Lucca Dohr | A Conversation about Music & The 5 Stages of Grief.

premiering his new single, ‘Made your Mind’ with a heartfelt discussion

Written by

Sofia Ziman

Photographed by

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"Made your Mind" cover art by Sofia Ziman

Embarking on a new musical chapter, today heralds the release of a new single and self-edited music video from multidisciplinary artist and musician, Lucca Dohr. The autobiographical breakup song, “Made your Mind” is the story of the artist's own emotional disruption. Written in the months leading up to an impending heartbreak, the song resonates with sentiments of bitterness and disbelief, encapsulating the turbulence of that period. Tailing recent singles “We May Never Know” and “Demons at the Dinner Table,” this latest release is the concluding prelude to Lucca's upcoming debut EP, June Bug. “Made Your Mind” is an anthem of transformation and breakthrough, further emphasized with Lucca’s stylistic venture from Singer-Songwriter towards Indie Rock. Set to release in October, the EP is a culmination of songs about the unfolding of a breakup from start to finish –a conclusion of bittersweet acceptance.

Drawing inspiration from the five stages of grief —denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance—FLAUNT engages in a candid conversation with Lucca. As the interview unfolds, we learn how these stages intertwine with Lucca's creative expression and personal journey, providing a profound lens through which we can perceive the emotional depth of his music. This exploration takes a deeper look into the new single, upcoming EP, and the significant influence of grief on the artist's creative process.

Stage One: Denial. 

At this point, it is normal to feel confusion and an inability to picture your life in this new scenario. In a way, this feeling prevents us from becoming entirely engulfed with grief. Was it hard for you to begin writing music during this period? Or did it help you work through the confusion?  Personally, I think art is therapy. It is really cathartic for me. Anytime there’s a difficult obstacle in my life, whether it be a relationship or a personal affair, I turn to art immediately, almost as if there's no other choice. It feels like oxygen to me. In that sense, I can’t live without it. So I honestly didn’t feel like I had the choice to not channel that into my writing. It just happens. And at that time, when I wrote the song with Kyler and Alex, it came all to me. I needed to get it off my chest. Then it all just poured out, rather aggressively and quickly.

How does your music reflect feelings of denial? Looking back now at past lyrics, does it seem like your judgment was clouded? Definitely. Prospective changes, it has changed a lot over the past year. The opening lyric of “Made your Mind,” reflects denial, “We're too afraid to say, we’ll go our separate ways.” I guess the song almost starts by saying that I’m in denial, but so are you. The whole bridge section too, the lyrics “we’ll meet again on the streets of Paris, on and off again” was definitely a lyric that could be related to disbelief. I think that was definitely wishful thinking for our twenty year-old selves. There are other songs in the EP that I have a hard time listening to now. Because the way I feel about the situation has changed.

Stage Two: Anger

Anger is the second of many steps towards acceptance, but this period can also turn someone into an unrecognizable version of themselves.  It seems like you have found a healthy way to channel any feeling into art, whether it is through lyrics, performance, production or other outlets. Can you talk about the way you channeled anger into this project? 

For this song in particular, I would say the vocal inflection in the chorus has the most to do with feelings of anger, and that kind of raw emotion. I don't often go into that vocal range, where it's kind of straining my voice. But I felt as though it was justified for this scenario. The emotions were so urgent, that it felt like a natural place to go. I definitely think there was some frustration with the situation and having to grapple with this feeling of somebody making a decision before anything happened.

Stage Three: Bargaining

The bargaining stage relates to a sort of negotiation– an internal dialogue or a series of “what ifs.”  Conceptually reframing this idea, how did bargaining come into play during the process of collaborating with Alex Tirheimer and Kyler Slater on "Made Your Mind"? Considering the personal nature of the subject matter, how did you navigate the challenges of compromise and finding common ground while staying true to your artistic vision?

I think that collaborating with anybody always has its challenges, but I can honestly say that Kyler and Alex were so open to ideas, so open to change and very fluid in their process. I felt truly welcomed into their space. Kyler and Alex have worked together in the past and are collaborators on a lot of music, so they already had a solid foundation before I arrived. Being part of what they do was really special. Like I said, they were super warm and welcoming but they definitely pushed me too. They encouraged me to go further with the vocals so I started to go into that new range. I remember Alex having me do some vocal runs that I wouldn’t usually do. They really understood the vision and were along with the ride. You can’t ask anything more of a collaborator except for their trust, and the freeness to speak their mind. I feel so fortunate to have worked with them and I can't give them enough credit for the reason why the song means so much to me. 

Was their influence what drove you to experiment within a new genre? Or was it more of an internal bargaining that got you there?

It was funny, the song started off pretty mellow. It was just this guitar line that I laid down, very much in my usual singer-songwriter landscape. And then I guess I had a lot of energy this one day and I randomly said to Alex “what if we threw some indie pop drums over this?” So he just nodded his head, and cooked up a really, really great beat. And then once he added that we started to hear the foundation of the production and took things from there. But yeah, they definitely encouraged me to lean further into it. Kyler has a background in pop songwriting too, so having his input on certain melodies and vocal ideas was particularly effective as well.

Stage Four: Depression

By far the darkest point of this battle, the longest and loneliest. In this stage, I think it is hard to imagine it passing. Some artists like to marinate in this state for the sake of their work while others seek relief. What is your experience in the deep end? How did this stage translate into the vulnerable aspects of your music?

The song “Loosh98”, which I released in 2020, is all about depression and mental illness. This is a familiar emotion, but it's interesting when it's kind of pasted onto another person in your life and not just chemical. To be honest, when I wrote “Made your Mind”, I had no idea what I was in for in terms of emotional disruption. I didn't know what the stages would be. And that was a depressing feeling in itself. The confusion and uncertainty of the future definitely had a weight on me, I would say, it was more of an emotional weight than a depression. Looking back on that now, I just have such a different perspective about that stage of grief in a relationship.

Stage Five: Acceptance

I guess that pain never fully disappears, though it doesn’t have to burn as hard as it once did. It looks different for everyone, but what does acceptance mean to you? How does it bleed into your work?

I believe that acceptance is tailored to the individual. Each person has their own form of acceptance and their own way of processing some form of difficult traumatic emotion. Acceptance, for me, inherently involves empathy, understanding and compassion. Where I find empathy in someone else, I find empathy for myself, I guess? Being patient with your own emotions and fully letting them unfold is acceptance in some way.  The last song on the EP was written in May of 2023, it is an ode to bittersweet acceptance. As the middle song on the EP, “Made your Mind,” dances around the earlier stages of denial, anger and bargaining. The cover art was shot on a foggy day in early July. It had been a while then, since I had recorded the song. The bright lights juxtaposed with the emptiness of the beach capture that surreal feeling of the melancholy. The cover shows me looking off to the side. I’d like to think now that maybe that's me looking at the past with a new outlook, acceptance. 

How have you been able to look back at the works of this period through a lens of acceptance? 

It's surreal. A lot of the songs are extremely prophetic. Like I mentioned, “Made your Mind” was written prior to the breakup and so many aspects and lyrics kind of came true in some weird way. So looking back on a lot of those songs haunts me. It shows the power of manifestation and also intention. If you're writing and singing songs about a breakup, well… there's probably going to be a breakup because some part of your subconscious is aware of it and needs to express that. And that applies to every aspect of translating your perspective and emotions through art. A lot of my work is related to my subconscious, so it instituted the idea that art can be prophetic. You won't always know the answer to something until further down the road, but creativity can give you some intense clues and some really difficult answers.

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Lucca Dohr, Made your Mind, Sofia Ziman