Ross Clark loves his bass guitar almost as much as he loves the tropical-dance craze of this generation. As the bassist for indie synth-pop band St. Lucia, he combines both of his muses together to create the band’s beautiful, eclectic sound.
That clean-yet-upbeat sound dazzles the crowd at St. Lucia’s February concert in Kansas City, Missouri. Young hipster diehards mix with locals just looking to catch a good show at the Madrid Theatre. The stage is adorned with cacti, succulents, and symbols from South Africa—the nation lead singer Jean-Philip Grobler hails from.
The band, however, does have Midwestern roots. Originally from Des Moines, bass-guitarist Clark grew up around a tight-knit group of musicians that took turns sharing the local limelight. He was in a band with a few buddies when he met Grobler, who was writing jingles for companies and commercials at the time. The pair bonded over a love for offbeat indie music.
When Grobler and his now-wife Patti combined their talents with Clark, sparks flew. Nick Paul and Dustin Kaufman signed on to play keys and drums, and St. Lucia was born.
The band is now touring on the tails of its second album. “Matter,” which was released in January, was born in a small hacienda in California full of succulents, aloe, and cacti. The desert scene later became the inspiration for the band’s new set.
Clark attributes the album’s focus to Patti Beranek, the token philosopher of the band. “Matter is what we’re all made up of,” Clark says. “It’s the building blocks of everything, the idea for the space imagery and the symbolism for the tour.”
The band lives out their vision with each song. Grobler bounces across the stage. His energy emits the same fresh, tropical vibe as their music. Colorful lights dance across the crowd to the band’s current hit, “Dancing on Glass.”
The song has garnered radio love, making top hit charts both nationally and globally. Grobler writes songs based on personal experience—all while keeping the lyrics relatable. He intertwines themes of love, traveling, nature, and living in the U.S. “Dancing on Glass” talks about someone who won’t learn from their own mistakes. The song asks the question, “How long ‘tip we learn dancing is dangerous?” Though the subject matter is heavy, the song’s beat brings it to life.
St. Lucia writes to identify with listeners. “We don’t want to appeal to a single demographic or genre, we want to be universal, because that’s what’s so great about this type of music,” Clark says. “The possibilities of sounds are endless, and it’s constantly changing.”