Lucy Dacus plays August Hall to promote her second album “Historian.” (Courtesy Matador Records)

Lucy Dacus tackles fear on ‘Historian’

Indie rocker calls sophomore album ‘hopeful’

Lucy Dacus understood sophomore-jinx pressure all too well as she was penning 2018’s “Historian,” the followup too her delightfully quirky 2016 debut, “No Burden,” and its charming alterna-hit ”I Don’t Wanna Be Funny Anymore.” But she didn’t care. “I never felt any of that pressure,” pleased with laconic tracks like “Addictions,” “Night Shift” and two odes to her late grandmother, “Next of Kin” and “Pillar of Truth.” “What I felt instead was a responsibility. I knew people had really listened to ‘No Burden,’ so they would be listening to this one, too, so I had to make something that I could stand by for my entire life.” She also found the time to form the spinoff trip boygenius with her chums Phoebe Bridgers and Julien Baker.

Did you have a rule book for what constituted a solid sophomore song?

No. I never like most rule books when it comes to most creative things because they really can mess with what’s possible. So I guess I had only one rule: that I have to like it, and that it has to not be hurting anyone.

What did you choose to focus on, then?

I guess it kind of turned out to be a thesis on how I handle my fear. I wanted to write about something integral to who I am, so I felt like I needed to get vulnerable with people and talk about what I fear. So there are songs about self-esteem and songs about identity and death, and the idea of home. It’s pretty heavy, but I don’t think it’s negative at all. It’s ultimately about trying to be a hopeful person.

What’s your biggest fear? Or the one you were most uncomfortable writing about?

I guess, in truth, I fear the people that I love, dying unfulfilled.

Julien Baker is always a great interview, so well-versed on various topics that our conversations rattle on for over an hour. What do you guys talk about in the boygenius tour van?

The tour bus is one thing because you’re at work. But we’ve been hanging out a lot this year, and we can just talk for hours. And we talk about faith, we talk about purpose, art, books, animals, time. The list just goes on and on. And the conversation may feel like it’s nothing special, but actually it’s incredibly special to me, and I’m really grateful for the years that I’ve known her, and the fact that I get to know her better all the time.

Good conversation is a rare thing now.

Yeah, and it’s becoming rarer and rarer — that late-into-the-night-and -covering-everything-type talking. But if you know you want it, you can reach out and invite it into your life more. It still exists.


Lucy Dacus

Where: August Hall, 420 Mission St., S.F.

When: 8:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 25

Tickets: $20 (sold out)

Contact: (415) 872-5745,

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