Interview with Medicine Boy


Give me your Medicine Boy.

Medicine Boy is the dream noise love child of music stalwarts Andre Leo and Lucy Kruger. Tamara Arden interviews the duo discussing their sound, their creative and performance chemistry, previous projects and the path forward.

Medicine Boy

Describe the music without using labels or genres.

Dream Noise. We try to inhabit that fine line between the calm & the chaotic.


Both of you have received great recognition and success in other projects, so I would think you know the process well. Has Medicine Boy felt different to prior bands?

It’s definitely the fastest any musical endeavor has gone from an idea to an actual real thing, for both of us.

We had the idea for it in December 2013, started writing in January 2014, played our first shows in June & released the EP in September.

Usually it takes a lot longer to get the bull out the cage. Being in the music industry for a while made it easier to get things moving from the get go, for sure.

We were lucky enough for our first show to be alongside Golden Animals from Brooklyn last year.

We knowingly wanted to throw ourselves in the deep end. There is a real sense of urgency in this band, to work hard and not waste time.

We’ve been playing together for a couple of years, so the musical chemistry is there. We know each other as players and how to play off each other.

So settling into this new form felt, although challenging and new, quite comfortable and close to home.


I saw an interview slot of the band on Assembly Radio stating that the music made you feel vulnerable. Could you elaborate a bit more on that detail?

It’s kind of like being naked up there. There’s no wall of sound to hide behind, so every thing you do is noticeable. The good and the bad. It’s a real thrill – pretty terrifying at times.
Being a duo obviously has it’s limitations, but we use those to our advantage and to shape our sound.
In order to create the sound and space we want, both of us need to work quite hard up there.


Tell us about the writing process.

Usually one of us will come with an idea – a guitar part or something – and we’ll take it from there. We’ll sit with an acoustic guitar and work out the vocal melody/melodies.
After that we’ll make a basic loop on the drum machine and kind of play with the ideas until a structure starts to emerge.  Not having a drummer makes the songwriting process a lot different than with other bands we’ve been in – there’s no way to just jam it out together for an hour and try different things. It’s a lot more stop-start in that way.
At the end we’ll start working on the sounds – the effects pedals, organ drones, drum tracks etc.


What’s an average day in the studio like?

I suppose it depends what is happening at the time. If there are a lot of shows going on then studio time is dedicated to rehearsing our set. When there is not the pressure of shows then we are trying to make new songs I suppose.
We work from a space in Woodstock and also from our little spare room at home. We try to work every day.


This material is very different from your previous projects/bands. What expectations did you guys have about starting something new?

The greatest thing about starting this project was that their wasn’t really much expectation. We couldn’t expect too much because we weren’t really sure what we would or could do with only two people. It’s a really fun thing to play around with something when there are not yet any boundaries. The only thing we know absolutely, was that we wanted to play as much as we could. We still try to not limit ourselves now but I do think there is a clearer idea of what we are doing and where we are taking our sound.


What qualities do you admire about each other? Tell us about the working relationship and how it has grown since you started playing together.

We met through playing music. We only really got to know each other once we started playing in The Very Wicked together. So our relationship developed and evolved through a mutual love and curiosity for music. In terms of the way it’s grown, I guess the main thing is time. It’s not something you can really cheat. We’ve worked on a number of different projects and different styles. Medicine Boy seems to be the culmination of all these different influences. I think the thing we respect most about each other is the sheer determination to make music and the real joy that we find when we do.


What is the track ‘Last Light’ about?

I’m often weary of explaining songs. Sometimes when an artist over-explains their songs it steals the listener’s privilege of creating their own story.

Broadly, it is about the chaos, desperation and madness that love makes you feel. The juxtaposition between the burden that it places on you and the lightness that it allows you. The great challenge of two different energies trying to make sense of each other without the use of words.


The More Knives EP has Lucy in the vocal foreground. Any chance Andre will step in for a debut album for backing vocals or a man’s touch?

We very much give a song whatever it needs or asks for. It just so happens that most of the songs on the EP have upfront female vocals. Quite often Andre’s guitar parts counter the vocal melody line and it makes more sense for Lucy to sing those parts. Who knows what the next recording will want from us.


Can you tell us about the concept for the video ‘Blue Roses’ and when the next video will be released?

Barry De Villers, from Roundabout Films, does most of our filiming and has seen us through all of our prjoects.

The three of us have a particular love for the Karoo. When Barry needed to go location scouting for a future film of his that he is planning on shooting in The Karoo, we decided to join him on the adventure and shoot a music video while we were at it. We all thought that the desolate, vast and beautiful landscapes of The Karoo really suited Blue Roses. Barry formalised the concept (which I think speaks quite strongly for itself) and we took two days wondering the Karoo and filming the  video.

While Barry was editing Blue Roses, we shot another video with him for the single off the EP, Gimme Ya Love. The concept is quite simple and is really there to capture the energy of the song. You can see it here:

We’ve also got a few live videos online.


Where can we catch you in the next month?

We will be supporting The Allah-Las on their South African Tour. We’re pretty excited to play alongside this amazing band.


Medicine Boy More Knives EP

Download the More Knives EP

Catch Medicine Boy opening up for Allah-Las on 13 February at Arcade Empire and on 14 February at Assembly.


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