sing with this voice, there is a familiarity with it that feels more comfortable than the voice previous. Which I find strange seeing this voice is so new. But at the same time, it’s really not because inside, it’s the voice I always heard. When I hear my old recordings, I can hardly believe that this body created that sound. It was a completely different person and I hear a deep sadness when I hear my old voice. It can actually be very painful for me to listen to.”
In 2010, his rebirth landed him in Brooklyn, NY, a home away from home to concentrate on songwriting. He recorded a solo record Mockingbird and wrote new songs for The Cliks next music venture.
Lucas found his songwriting style growing and changing towards a more soul/blues/rock styling. “ I started writing songs that I didn’t know were in me. It was as though something in me opened up and didn’t allow me to feel that I couldn’t pull it off. I went along with what felt natural and what felt natural was all of these old soul influences. From Prince to Lenny Kravitz and Amy Winehouse. My deep fondness for the blend of soul and rock finally surfaced and now, with my new voice, I felt completely grounded in it.”
The result was a collection of songs that make up the new Cliks LP release BLACK TIE ELEVATOR.
BLACK TIE ELEVATOR (Scheduled for release in March 2013) was produced by Toronto based musician/singer/songwriter Hill Kourkoutis (Hill & The Sky Heroes, The Weeknd) who’s understanding of Lucas’ vision was integral to the final sound of the record.
While the songs on this album may be a surprise to many, loyal fans of The Cliks know that with Lucas, change is constant, though the foundation remains the same. Songs that are real and true, lyrics that speak a universal language and music that will move and bind you to those words.
No matter what the challenges that Silveira has faced, the vision he has had for The Cliks remains clear. When asked what that vision is, Silveira says “If it ain’t true, it ain’t worth it.”
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Who have been your biggest musical and non-musical influences?
Musical, probably The Beatles as cliche as it may be. Also, Marvin Gaye, Ottis Redding, Prince, Lenny Kravitz and George Michael were big ones when I was a teen and then I slipped into the world of Radiohead and Jeff Buckley, David Bowie,The Doors and Jimmy Hendrix. I’m all over the place with music. As for non-musical, I’ve always admired Johnny Depp because he’s never given in to the commercialism of acting and he’s as weird as they come. I connect to that.
The cover of Black Tie Elevator features a self-portrait that you painted. How did you become interested in painting? What are some of your other interests and/or projects outside of music?
I always drew as a kid and people used to tell me I was good at it so I went with it. In my late teens someone told me I should try painting. I think I fell in love with visual art when I decided to draw when I was on my first LSD trip. It was an amazingly insightful growing experience. One that I would rather not go through again, but nonetheless, mind opening. And so from there I just fell in love with it. As for outside of music, I truly and deeply enjoy writing.
Black Tie Elevator is very different from your previous work. How have fans reacted to your new music?
For the most part well but I’m having a hard time gauging it because I think my physical transformation has gotten in the way of my old female audience giving it a chance I think. It’s weird. People act like their open-minded until they figure out their mind wasn’t that open. Then they blame you for some kind of betrayal. I think this is the best record I have ever made and I truly think it’s a special record that will be overlooked by many because of who I am. Makes me a little sad sometimes but I can’t fight it. It is what it is.
Was it difficult transitioning while in the public eye? How have you been treated by fans and the press since your transition?
It was hell. Still is. For the most part people are nice to me but they’re sometimes weird in ways they don’t even know. I was asked by a fan at the merch table the other day if I had a real penis. I know it wasn’t meant in a malicious way but shit like that takes me off guard and I don’t even know how to react so I just freeze up and become totally deflated. I mean, how many strangers come up to you and ask you about your genitalia? And the press focuses on it a lot which I understand but it still gets annoying after a while.
What is your sense of the way LGBTQ+ artists are portrayed within the music industry? How has this relationship changed over time?
We’re not portrayed in the mainstream music industry. We’re excluded. Outside of very few acts that have seen success because of their attachment to a heterosexual mainstream situation, LGBT acts are ghettoized. Lady Gaga isn’t an LGBT act for those who would like to use her. Tegan and Sara are and I think they’re awesome but I think it’s sad that their was mainly recognized in the mainstream because they worked with Producer Jason Mcgerr of Death Cab For Cutie. They’ve been making amazing music for years and it was that piece that truly pushed them over. And oddly, they still get minimal radio play. No mainstream radio wants the correlation of “supporting” an act like them because it means they suddenly have an affiliation to the LGBT community.
What has your experience been like recording independently?
The best ever. I recorded this album in a basement studio with my best friend. I have never felt more connected to my music or more in control. And the funny thing is I handed all the control over to someone else. But that someone was someone I trusted. It wasn’t about money or making commercial art, it was about making a good record with someone who saw me and understood my vision. Hill Kourkoutis is a brilliant songwriter, artist and producer and I know in the future she will be making huge records with other people.
What songs are most meaningful to you and why? What is like playing them live?
Cerise is important to me because it hit a personal spot. I wrote it for a friend who was dealing with some bad luck but it was a big brother moment for me giving kudos to a woman for staying away from a bad man. Something I wish I could have done for my own sister.
Do you have any advice for aspiring musicians?
Don’t do it for the money. There’s none left. Do it because you love it and if you happen to make money then you hit the jackpot. The music industry is not what you think it is. That’s an illusion. It’s shit loads of hard work that you never imagined.