Givers have just finished their first UK tour – a short jaunt that felt more like a victory lap than an introduction.
Having showed them the sights of London (including such delectable cultural highlights as Dalston’s Shacklewell Arms), we thought they might like to return the favour. Here, then, is each of the band members’ guide to their favourite parts of their hometown – the impossibly romantic sounding Lafayette, Louisiana.
Scott’s Drum Center
Scott’s drum center is a local Lafayette, LA owned Drum store, in my opinion one of the coolest music stores I’ve ever been to. He started the business right around the time I began playing drums. I was about 10 years old and I was Scott’s first student he ever taught drums. They not only have an entire building of percussive instruments, but they also run a music school called Acadiana School of the Arts (ASA) which teaches anything musical from vocals to guitar, African hand drumming, even pairing up students into “bands” to teach kids how to play with each other. I actually met Tiff when we were about 14 years old at one of their first “Drum Camps” which has now turned into part of ASA. It is an amazing avenue for kids getting into music at a young age, and it helps that it’s run by some of the sweetest musicians in the world.
Festival International de Louisiane
Festival International de Louisiane is something everyone in Lafayette grows up attending every year. It is the heartbeat of the city; the worldly multi-cultural essence that radiates throughout our hometown constantly. It expands the musical minds of all that attend, the taste buds of the world, and is the perfect example of the Louisiana spirit. It is a Free Francophone festival, meaning it’s completely free to the public and is a French speaking festival. Musicians and artists come from all over the world; any country that speaks French, practically. It is a 5 day festival in the heart of spring. It’s beautiful at that time. Anyone that moves out of Lafayette always makes a point to come back in town for festival. It’s like our Louisiana Christmas holiday, you just can’t miss it.
Dosckside studios is the amazing studio in Maurice where we recorded our album, In Light. It’s about twenty minutes outside the city limits of Lafayette, our hometown, and overlooks the Vermilion River. It is just about one of the most beautiful places you can find in the area – which makes for an ideal place to make music. The fact that it is outside the city allows you to really be absorbed in the creative process of making an album. Upstairs in the studio, there are a bunch of bedrooms – it sleeps 8 people comfortably so we all just moved in for two weeks and only left to buy groceries really. So many great bands have recorded here – everyone from Dr. John and B.B. King to Arcade Fire and Scarlett Johansson. I think I counted 16 Grammy winning recording certificates on the wall.
And of course the studio is equipped with all the amazing gear you’d expect from a world-class studio, including a 52 input Neve 8058 console, which always helps in the pursuit of recording warm, classic tones. Besides having the perfect location and perfect gear, it also has the perfect people to run it. Steve and Wish Nails, the owners of this piece of paradise, are some of the most generous and down to earth people we’ve got to meet on our path. They are the epitome of southern hospitality – constantly cooking meals for bands and overall going out of their way just to make you feel totally welcome. The studio is a hidden gem of southwest Louisiana and we are so grateful we found it.
This is the primary public-local radio station directly supported by listeners in Lafayette and a large audience in it’s surrounding parishes. Not only do they cater to the Cajun/Zydeco audience but they also widely support NPR programs and diverse local musicians. It is broadcast in the heart of the University of Louisiana at Lafayette campus right next to a cypress bayou swamp reservation. They are very generous in their local programming so you can catch styles of music ranging from the traditional Louisiana roots to new, genre defying sounds. KRVS is always amazingly supportive of local acts and many times have in-station live performances and also artists come in for interviews about upcoming shows or releases – so important for our music community.
Givers – Go Out All Night by The Line Of Best Fit
The Blue Moon Saloon
This is an amazing half-outdoor venue that accommodates many of the musicians you’ll find around town ranging from the traditional styles of Cajun and Zydeco to rock & blues and onward to even the most obscure artists. Almost always you can attend a show there and be greeted by dancing partners of varying ages on the wooden floors – ultimately it is a warm place to be able to dance freely, listen to live music heartily and share libations with friends. It also serves as the only hostel around the area so many people traveling through have a chance to enjoy the downtown area of Lafayette and experience the nightly music that the venue has to offer. It really is the best place to stay; tons of musicians travel through there and often you can hear them jam on the front porch communicating through the universal language of music.
Being from south Louisiana it is hard to distinguish between culture and food; they both meld together so beautifully. Food is not only a reflection of the culture, it IS the culture. It is the main focus of nearly every festival we have in Louisiana from the crawfish festival to the cattle festival. So naturally, our food in Louisiana is as diverse as our heritage; which can be traced back to Haiti, Nova Scotia, Africa, and other countries. All of these elements combine in a very complimentary way in southern Louisiana food. It’s the epitome of the American ideal, food is the one of the few things that can combine all these cultures. It brings people together rather than dividing them. If there’s one thing we can agree on in Lafayette, it’s that we love our food. And cooking is one of the few activities in life that can be a vessel for expression. And when you’re expressing love through your food, which most southern Louisiana food is, you provide a heightened sensual experience….and we are very sensual people. Eating is not just a ritual of necessity in Louisiana, it’s an experience.
A good food experience is very hard to come by, but Louisiana food goes deeper than just your stomach, it hits your soul; if you don’t have a spiritual relationship with your food you’re not eating/cooking it right.
UL school of music
Lafayette draws in people of varying age and demographic because of its strong culture, but maintains a large influx of young people due to the University of Louisiana. The school of music, while only formally teaching classical and jazz, attracts students with diverse musical backgrounds and interests, looking to further their knowledge and make connections. All of us were at one time students of this university and some of our first encounters playing music together were within the walls of the music building. Having the facilities to create, rehearse and record music with like-minded individuals was both a valuable and memorable experience.
‘Up Up Up’ is out 1 August on Island.p;