It’s been almost four years since The Lumineers released their self-titled debut album in April, 2012. During that summer, and throughout the fall and winter, the single – “Ho Hey” – steadily worked its way into the mainstream, becoming internationaly massive.
The Denver trio’s unassuming hit, a folkie stomper, was a song you couldn’t escape hearing on radio stations, supermarkets, commercials, and Wawa’s. The Lumineers – Wesley Schultz, Jeremy Fraites and Nyka Pekarek – went from playing small clubs and stages (i.e their Marina Stage performance at WXPN’s XPoNential Music festival in 2012) to major amphitheaters (their sold-out appearance at XPNfest at the Susquehanna Bank Center in 2013). It seemed like the band kept growing and growing in popularity and on April 8th, The Lumineers return with their long awaited followup to their debut, Cleopatra.
World Cafe host David Dye got a chance to talk with The Lumineers lead singer and songwriter Wesley Schultz about the new album. In their recent coversation, Schultz asked about their big hit. “When you play a song thousands of times over, sometimes dozens of times a day, sometimes it’s a little hard to feel connected. You feel like you are covering someone else’s song.”
Throughout the steady growth of their success, the band kept centered throughout it all. Schultz said, “I think it would mess with anybody pretty good. You feel like people are trying to form you and shape you as you grow in size and scale. It’s kinda like they really don’t tell you how to do it. So we just tried to keep to ourselves throughout the process.”
Schultz described the first single, “Ophelia,” as “a long ominous march forward in step with ‘Ho Hey’ from the first album.” The album, says Schultz, “is sonically pretty different from the first one. The common thread is a lot of the percussion has remained.”
The Lumineers started making Cleopatra at the beginning of 2015. It took its own time, eight months in all: six in a small house in Denver writing, and two recording in the Catskills with Simone Felice from The Felice Brothers producing. Schultz referred to the very spiritual Felice as “our shaman.” Schultz sums up the experience that has led to Cleopatra: “Dealing with success was actually a lot harder than dealing with failure. Jeremiah and I just drove ourselves a little crazy but came out with something we think is pretty special.”
Dye says “Ophelia” represents Schultz’s message about the whole experience. The song starts with the lyric “When I was young I should have known better.” “Ophelia,” has The Lumineers’ signature percussive sound, with a memorable, repeated melody. Listen to it below.