“My music is the kind of music you play when it’s late at night and you’re nostalgic for last summer,” said musician Lucas Olson.
Olson says he is most strongly influenced by Mk.gee, Sam Cooke, Khruangbin, Nick Hakim, and Frank Ocean.
His interest in music started back when he was only 7 years old, when he found an old acoustic guitar in his uncle’s house.
With only three strings, the guitar was not in any condition to be played, but his uncle let him have it. He saw Olson’s interest in the instrument.
Olson and his parents took the guitar to be fixed, and within weeks he was taking lessons.
Today, Olson plays gigs frequently in downtown Spearfish, Sturgis, and other Black Hills towns, strumming “psychedelic, reverb-filled jazz.”
Some venues he’s performed include the Matthews Opera House & Arts Center, Creekside Bean & Vine, The Custer Beacon, and Iron Phnx. Catch him in Sioux Falls and more when he pays visits to his family in Brookings.
Olson talks about his first performance, his struggles, and what he’s up to.
When Olson moved out to Spearfish in 2017, Chris Huisenga was one of the first musicians Olson says he met. Olson says Huisenga has taken him under his wing, granting him opportunities that he wouldn’t have otherwise.
MY FIRST PERFORMANCE I CAN REMEMBER WAS… a second-grade talent show. I played We Will Rock You and Stand By Me.
MY FAVORITE WAY TO SPEND MY LEISURE TIME IS… lifting, longboarding, meditating, breathwork, and hiking in Spearfish Canyon with my friends.
“When I need inspiration, a drive through the [Spearfish] Canyon with a good playlist never fails.”
THE BEST PART OF BEING A PERFORMER IS… that I’m able to shape my whole lifestyle around the processes of my own artistic evolution.
ONE OF MY FAVORITE PERFORMANCES… a show at Matthews Opera House in Spearfish. After two previous cancellations due to COVID-19 in 2020, Kyler Flock of Matthews and a few friends from the Sigma Tau Gamma fraternity made the performance a reality for me. I’ve made my living primarily by playing in bars and restaurants. This was the first time an audience had come to a venue specifically to hear me perform. And for the first time in a while, I was nervous leading up to the show. That nervousness was refreshing. It gave me a new perspective on what my performances could be.
Caffeinate and Crescendo
One of Olson’s favorite places to stop by is Blackbird Espresso in Spearfish, which he says has “the best coffee in the Black Hills.”
THE HARDEST PART ABOUT PLAYING GUITAR IS… keeping the momentum and motivation to continually play new things. It takes a lot of courage to discard a comfortable repertoire of songs when you recognize you’ve come to a plateau. The continuous return to square one is the hardest part.
SOMETHING I’M DOING RIGHT NOW THAT I’M EXCITED ABOUT IS.. I’ve started giving guitar lessons recently, which has been incredibly rewarding. It feels great to be teaching a handful of young men that are nearly the same age as I was when I first started playing.