Before he became St. Lucia a couple of years ago, Jean-Phillip Grobler had no real love for synthesizers.
"When I started doing (music I still had fairly narrow tastes," says the South African-born Grobler, 30, who moved to New York after studying music in Liverpool, England. "I was very into indie rock an stuff like that. So my attitude was, 'Why would you ever use a synthesizer?' That was the worst thing you could ever have. It made no sense to me."
But on its two EPs and just-released debut album, "When the Night," Grobler's St. Lucia is all about synthesizers -- which, he says, came from writing advertising jingles after his move across the pond.
"Doing commercial music, you had no idea about what you'd be doing every day," Grobler explains. "I took that as an opportunity to discover different things and learn about different things. And I was forced to use electronic sounds and there were a few analog synthesizers where I was working, so after spending time with them over a couple of years I started to develop a sound that was equal parts electronic but with acoustic elements and felt very comfortable."
The commercial work, Grobler adds, also helped him develop the hooky, infectious popcraft that can be heard throughout "When The Night."
"Writing commercials you were forced to use all sorts of different things," says Grobler, who composed music for Hampton Inn and Capital One credit card spots. "They don't want to hear about art; they want to hear something people will like and will hook them in quickly. That's a good thing for a young artist to learn about, I think."
St. Lucia performs with Two Door Cinema Club and Peace Friday, Oct. 38, at the Crofoot, 1 S. Saginaw St., Pontiac. Doors open at 7 p.m. Tickets are sold out. Call (248) 858-9333 or visit www.thecrofoot.com.
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