Though they’re based in Toronto, the members of Lacerda seem to be spending most of their time in the states. The rock band, composed of Milenko (vocals), James Watkins (guitar, vocals), Bryan Baker (guitar, vocals) and Brad Sharkey (drums, “classic good looks”) have just returned from their second Vans Warped Tour, though it was the first one for which they’d been promised shows prior to hitting the road. Read on to hear about the struggles of being on the tour, and why they consider themselves lucky to be independent musicians.
Without using the words “alternative,” “pop,” or “rock,” or “hip-hop,” describe your sound.
An endearing, experimental blend of passion and catchiness.
You just concluded your shows on the Warped Tour! What was the experience like?
The experience on Warped Tour for an independent band challenges even the most experienced touring veteran. It is hot, sweaty, chaotic, and the working hours never seem to end. We drive ourselves, set up and sell our own merchandise, and load and set up our own gear on top of playing. Despite all the negatives, it is an extremely positive and rewarding experience.
What did you learn about yourselves by playing all of those shows?
We learned that hydration and nutrition are a top priority when braving such brutal heat. Above all we learned to put all of our mental focus into the half hour that we get on stage everyday.
What did you find was the most challenging part of being on the tour?
The most challenging part of being an independent band on this tour is that we are doing everything ourselves. It is difficult to keep up with some of the bigger bands when you have so many responsibilities to take care of. Other bands have roadies, tour managers, caterers, and drivers and we have to fill these roles for ourselves and each other everyday.
I read that this is your second Warped Tour. The first time around you went without a guarantee of playing. How did it work out?
Last year we were basically traveling merchants, playing our music through iPods to anyone who would listen. We missed out on our true passion which is being able to perform in front of an audience. This year we get to fulfill that passion and we have found that we definitely get a great deal more respect from our peers and fans alike.
How do you creatively market and promote your music?
One of the powerful marketing tools we have is using our own personalities. Last year there was a bigger focus on pushing the quantity of sales because we thought it would lead to a larger fan base. However this year we are taking a more relaxed and personal approach, taking more time to talk to individual people and trying to make a lasting connection between ourselves and our fans. We have found that this creates the most loyal audience and we always want to be in touch with people who love the music we create.
What are some of the challenges you’ve experienced as an independent band?
We are in a unique position as a Canadian band that primarily tours the US. Touring is a difficult process for us. We have to apply for our own work visas in order to legally perform in the States.
What are some of the advantages?
We get to call all our own shots, and make the music we want to make. There is no one telling us what to do.
What’s next for Lacerda? Another tour? New projects in the works?
After Warped Tour we plan on going home to record a new single, which will be released early in the fall along with a music video. This release will be followed by an east coast tour. We also have tentative plans for a west coast tour later in the fall. Most of the coming winter months will be spent on writing and recording our first full-length record!