Before there was Lucius, there was just Laessig and her musical partner Jess Wolfe, a couple of students at Berklee College of Music in Boston.
"We started writing together about seven or eight years ago," Laessig said. "Originally, we were doing more acoustic, softer sound."
Six years ago, the duo moved to New York, basically to explore a completely different sound than what they'd been doing.
"We just wanted to rock out more," she said. "We started playing with other musicians and began writing more exciting tunes for our sake -- something we could dance to a little more."
While in New York, they went looking for a place to stay.
"We found this house on craigslist," Laessig explained. "We'd already had this one house lined up, but then it fell through at the last minute. We were kind of scrambling when we found this other one."
At first, Laessig and Wolfe weren't sure they wanted the place.
"Jess was like, 'I don't know if we should go,' and I was telling her to come on, come on."
So, they went and the house turned out to be kind of a treasure. The place had been used as a music school and recording studio for decades.
"There was a hundred year-old Steinway piano inside and all these organs," she said. "It was like a musician's dream, and there hadn't been anything about that in the ad. Nothing. The landlords were completely oblivious."
Laessig and Wolfe moved in and invited a few musician friends to come share the rent. Some of them were friends of friends, and that's kind of how the band was put together.
First, they met Danny Molad, a drummer who was also a record producer. Through Molad, they met guitarist and bassist Peter Lalish, then later added Andrew Burri, also on guitar.
"He and Danny had worked together for a long time, like Jess and I had," she explained.
Molad encouraged the pair to record the songs they'd been writing over the last several years.
"We had no plan or anything, which ended up being what was so great about it," Laessig said. "We just got to explore and throw spaghetti at the wall and see what sticks."
The songs formed the basis for Lucius' self-titled EP, which attracted the attention of Paste and Spin magazines, the New York Times and NPR to name a few. The Philadelphia City Paper praised the band's "goose-bump inducing harmonies," while Rolling Stone called them a "must-see" at March's SXSW and raved about their "catchy, distinctive indie-pop tunes."
A full-length album is expected later in the year.
The members of Lucius moved out of the old Victorian house a couple years ago. Laessig said it was an amazing experience living in an open community with eight other musicians.
"Although nine musicians living together with one kitchen wasn't that interesting," she added.Reach Bill Lynch at ly...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5195.