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Interview with National Lagarde

Hi! Tell me about your band and what kind of previous experience do you have as musicians?

My name is Terry Lagarde and I am the guitarist/vocalist of the band National Lagarde. When people ask about the band I generally say we’re a rock band, but I guess a bit of an eccentric one that draws it’s sounds from many different styles and ideas, including rock, blues, vintage americana, jazz and flamenco influences. I don’t particularly worry about keeping to any niche sound, but rather just let each song speak to me and become it’s own entity. I guess similar to the way bands like Led Zeppelin or Black Sabbath had their sound, but their songs were somewhat varied in style.

I’ve been a performing musician, as well as a guitar instructor, for many years now. I was a member along with drummer Stuart Smith of a popular 90’s New Orleans Rock-N-Roll band called Rik Slave and the Phantoms, and later became the guitar player for the Danish/ Latvian based band Louie Fontaine and the Starlight Searchers. Bassist Jennifer Kirtlan was a member of the New Orleans based band Hazard County Girls, who toured the states many times over, sharing the stage with many well known artists.

Why did you pick your band name? How did you form? Why did you decide to play the genre or genres you do?

The band name was easy! It was a nickname of mine from a friend and that became the band name! (Thank you Lucy!) The band formed when me and bass player Jennifer Kirtlan went in together on a rehearsal room. At first we were doing our own separate things and then I asked Jennifer to come play bass on some of my songs. After that I invited long time drummer and friend of mine, Stuart Smith to play drums, which became National Lagarde. As for genres, we’re not really trying to fit into one, we just sound the way we do from having varying influences and personalities.

What can you tell us about your latest record?

Our debut “Story of a Southern Gentleman” is a product of music that was influenced by a lot of things. There are a couple of songs on the record that were written long ago when I was in a very dark side in my life and a lot of new material that was written more recently. Some of it was influenced by my moods and some of it influenced by particular guitars and sounds. Whenever people ask me about the record, I usually tell them it is a very moody record and the songs go from the dark side to the bright side of life with a bit of humor thrown in there occasionally. All in all, I am very proud of the record and the way it sounds. I also recorded, mixed and mastered the whole thing. So although it was a tough and frustrating experience sometimes taking on the whole technical side of the project alone, it was a very satisfying experience to work on something from start to finish and be proud of the end result.

What the kind of album feedbacks are you waiting for?

Well, I’ve been walking the earth for a while now and my music is a reflection of feelings and thoughts from this life. If people like it, great! If not, it’s no skin off my back! But if some people truly relate to it and dig it, all I can really say is I do appreciate that and their support very much.

Are you gonna to make some world tour in the future? Do you think this is available for everybody option to tour around the globe? What do you think band have to do to get such opportunity?

I have friends in Europe that are like family to me (after all, I am a Lagarde! ;-)) so the chances of touring that area sometime in the near future are probably pretty good! As far as the rest of the world, sure, we would love to play all over if people like us and want to see us. However, we would need someone like a manager to step in and book that kind of touring. Do I think this is possible for everyone? No, I suppose anyone can tour all over if they’re wealthy and can afford to pay out of their own pocket! But most bands are not like that! So, although you may have the passion and desire to play, without help, that is not an option for most bands. All you can really do is put yourself out there as much as possible on your own or with the help of people that are willing to help you and hopefully that will grow into something that gives you those opportunities at some point! I don’t think there is any secret recipe beside stick with it and do what you can do to make it grow.

Do you believe in heavy music scene without money?

I believe if you love it, you do it no matter what it is and what’s involved!  If money and some success come from that at some point, even better!

What do you think about online music sharing? Do you ever give your music away for free? Why?

We post a few songs for people to check out so that they can hear what the band is about, but in the big picture I think if you check it out and you dig what your hearing, you should buy it to support the artist! In most cases, that artist has put a lot of time and effort (and probably their own money!) to get this out to you.

Who are your musical influences? Have you ever think your band could be so famous as your favorites?

I like a lot of different things for a lot of different reasons. Jimi Hendrix was one of my main guitar influences. Johnny Cash & Nick Cave for their songwriting and subject matter, Ennio Morricone for his soundscapes, plus there are many others, of course! My bandmates are probably influenced by totally different things and that collage of ideas is what makes the National Lagarde sound.

Do I think my band could ever be as famous as my favorites? No, the music industry is totally different now and most people aren’t as emotionally connected with music like they used to be. A lot of people now seem more connected to social media and things like that. I would be perfectly happy to reach a cult status in the music industry and be able to tour some at that level.

Do you have a formal music education? Do you think it’s a Kind of important thing?

Yes, I’ve had private lessons from a young age. I’m a graduate of the Musicians Institute in Los Angeles, when it was still a private music school, as well as post school jazz training with one of the premier jazz instructors in New Orleans. I have also been a private instructor in the southern Louisiana area now for a little over 25 years, which I think on it’s own makes you a more educated musician just from the experience you get from it.

Do I think it’s important? Not always! There are a lot of people out there that are making great music without any formal training. The education part is really just another tool to use in the creativity process. It’s very helpful if you are going to be some kind of technical musician, like a studio or session player that just walks into a gig or to be a teacher. But there are certainly people out there making cool music without it.

How do you balance your music with other obligations – mate, children, job?

At this time I don’t have to do much balancing since I’m single and don’t have children. I run my own guitar teaching business so I can take time off for the band if needed. My drummer, for instance, does have a family and my bass player has a job that requires her to be around at certain times. So we just pick and choose times for small tours or show dates and plan it out around that time. If needed, we’ll plan band photography or video work and if we get more help with touring, in the future,  we’ll probably just adjust accordingly. And, of course if money becomes involved then that makes it much easier for the band to become a main priority.

How do you handle mistakes during a performance? Or you can assure there are no any mistakes during your gigs? Do you get nervous before a performance or a competition?

With small mistakes we just flow through them. To me, music is art in time and that’s just part of a live performance. We’ve botched an intro a time or two and in that case we’ll usually just stop, I’ll make a joke about it and we’ll get going again. But for the most part were pretty rehearsed so usually not too many problems. Do I get nervous? Naaaa, not really! We’ve all been playing shows for many years, sometimes I may have a little anxiety, but I’ll usually do a shot of whisky to relax myself before the show! 😉

What’s next? Thank you!

We’ll keep doing what we do! Hopefully we’ll get more booking and exposure help so that we can play to a broader audience and meet more lovely people around the world, that would be great! Vive La National Lagarde!!!