LAKE, 10 years later: Olympia indie band with South Whidbey roots to perform 100+ songs during 12-hour set

LAKE performs at a recent show at the SOhO in Santa Barbara

Ten years later, LAKE has plenty to sing about.

The indie pop band that sprung from Olympia’s music scene a decade ago is returning to frontman Eli Moore’s hometown for a free 10-year anniversary performance Aug. 22. LAKE will play every song from its 10 albums (seven published, three unreleased), an estimated 120 pieces, during a 12-hour marathon at Bayview Hall this Saturday.

But don’t call it a concert.

“We’re thinking it’s more like an art installation than a show,” said multi-instrumentalist and vocalist Ashley Eriksson, who has been married to Moore for four years. “It’s not about the performance being good.”

Added Moore: “I picture some of the songs as going to be a complete disaster.”

Moore had to leave South Whidbey, which is where he grew up and where his parents still reside, to find his voice. The 37-year-old tried the music scene in Los Angeles, where he first met Eriksson, before they relocated to Olympia and founded LAKE with Kenny Tarantino and Lindsay Schief. The first letter of their first names is how the band’s name was created – L for Lindsay, A for Ashley, K for Kenny, E for Eli.

K Records in Olympia signed them to a deal, and has released all of their published albums.

For their 10-year anniversary and full catalog celebration, not every song will be played in its entirety. Some songs, said Moore and Eriksson, have not been played in front of a crowd in several years.

“Over the years, people ask, ‘Why didn’t you play that one song?’ ” Moore said, adding that this is LAKE fans’ chance to hear anything and everything the band has recorded.

They are the only two who live on South Whidbey. The other band members live in Olympia and Portland, making full-band daily rehearsals impossible.

“It’s not like we can do a run through,” Moore said.

Added Eriksson: “It’s actually not possible with this group of people.”

These days, LAKE is a veritable collective of musicians, including current bandmates Markly Morrison and Andrew Dorsett. But LAKE members past and present are expected to help carry the 12 hours of tunes.

Eriksson and Moore moved back to Langley, his hometown, a few years ago. Having recently returned from a six-show, 10-day tour of California and a brief camping trip to British Columbia, Moore and Eriksson were already preparing for their magnum opus. Inside their home, instruments, amplifiers, keyboards, synthesizers, a violin, drum kits, guitars, and microphones are line the walls and floor, but in an orderly way. Where they live is where they work, recording and scoring music for their band, stage and film.

LAKE has some popularity for recording the end song to Cartoon Network’s “Adventure Time.” But Moore and Eriksson also record for local performances, such as the Whidbey Children’s Theater production of “Peter Pan” and OutCast Theater’s “The Pillowman.”

In addition to performing, they were thinking of opening up one of the microphones to fans and friends willing to sing along.

People give credit to musicians for three-hour sets. For the lo-fi, relaxed energy of LAKE, a 12-hour show will be just as daunting as a high-energy, thrashing concert.

“I’m a little scared, I’m not sure what it’s going to be like physically,” he said.

They credited the Beach Boys, Beatles and Velvet Underground as influences for LAKE’s sound, which Moore described as pop/soft rock. And though they are a band that has a romantic relationship in its midst, akin to Fleetwood Mac, Moore and Eriksson said they don’t have any of the relational drama that Stevie Nicks and Lindsay Buckingham had in the 1970s. Moore’s uncle, he said, had a different take on LAKE’s sound.

“My uncle described us as … if the Velvet Underground had Sade as the lead singer and their manager was pressuring them to sound like The Talking Heads.”

Scheduling the anniversary at Bayview Hall was a simple choice for Moore and Eriksson. They were married there, Moore once worked at the hall and sometimes they record music there.

“It’s this empty space, you can make it what you want,” Moore said.

The 10-year show is not a farewell concert, Moore and Eriksson said. The band is regrouping after some touring, and some of the members are busy with other projects. The husband and wife are focused on their love of music, making it for LAKE and for theater and film, with a new album in the works.

Ten days before the anniversary date, Moore and Eriksson fiddled around with some songs from their extensive catalog while being photographed. As they played and sang, they began to delve into how some of them may be performed at the actual show. Thinking about the task, Moore realized LAKE may be blazing a trail.

“I don’t think anybody’s ever done it before,” he said.

“It’s almost a magical rite, it’s a ritual,” he added.

LAKE 10-year anniversary installation

LAKE, an indie pop band out of Olympia, will perform a free concert of every song from its 10-album, 10-year career, in chronological order of release this weekend.

The performance begins at noon, Saturday, Aug. 22 at Bayview Hall, 5642 Bayview Road, Langley. 

Lyric books will be available for people to sing along, and the show is designed for all ages. The performance will also include music videos, projected archival footage and a potluck for people to bring and share a dish.

All of LAKE’s music can be heard online at http://laketheband.bandcamp.com.