Interview with Sea of Lettuce (Sled Island 2024)

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Daniel L’Amarca of Sea of Lettuce at I Love You Coffee Shop on Saturday June 22 2024.

Sea of Lettuce is a Calgary based band that came together in 2016. The group composed of 4 friends just came back from Toronto and are happy to be apart of Sled Islands lineup for the very first time. The indie pop band just debuted their fourth album together earlier this month called “Any Day Now”. CJSW had the chance to sit down with the Daniel L’Amarca Sea of Lettuce’s bass player and producer. 

Sea of Lettuce performed at Pin-Bar on Saturday June 22 at 11:30 p.m.

Special thank you to Take Aim Media for organizing the Sled Island 2024 Interviews, and I Love You Coffee Shop for hosting us.


Emil Duguay: Alright, yeah, if I could just get started with your first name and last name.

Daniel L’Amarca: Yeah, I’m Daniel L’Amarca from the band Sea of Lettuce. 

Emil Duguay: Cool, cool. Yeah. So if we could just get started – a bit about yourself and who you are, yeah.

Daniel L’Amarca: So I’m one of four members in the Calgary band, Sea of Lettuce. We’ve been playing in shows in and around Calgary for it’s crazy to say, but I think it’s like seven years now. Doesn’t feel like it, but it is. But yeah we’ve just – we love the city, we love all the different venues it has, and we’re super excited to be part of Sled Island this year. We know how important it is to the city and how big of a festival it is here, so yeah, super excited to bring our sound to the festival.

Emil Duguay: Yeah, awesome. So if you could tell me a bit about how Sea of Lettuce formed. I mean, obviously it’s gonna be a little one sided as the other members aren’t here. But yeah, I saw that you guys formed in like, 2016? 

Daniel L’Amarca: Yeah, so it originally started out with just me and our singer, Wojtek (Musial). It was like, I wanna say, grade 12. We were just looking to jam, you know, like trying to record some covers. I just got Garage Band for the first time, so I was pretty stoked. So yeah, I want to say, like the latter half of grade 12, we just started messing around with that recording, a bunch of covers, seeing what we could come up with, and then in late 2016 we came up with our first four track EP, which is our first release ever on Bandcamp, came out in January 2017 and from there on, we just kept, kind of- I do all the mixing and production for us, so I just kept trying to learn how to get to learn how to get better at producing, because safe to say that first EP isn’t the cleanest sounding thing, but since then, yeah, I think we’ve just gotten better at that, and we’ve gotten more creative and really advanced with our discography, because now we’re at about four albums, couple EPs. And yeah, so it just, it started out as a high school kind of just jamming with a friend. And then we added in the other two members, Dylan (Hameluck) and Caolán (Ayres), who, we’re longtime friends, we’ve known each other since, like, grade school. And yeah, we haven’t really looked back since then.

Emil Duguay: And what about you as as an artist yourself? Like, when did you first kind of get into music? And who are your influences?

Daniel L’Amarca: Oh, I’ve been, like, playing instruments my whole life. I started playing piano, like a lot of kids do when I was, I want to say like seven or eight. Went from there to guitar, and I’ve just always had an interest in- I’ve always been in bands right throughout, like, junior high and all that. Like, it’s funny enough me, Dylan and Caolán – two of the other members – had a band in the talent show in grade nine. So it’s a long time coming to get to where we are now. But yeah, I’ve just always been into music and always been into the idea of creating and releasing, like our own sound. So this was just the next step after that, the next band that came along, except this one, felt a bit more serious. As soon as we started- got our first album under our belt, you know, got our music on Spotify for the first time, which was always super cool feeling. It felt like it was a bit more serious, and since then, yeah, it’s just gotten better.

Emil Duguay: So really, you could tell people that you got started when you guys were 14-15 in grade nine? 

Daniel L’Amarca: Yeah, pretty much. This is just like another iteration of our junior high band, pretty much.

Emil Duguay: That’s cool, yeah? So what are some of the people that inspire you or what kind of artists that you kind of look up to?

Daniel L’Amarca: So I Yeah, with all four of us, I think we all have like, kind of different influences, which really helps kind of create a cool blend. For me personally, like, I’m a big fan of the band Wilco and like, I know, like me and Wojtek, when we first started recording back in high school, we both loved Mac DeMarco, right? It was that 2016 that era, where everybody, like, was inspired by that, right? So that definitely helped kind of fuel our passion for creating music and putting it out. But yeah, personally, like, I love Wilco, Mac DeMarco, I’m a big fan of the 60s and 70s band Love. I know a couple of other guys in the band are big Pink Floyd fans, Tame Impala, just to name a few. But yeah, I think we have a pretty good range overall, when we look at it all, I don’t think any of us really are bound by any genre, like we don’t hate one genre and love another one. We listen to everything. So I think that helps really feed the creativity we have with our influences. 

Emil Duguay: Yeah, awesome. Now moving a little bit into Sled vibes here. Could you tell me a bit about your experience with Sled Island, and if you’ve done any festivals similar to it, or have been to it before?

Daniel L’Amarca: Yeah, no, we so we haven’t actually played in Sled island before. This is our first time, which is pretty cool. We’ve played in a couple other festivals in Calgary, like Big Winter Classic and things like that. That show- we went to Toronto last week and played in North by Northeast. That was our first time actually leaving Calgary for a show. So we’re just kind of getting more into festival mode, I guess you could say. But one of the really cool experiences I actually had, personally with Sled Island was, I was able to do what was called, it was a bit of a mini internship with them last year when I was at U of C, and it was really awesome. I got to work with a lot of the staff and get to know everybody, and kind of really figure out what they’re all about. And I just helped with the marketing side of things, like pushing it, trying to get the U of C demographic kind of more into the festival. And I just thought it was a really cool experience to see how interested everybody was when I was there, about Sled Island. The posters and all the graphics alone are so cool, right? So everybody- I ran a little info booth for them, and everybody who passed by was like, either, what’s that, or I love slut Island, right? So it was a really cool experience. But that’s kind of like my favorite thing about sled, and that’s the closest I’ve gotten to it, which has been really cool.

Emil Duguay: Yeah, so you were an advocate for it, and then now you’re playing in it, which is pretty cool…

Daniel L’Amarca: Yeah, and it’s really cool, like we’re playing at Pin-Bar on a Saturday with a couple other great bands too. But yeah, as a first time Sled Island, like musician, I think it’ll be really cool experience. It’s one thing I do love about festival shows is they do a lot of the work for you in terms of organization and getting everything together. And it kind of feels like Sled Island’s done like an unreal job of just setting it up so we can just show up and just play the music, right? 

Emil Duguay: Yeah, and is there any acts that you’re excited for this year, or any experiences that you’ve had before that you really enjoyed?

Daniel L’Amarca: I guess I was just telling you this off-air, but I’m so excited for Mick Jenkins tonight. His album, “Pieces of a Man”, is like one of my favorite rap albums all-time. So the fact that I get to see him live here in Calgary. I have friends who went and saw him in like Osheaga and a couple other places. And the fact that it’s almost just feels like it’s dropped in on our doorstep and we gotta go see him, is unreal. So I’m super pumped for that tonight.

Emil Duguay: You gotta go. Yeah, you’re here, it’s tonight, you’re playing in it. Yeah, so kind of going with being a Calgary group, which is fantastic. Do you think Calgary’s played an influence on creating your sound? Or how is- obviously your a very local band, so how do you think Calgary played a role in that? 

Daniel L’Amarca: For sure, I think a couple things in Calgary have really shaped us, which is one, just like the overall scene with the venues, all the different places we’ve played throughout the years. I mean, that kind of just gets infused into I feel like we got the Palomino intervenes at this point from how many shows we’ve played there, but like, definitely even the weather here, right? Like the beautiful summers and then the awful winters we have, I feel like that plays a pretty important role in, like, the lyrical themes and, like, the overall feel of a lot of our music. But yeah, I think Calgary is a very underrated place in terms of, like, having a local music scene and and I’m happy this is where we are.

Emil Duguay: Yeah and so would you say that it’s helped contribute to your sound as a band?

Daniel L’Amarca: Yeah, I think 100%. It’s tough to explain ‘what is Calgary sound’, but I feel like we kind of fit into that category. Just based on like, what I was saying before about the different things that have kind of molded, like, the story of our band from 2016 to now, right? All our experiences we’ve had here, all the different bands we’ve met and played with, things like that, I think that’s all really shaped who we are and what we put out for music.

Emil Duguay: Yeah, and so I listened to your most recent album, like a couple times yesterday, I was driving in North Glenmore park just blasting it. The vibes were immaculate. It’s a 20 degree day, and I definitely liked it. It kind of gives me the vibe that I was like chilling on a nice beach or somewhere which I absolutely loved that like smooth tunes. What was the process like for that last project?

Daniel L’Amarca: Yeah, so I’m glad to hear you say that that’s like, kind of what we were going for with it. I mean, so on the cover, we have even like the art and everything and like the lyrical themes, the instrumentals, it kind of all ties in with that beach-y feel and theme. So yeah, the making of it, like, it started with, like, one of the singles on it came out last summer, but when that came out, we didn’t really know if it was going to be a one off, if it was going to turn into an EP, or what it was going to be, right? So when the next single “I Gotta Know”, when we made that one, which was late fall, early winter, last year. That’s, like, one of the beach-iest songs on the album, and I think it really set the tone, and kind of gave us a direction of, okay, we know where we want to take this one. And so from there on, up until about April, it was just a grind of like- a fun, like creative grind of pulling together the album, getting, like, the track list in order, getting all the different lyrical themes sorted out, the album art like I said before. And it just felt like it really all came together, like almost naturally once we had that direction. So it was a lot of fun. It was my favorite one to make that we’ve made so far, and I think that reflects in the final product.

Emil Duguay: Yeah. So do you guys all work together, all four of you guys, to write and…

Daniel L’Amarca: So in terms of, like, the creative process, I do most of the instrumentals, like personally, and then Wojtek, the singer, he usually steps in at the lyrical part. And then we kind of work together and kind of see how we can bring our personal experiences out, right? Like we we develop a theme together and kind of riff off one another, of like what sounds like it’s gonna work for this, and my favorite ones are the ones that we write together, just because I feel like, in the end, you can hear our different creative perspectives in each song that we write together. So, yeah, that’s usually how it goes in terms of how we build the song out.

Emil Duguay: Yeah. I really liked it. It was a good last project. Yeah, so is there anything that your fan base or people that follow you don’t generally know about you guys as a band? Like, is there anything, if people wanted to research you that they couldn’t find, or a fun fact or little nugget that people don’t really know?

Daniel L’Amarca: Yeah, I guess I could give a little tidbit about our live performances. I think some of our earlier stuff that we put out back in like, from call it 2016 to 2020, I personally love it live so much more than the recorded versions. I love the recorded versions too, but just from playing them so much, I feel like it really brings the songs to life in a different way when we play live. So I guess if they want to see if it’s true. I mean, you could come see it on Saturday night at the at Pin Bar. But yeah, we have, we have quite a few songs. A good example, we have one called “Summer’s Gone” that came out in 2018 and like I said before, I love the recorded version still, but I just think live, it’s a completely different- it’s such a different experience listening to it live.

Emil Duguay: Yeah. I’m just trying to imagine, like you four all creating these projects, and I’m excited to see you guys play tomorrow.

Daniel L’Amarca: Yeah, no, it should be good. We I think we’re well practiced right now, which is nice. We had an album release show at the King Eddy two weeks ago now and then, like I was saying before, we were over in Toronto last week for North by Northeast. So we’re feeling like we’re probably at our best live, that we have, like ever been, which is pretty nice going into this one, especially going into this one, which is a pretty big one which is a pretty big one for us.

Emil Duguay: Yeah, you got Sled now…

Daniel L’Amarca: It’s been a good month. It’s been exciting.

Emil Duguay: Awesome. Is there anything else I haven’t asked you that you feel like is an important little tidbit, or anything that’s…

Daniel L’Amarca: I guess, no, not really I feel like you covered, covered, most of it. I mean, I guess I would just wrap up by saying, like, we’re so excited for this one. I think the new songs off of “Any Day Now” – the new album – live, they’re already sounding like- we love them, and we know they’re going to be regulars in the rotation. And so really excited, not only with the shows we just played in June, but like with this one, for Sled Island, for people to hear them live for the first time. Because it’s cool for us too, because it’s new for us to be playing them as well. So everything about this performance on Saturday is lining up to be like one of our best. So super excited.

Emil Duguay: Yeah. Is there any – how do I word this? How would you describe the genre of your newest album?

Daniel L’Amarca: I think you might have described it best when you said “beachy”, which, I don’t know if that’s a genre, but it’s definitely a vibe. But I mean, we do fit into the like, the indie rock like classification, I think pretty well. But I just think, yeah, we kind of bring I guess I have to almost to describe like, the setting I feel like the music we make fits best on like a summer day. That’s the way I see it. And so I’d say indie rock meant for the summer or on the beach. That’s the way I describe it.

Emil Duguay: We need that in Calgary, our summers are precious to us.

Daniel L’Amarca: We very much do.

Emil Duguay: Awesome, thanks so much for letting me interview you today.

Daniel L’Amarca: Awesome. Yeah, thank you. I appreciate it.

Emil Duguay: Awesome.