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Lookbook brings sweet vocals to Public Space One tonight

BY REBECCA KOONS | FEBRUARY 26, 2010 7:30 AM

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Lookbook has a lot of feelings.

The duo, composed of Grant Cutler and Maggie Morrison takes a thoughtful approach to the music it creates and performs, because the band is a representation of the members’ personalities. Having both grown up in the Midwest — Cutler in South Dakota, Morrison in Wisconsin — they attribute this thoughtfulness to the way and region in which they were raised.

“It definitely affects how we feel about our music,” Morrison said. “Having strong family connections might also contribute to that. We definitely want to insert our own feelings into the music.”

The atmospheric sound and sweet vocals of Lookbook will be on display at Public Space One, 129 E. Washington St., at 9 p.m. today. School of Flyentology and Beast Wars will open.

Todd Olmstead of Public Space One is particularly eager to see the show, because Lookbook will “bring something different” to a venue whose goal is to have diverse programming.

“It should be a very upbeat scene,” he said. “Dance music is often associated with alcohol in this town, so for us to host a dance-music night at our dry venue is going to be different and exciting.”

Cutler and Morrison were in separate bands prior to Lookbook, some of which played together, establishing a casual relationship between the two. When Cutler asked Morrison to do some R&B vocals for him, the project ended up being a lot more serious than they originally intended, resulting in Lookbook.

Much like the group’s music, Lookbook’s influences and tastes are spread out along the musical spectrum, ranging from indie/experimental group Dirty Projectors to Otis Redding and Sam Cooke.
With several studio recordings under its belt, Lookbook has found a way to work effectively while writing songs. Cutler, who also produces, writes the music, which he then passes on to Morrison.

After vocals have been placed and the song tweaked, a song will move from demo to final studio production.

“It has worked pretty well for us so far,” Morrison said. “We’ve done it that way for two albums now, and we plan to do it on the next one.”

With creative endeavors come certain hang-ups. For the Lookbook members, the challenge is trusting themselves to construct something that is as original as possible without compromising the duo’s natural way of making music.

“You don’t want to copy other people, but you’re obviously going to be influenced by what’s happening around you,” Morrison said. “We just really want to be thoughtful without overthinking it.”

Cutler and Morrison hope to set themselves apart with Lookbook’s newest album, which is still in the planning stages. The project will steer away from the ’80s sound that pervades previous releases.

Also, because that specific sound has become popular again in pop music, Lookbook intends to keep moving forward to create new, fresh music.

The live performance is always an opportunity for Lookbook to perform with uninhibited energy and grit, with the anticipation that the audience will connect in any way, whether it be through dancing or an emotional link.

“We all use music to get through bad times or to enhance good times,” Morrison said. “If our music can mean something to somebody, then we’ve done our job. We just try to put on a good show and hope that will be enough.”


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