Most know her as Lauri Murphy, but the Watertown resident goes by Lucretia X. Machina when she sings lead for Lucretia’s Daggers, a band that is celebrating its 20th anniversary. To celebrate, the group is making a video of one of their songs around Watertown with the help of an arts grant and funds raised through a crowd-funding website.
Murphy has lived in Watertown for 30 years, and is a founding member of the Watertown Environment & Energy Efficiency Committee (WE3C). She describes Lucretia’s Daggers as a mixed-genre dark-lyrical electro-rock band, and their music has a socially progressive message.
The current members of Lucretia’s Daggers are Lucretia X. Machina (vocals and lyrics), Donni Darko (bass, lyrics and backing vocals) and Maxx Charvelle (guitar, backing vocals and lyrics).
Recently, the band began shooting the video for the song “Lonely Island,” from the 2019 EP, Thoughts & Prayers. The song, written by bassist Donni Darko, touches on depression and mental health.
“It is kind of melodic and speeds up at the end. It reminds me of Foo Fighters,” Murphy said.
When looking for funds to shoot and produce the video, Murphy enlisted the Watertown artist Dawn Scaltreto. The pair got to know each other through Facebook interactions about Town groups and activities, and it turned out they lived around the corner from each other. Scaltreto helped Lucretia’s Daggers with its grant application to the Watertown Cultural Council.
“Dawn wrote a five-page application for us with images,” Murphy said.
The band submitted the application in December and a few months later learned it had been awarded $500. The grant was given by the Watertown Cultural Council, which receives a large part of its funding from Massachusetts Cultural Council.
One requirements of the grant is to make the project available to people in Watertown. The band will send the video to its followers on email, put it online on places such as the the Lucretia’s Daggers website, social media pages and other places.
“It will be everywhere: on the website, sent to Facebook groups and to all the email addresses we have,” Murphy said.
The video will be shot at various locations around Watertown.
“Last Saturday, April 17, we filmed outside at the School of Rock, Mount Auburn Cemetery, in back of the Arsenal Yards, and a bit along the Charles River Greenway,” Murphy said. “We will do more of the latter this coming Sunday, as well at a warehouse on Arlington Street, and possibly at a few historical houses.”
In an effort to improve the production quality, Lucretia’s Daggers also started a campaign on crowdfunding website Indiegogo. Fans can donate to help fund the video, or buy merchandise packs.
“With the grant, we can start this initial video this Spring including taping, editing, effects, imagery, animation, still art, space rental, props, and more. Increased funding will mean greater artistry and possibly additional videos for other tracks like ‘Thoughts & Prayers’ (anti-gun violence), ‘New Army’ (climate change awareness), ‘Terror Nation’ (inclusiveness, anti-discrimination & social justice),” the Indiegogo page says.
See more information and go to the fund-raising page by clicking here.
Lucretia's Daggers formed in 2001 in Boston,Massachusetts, United States, has a uniue and irreverent style. Check out the exclusive interview with the Local Stage.
Local Stage: First of all, introduce yourself to our audience. Who are Lucretia's Daggers?
Lucretia's Daggers: Thank you, Paulo. Currently we are a band of three people, with Donni Darko on bass, Artemis Juno on evil guitar and syncopated laptop, and I, Lucretia X. Machina, with introspective lyrics and vocals.
Local Stage: How long have you played together?
Lucretia's Daggers: Lucretia's Daggers has existed in various incarnations since 2001. This particular formation has been around since the summer of 2016.
Local Stage: The name that is related to Lucretia My Reflection by Sisters of Mercy?
Yes. It's a tribute to both the Lucretia's Daggers: Sisters Of Mercy in particular and the gothic / industrial music in general, as we are a mix of gothic, industrial genre and other musical genres.
Local Stage: About the song "Public Transit". Could you explain something about the lyrics? Is it about some common situation you experience in the city?
As with "Retail", however, you will notice that all our "complaints" are with the I tried to address every "evil" when using the Massachusetts Bay Transport Authority (MBTA) Public Transportation System (in the Boston area) ... from the point of view of a disgruntled passenger. Like "Retail", PT is a dramatic and comical commentary on (the lack of) human decency in everyday real life space. "Public Transit" is the second in the "Snarkalypse" trifecta, after "The Horrors of Retail". Oh, my God, yes. Lucretia's Daggers:passengers / customers, not the business itself! (As a non-driver of long life, I love the MBTA, I forgive you for your failures but not the rudeness of your users!)And ... keep rocking in the "free" world !!
When Lucretia X. Machina of Lucretia's Daggers initially planned tomorrow night's video release show for her band's new track "Public Transit," she imagined it differently.
She didn’t expect that her closest friend and one of her strongest supporters, Anderson Lynne Mar, wouldn’t be there to enjoy this important moment with her. Mar, a respected artist and promoter within Boston’s avant-garde goth-punk scene, died in April at age 41 from injuries sustained when a fire broke out at [her boy]friend’s home in Fall River. The show will double as a tribute to Mar’s legacy.
“She was a huge supporter of bands that probably wouldn’t have gotten a chance anywhere else, or would have been dismissed for a long time,” says Lucretia, over drinks in Harvard Square, about Mar, who makes a cameo appearance in the video for “Public Transit.” “Her whole thing was genre mixing. She put all these things together that didn’t make any sense, and then we made tons of friends with people that we never would have before.”
With Mar’s support, Lucretia’s band graduated from performing at house parties hosted in her Watertown apartment living room to proper venues such as Great Scott and the now-defunct Skybar in Somerville, where Mar consistently gave a broad range of local “dark music” talent a platform to perform. Together they also created Mass. Morgue, an annual Halloween concert that ran from 2002-2010 at Skybar.
That exposure helped the band develop over the course of a decade into its current incarnation as a versatile dark electro-rock crew with a penchant for tongue-in-cheek humor. Much like their 2009 single and video “The Horrors of Retail,” “Public Transit,” a snarky tweak of T commute horror stories filmed on the Red Line, articulates a feeling of angst that should be painfully familiar. “I’m trying to read while you elbow my head … I’m coughing and sneezing from Axe body spray/If you wanted to bless me you’d throw it away” she quips on the jaunty track.
Though Mar’s passing casts a somber shadow over the Lucretia’s new work, the feeling is more one of celebrating her life than of grieving her death. The supporting roster of bands, including Marcelo Carboni, Echo Weapon, Dead Harrison, [and [zeroNegative] all worked with Mar in their careers, and the show will feature a video tribute and poetry reading in her honor before the screening of “Public Transit” and Lucretia’s own performance.
“I want to do justice by her,” says Lucretia tearfully. “I try to make things an event, especially knowing on top of that that I have to do it for her. Not many [individuals] have a huge impact on a lot of people, but she was one. I hope to be, too.”
LUCRETIA’S DAGGERS. MIDDLE EAST UPSTAIRS, 472 MASS AVE., CAMBRIDGE. THU 7.3. 8PM/18+/$10. LUCRETIASDAGGERS.COM
It was with great pleasure when I was approached by Lucretia’s Daggers asking if I would like an interview. I happily agreed to do this. They have been on the alternative scene now for nearly 10 years and have done some quite amazing songs. So this is what happened when I caught up with Lucretia X. Machina herself.
Phill – Can you tell us a little bit of a background about yourself and where in this beautiful world you are from?
Lucretia – A career environmentalist with a BA in English from Simmons College, I grew up in Waltham, MA and currently reside next door in Watertown. An author of poems since elementary school (with much better ones in college, some of which ended up on LD's first album, Sad Flower Songs, I was always in the chorus at school and performed my original works a capella for years at Boston-area coffeehouses before entertaining the idea of forming a rock band.
Phill – Career environmentalist, so what does this involve?
Lucretia – Well, when I'm employed, I'm an Administrative/Executive Assistant/Project & Program Manager for clean energy and other environmental companies/nonprofits. The rest of the time I'm volunteering on my local energy efficiency & environment committee (which I co-founded) producing residential enviro. information events, etc.
Phill – So were you in any other bands before Lucretia’s Daggers?
Lucretia – Nope. I was always in the chorus in school, which is where I learned how to sing. This is my first and only band. I can't be in any others' bands because the purpose of my band is to vent, and I do all the writing. I don't think another band would appreciate me taking over!
Phill – Do you feel that performing a capella gave you the basis to build on your vocals for eventually forming Lucretia’s Daggers?
Lucretia – I suppose it did, though more for my writing than my vocals. To this day, I bring my lyrics to my band with the melody already in mind, sing it to them, and they take it from there, filling in the melody with their instrumentation. Since I can't play any instruments, they have a lot of free range for interpretation, though I will make suggestions based on how I hear a song in my head, or if I think the sound they produce isn't quite communicating the feeling of the song as I had intended.
Phill – At what point in your life did you decide to form your band and why?
Lucretia – August 2001, post-"divorce” from a bad long-term relationship, my therapist advised me to take a song-writing course at the Boston Center for Adult Education that I was considering. There I met guitarist Andy Berlet, with whom I was paired to turn an otherwise tuneless poem (“Scapegoat”) into a dark lyrical song, a la Nine Inch Nails. We were both impressed with the outcome and decided to continue working together: my lyrics and melodies; his guitar playing, and showcased the “band” at my annual music/art house parties to positive response.
Phill – So what is the meaning behind your name Lucretia’s Daggers?
Lucretia – This is the most convoluted question and answer. It was a confluence of events over time that lead to both my, and then the band's, name, and yet it just came out as “Lucretia's Daggers” without any thought as if on cue. ;)
The “short” answer: my lyrics are confessional and were originally meant to express and release my darkest emotions: sadness, anger, depression. I sought a female icon to serve as a reflection of woman as both victim and victimizer of those emotions. The ancient Lucretia of 500 BCE became my model for the victim (raped by a “nobleman”—see Livy, Shakespeare's “The Rape of Lucrece”) who then killed herself—by knife or dagger—to cleanse herself and family of the dishonor; the infamous Lucretia Borgia, purported poisoner of suitors, served as victimizer (after some research, I discovered that she was nothing of the sort, but also a victim, framed by her family). As for the “daggers”, they are metaphorical for the words and thoughts we internalize to hurt ourselves with, as well as those we externalize toward others in the expression of that darkness.
Meanwhile, back in the real world: I used to produce mega art/music/dance house parties. At one, for Halloween, I wore a black & white dress and a poison ring my mother gave me (why she had such a ring and gave it to me remains a mystery). I was supposed to be Wednesday Addams, but someone declared me “Lucretia” (i.e., Borgia) so I adopted that as an acceptable goth/Pagan name, why not? When Andy and I began playing these parties, we had no name, so in a pinch I declared us “Lucretia's Daggers”. (I contemplated “Lucretia and the Daggers” to sound phallic in advance of acquiring more male musicians in the band, but thought better of it....)
Years later, at my retail job (the one that inspired “The Horrors of Retail,” which is out on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9a2-7vW8HkU) the store acquired thousands of little daggers meant for a game, yet we were not to sell “war toys,” so I took them home and attached them to LD's five-song demo (no longer in print) and gave them out at shows. They are now jewelry—necklaces and earrings—for the band, fashioned by Purple Dream Arts/Lara Gassel. Check them out!
Phill – Have past experiences in life given way to inspiration to your lyrics?
Lucretia – Absolutely. As already explained, they are the reason for what I write, the raison d'etre for the band. Writing and performing are my form of therapy, continuing on the experiences I got out of working with an unconventional therapist!
Phill – Have the lineup changes affected your music at all?
Lucretia – Yes. It started out somewhat Indian influenced, then reggae influenced, to heavily synth program-based, to psychedelic metal, and now more metal, rock, and synth combined. This is the best sound for us overall, more dance-able and accessible while maintaining some of its arty, quirkiness.
Phill – Have you had any major stumbling blocks getting your music to the masses?
Lucretia – Who doesn't? Being pigeon-holed as a “goth” band early on because that is the community in which I am most comfortable has been somewhat limiting, especially while our musical style has changed so much from the early days that the moniker “dark lyrical electro-rock” is more appropriate. Whether for lack of networking skills or ignorance about the market, I think we have yet to find our full audience. We don't do this for a living, but to fully live. It's a learning process. Maybe LD's market is really in Europe and we just haven't put our music on the right site yet. Maybe this review will put us over the top!? Who knows. With this current lineup, I think we are just starting to hit our stride.
Phill – Is there any place or venue you would like to play at and why?
Lucretia – LD seeks more national and international acts to play with at bigger-named clubs in New England and NYC such as Brighton Music Hall, Johnny D's, Paradise Rock Club, and the House of Blues Front Room; festivals/events like ArtBeat, Boston Green Fest, Kahbang, North by Northeast, and Arisia; as well as more art spaces such as Club Oberon, Firehouse13 Gallery, Red Room/Cafe 939, Mobius, Arts at the Armory and the Somerville Theatre; and the college/university circuit.
Phill – Do you intend to take Lucretia’s Daggers out of America? If so what countries would you like to play and how do you expect to promote your music overseas?
Lucretia – Damn, that would be nice, but funds and other commitments preclude that for now. At minimum, we have a contact in Quebec, CAN who would love to have us play in her store. She bought a stack of CDs from me to resell on faith and says the music scene up there is much more open and supportive, especially of our brand of music. Here's hoping it happens someday!
Phill – Without giving too much away is there any instrument or program you wouldn’t be without and why?
Lucretia – Well, I can't play an instrument (other than my voice) to save my life. LOL. Personally, I just couldn't do this without my band mates and their extraordinary expertise.
Phill – So is there any instrument you yourself would like to play Lucretia?
Lucretia – No. I tried learning keys, was sorta good at it, but sold that keyboard and don't remember a thing I learned. I'm too klutzy on stage anyway. I hold my mic in my hand during performances and use the stand as a coat rack for my hat and jacket when I change out of them for certain songs!
Phill – Is there any artist or band in the current alternative scene that you admire?
Lucretia – Yes. Local: Johnny Virum, Mortuus Ortus, Electric Mummy, Cancer Killing Gemini, Jaggery, Dresden Dolls/Amanda Palmer, TUNG, zeroNegative, Daniel Oullette and the Shobjin, AnarchAngel, What Time is it, Mr. Fox?, HUMANWINE, Sans Nomenclature, Amber Spyglass, Death of The Cool, Dreamchild.
Non-local: Bella Morte, Ludivico Technique, Thou Shalt Not, KMFDM/Slick Idiot, Android Lust, Mankind is Obsolete, any industrial, synth, arty, punk, rock, metal bands (in that order), any Projekt Records/Metropolis label bands.
Phill – You can have a holiday anywhere, where would you like to go and what would you do while you were there?
Lucretia – I like tropical weather, so Brazil, since I've already been to Belize. I like eco-tours, so I'd check out the flora and fauna—and just be on the beach, but I get bored just sitting around. Clubbing! I'd like to return to NYC, but more to play than just visit.
Phill – What’s your favourite TV series?
Lucretia – the most recent is HOUSE!! It's not as cool as it was a season or so ago when he checked into the mental institution, but I love Hugh Laurie!
Phill – Are you a tea or coffee drinker?
Lucretia – Tea. Coffee goes right through me—gross! But I do like the flavors.
Phill – What’s your favourite mode of transport?
Lucretia – Public transportation. I don't drive. Yes, one of the few people on the planet who doesn't 1. drive and 2. drink coffee. Kids: It's okay to live LOW IMPACT. Cheaper too.
Phill – Who’s your favourite movie hero or villain?
Lucretia – Storm from the Xmen. I loved reading my brother's comics when I was younger. My favorite super power would be to fly, and she wears black and controls the weather, so that's cool. Second would be the Dazzler. She wore silver spandex and her powers were in her singing. But I always thought that was kind of a weird “power”....
Phill – Thank you so much for giving Grave Concerns this interview Lucretia, is there anything you would like to add?
Lucretia – This is the most exhaustive interview I've ever had (not that I've had many), so no. Other than thanks Phill and Grave Concerns. And everyone check out www.lucretiasdaggers.com for gigs and music!
Phill – Thanks again so much. Good luck on your forthcoming album and tour.