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Q&A: Lake Street Dive

RedEye special contributor

The Colbert Bump is in full effect for Lake Street Dive.
In early February the soul/jazz collective performed “You Go Down Smooth” on “The Colbert Report,” and a week later its 2012 EP “Fun Machine” surfaced on the Billboard 200. An appearance on “The Late Show with David Letterman” followed, and anticipation was running high for the release of the band's latest full-length, “Bad Self Portraits,” when singer Rachael Price phoned a few days before its late February release.
Of course, the band, which formed nearly a decade ago after meeting at Boston's New England Conservatory of Music, has been building to this point for a while. In 2012 a video recording of the musicians belting out the Jackson 5's “I Want You Back” went viral, and last year the group played with the likes of Jack White and Marcus Mumford at New York's Town Hall during “Another Day, Another Time,” a concert celebrating the music of the Coen Brothers' “Inside Llewyn Davis.”
This has been quite a stretch for the band. What’s been the most surreal part of this whole whirlwind?
It has been a whirlwind. That's the only way to describe it. Being backstage and chatting with Elvis Costello at the Town Hall for the “Inside Llewyn Davis” concert was pretty surreal.
How did that appearance come together?
We have a friend in Punch Brothers who works with T Bone Burnett, and I guess he played our music for him one day. We got a call from T Bone shortly after that saying, “How can I help? What can I do?” The concert was a month away, and he asked if we'd be on it.
I guess there's no confusion as to who's calling when T Bone introduces himself on the phone.
[Laughs] For a second I didn't believe it was really him. I was like, “Really? T Bone is really calling us?” But it's true.
You also appeared on the new season of “House of Cards.”
That was one of those crazy things. The director of the show saw the band play in Hudson, New York, and was like, “I've got a role coming up for a singer, would you want to do it?” I was like, “Sure,” but I figured there was no way it was actually going to happen. Then two weeks later I was on my way to Baltimore to film this scene. I shook Kevin Spacey's hand like 20 times in a matter of three hours. It was bizarre.
That’s one of those shows people tend to binge-watch. Are you a binge TV watcher?
Yes, absolutely. It's my vice. In fact, it's probably my only vice.
What's the last show you devoured?
The newest season of “House of Cards” [laughs]. It was a little weird. I almost forgot I was on it, and when I got to the episode I was in I was like, “Holy [bleep]!”
The turning point for the band really arrived with that Jackson 5 cover in late 2012.
Absolutely. We decided to go full-time with the band about a month before that video went viral. So it felt like one of those signs from the universe.
What was the first sense you had that the song was catching on outside your circle of friends and family?
It was pretty drastic. Overnight it went from like 50,000 views to 300,000. I was notified because I'm connected to the YouTube account, and I was getting emails like, “You have a view. You have a view. You have a comment.”
Does YouTube really send an email with every view? I imagine you adjusted those permissions pretty quickly.
[Laughs] It was terrible! I immediately went and changed my settings on YouTube. I’d get an email every time there was a comment and every time there was a new subscriber, and even that was insane. Overnight we had like 400 new emails. It was like, “What's going on?”
Do you have a favorite viral video?
I should probably say a music one, but I'd say I mostly watch cat videos — kind of like the rest of the world.
I read that your great-grandfather, George McCready Price, was an influential creationist. Did you pay any attention to the recent evolution debate between Bill Nye and Ken Ham?
I did a little bit, but not a ton. To be honest, I didn't even know about that great-grandfather until maybe five or six years ago. [My family] believes in evolution. It’s funny, my grandfather, he actually named my uncle, his son, Darwin [laughs]. He didn't believe in [creationism] either, and he said he did it as a way to balance things out. So, yeah, I have that great-grandfather who's a creationist, and then I also have an Uncle Darwin.

Lake Street Dive, 9 p.m. March 7 at Lincoln Hall. Sold out.

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