After LANCO released their new EP, Honky-Tonk Hippies, I talked with the band’s Brandon Lancaster about the project and the direction they chose to go with this one.
LANCO have built a reputation for being one of the most consistently ever-changing groups in country music. After a year-and-a-half off the road and at home, they tapped into the fun aspect of music. That’s what led them down the path of their Honky-Tonk Hippies EP:
“The whole thing was burst out of fun. We’ve been sitting around a year-and-a-half, and during that year-and-a-half, getting together writing for the fun of writing; not because it’s on your schedule, but just as a band. We were envisioning playing live and making songs that you’d want to play live at a festival or at a show.”
He describes this collection of songs as “a fun, rocking, country, rock-and-roll project.” You wouldn’t be alone if you’ve never heard the term honky-tonk hippie before, so I had to ask exactly what that meant to them and why they chose that as the title:
“A honky-tonk hippie is LANCO. Hippies were born out of the rock and roll movement and the songwriting movement. The idea of it is that you take life as it comes and try to love everybody around you, and that’s something that flows through the atmosphere and the energy of our band. Loving on people and trying to take life as it comes. The honky tonk part, I mean, we’re a country music band, so we’ve been traveling the country for years playing honky-tonks across the country and even over in Europe. You put those two things together, and you’ve got LANCO.”
The vibe across these five songs is so consistently upbeat and lively. LANCO wrote several songs that went in different directions emotionally, though. Brandon told me, “…we had some stuff that tugs at the heartstrings and some serious stuff and some dark stuff. We put all our emotions down on paper in music.” Ultimately, they decided that since this summer was the time that their band would be playing several summer festivals and people would be getting back outside “going to games, having fun, and grilling out” that they wanted “to make a soundtrack for that.”
Influences from ‘90s country and more of a throwback vibe are evident on this project with some songs borrowing elements from past hits like “Chattahoochee” by Alan Jackson or “Thank God I’m A Country Boy” by John Denver. Brandon said that era was certainly influential on each of them: “We all grew up on country music. We grew up in Tennessee, Kentucky, and Georgia, so we’re heavily influenced by ‘90s country. We wanted to put a lot of that influence on this EP because we haven’t been able to do a whole lot of it in the past.”
Looking back across LANCO’s past albums and previous singles, it’s easy to see that their style and taste is constantly evolving. Lancaster totally agreed and said, “That’s the cool thing about a band. We all have different influences. You can literally go through out catalog and hear very different headspace we’ve been in and different places sonically and lyrically. As a band, we have so many different influences, and we want them all to be out there, but that takes time to be able to put it out there. That’s why I’m really happy about on this EP. It definitely has a huge side of LANCO that hasn’t been showcased, yet we’ve always known it’s there.
Despite just releasing this new EP, Brandon confirmed that the group is “already working on new music.” This fall, they’re going to be headed out on their Honky-Tonk Hippies Tour, and he assured me, “It’s gonna be fun. It’s go time. We’re back!” Get your tickets to here.
Buy and stream their Honky-Tonk Hippies EP here.