The Lumineers comprise Wesley Schultz (shown), Jeremiah Fraites and Neyla Pekarek

THE Lumineers are one of the unlikeliest success stories of the past few years. As an independent Americana trio out of Denver, they were launched suddenly into the limelight with their trademark anthem, Ho Hey, in 2012.
Since then, the band has been storming stages around the world, performing in front of their legions of fans including at the 3 Arena in Dublin last week.
Wesley Schultz (vocals, guitar) told The Gazette he has a very soft spot for Ireland, saying it’s one of the most picturesque countries he has ever been to.
“It’s really great being back in Ireland. I was here for a wedding a few months back and got to eat again at my favourite restaurant – The Winding Stair. I even went there by myself on my own to try the food!
“I’ve been here a fair amount over the years while touring and travelling. I was at a wedding in Dingle not too long ago, and I stayed in the same place where they shot The Lobster.
“We also rented a car and drove around the countryside. Everything here is just so photogenic, and it really takes your breath away.”
Their latest album, Cleopatra, is full of strange and touching tales, and tells of everyday hopes and busted dreams.
The title track, Cleopatra, sprang from an encounter with a taxi driver Wes met in the Republic of Georgia, who related a tale of personal tragedy without a trace of self-pity.
“People create stories about themselves through social media which are completely disconnected from what we personally know about their lives.
“I felt cleansed to be around someone who was just telling me how it actually was for them.”
Wesley said he never anticipated that their most well-known track, Ho Hey, would become such a massive global hit, reaching nearly 160 million hits on YouTube alone.
“I originally thought it would work quite well live, but not so much in a record. We must have recorded it about a hundred different ways before we came to an agreement, and were even considering leaving all the Hos and Heys out.
“In hindsight, I’m glad we didn’t do this, because the success of the song created an ice-breaker for the rest of our first album.
“During our performances, we don’t leave our audiences hanging around until the very end before playing Ho Hey. It’s usually like our fourth song [in], but there are plenty more songs on this album that I really feel like our audience can connect with.”
Touring up to 300 days of the year, Wesley said that he doesn’t get the chance to get home a whole lot, but loves travelling the world with his band and sharing his music makes up for it.
“Our first album brought us to six continents, and by the end of the tour we started writing our second record, then after that we just started touring all over again.
“Eventually, we’ll get more time to unwind, but for the moment we just want to get the most out of this very special time in our lives.”
Contrary to what many people believe, Wesley feels that there are a lot more opportunities for up-and-coming musicians of all genres.
“I think the music industry these days allows for a lot more acts to have freedom. You can actually be who you are and keep your style rather than having someone pre-approve your music.
“I love the feeling of playing in a more intimate setting, and during our bigger performances we try and capture that raw connection with our audiences. Down the line, I would love to have much smaller, surprise acts before we do our bigger shows.”

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