From Ottawa to Montreal, the boys of Out By Lucy tell all

Learn about the band following their short but mighty first tour

From left to right: Dom Doyon, Harrison Mees, Julian Moreland and Sam Moreland huddled around their custom drumset. Courtesy Serena Yang

On Feb. 16, Ottawa’s very own, local indie-rock gem, Out By Lucy, embarked on their freshman tour across Ontario and Quebec.

Kicking off the tour from their hometown, the quartet began at the Yeti Cafe in Kitchener before continuing down to Brantford, Toronto, Peterborough and Montreal’s Ratwater venue on Feb. 23, before finally ending back in Ottawa Feb. 24. With Harrison Mees on rhythm guitar and main vocals, Dom Doyon on bass and vocals, Sam Moreland on lead guitar and Julian Moreland on drums, the group has amassed a humble cult following in the five years since their inception.

Out By Lucy played their first Montreal show at the comically dubbed in-house venue, Ratwater—a play on words on the nearby Atwater metro station— that is owned by roommates and fellow music aficionados, Henry Seymour,  Henry Sherman, Oscar Mietelski and Connor Muggli-Manson.  

“We started Ratwater because we thought venues took way too much of a cut from bands and we wanted to have more freedom in how we organized our own shows,” Seymour said.  

This unique attribute was acknowledged and appreciated by Out By Lucy.

“It's a beautiful apartment and that would not be the case in Ottawa,” said Julian Moreland. The admiration of the venue was seconded by Doyon, who praises the comfort of the intimacy of an in-house show in comparison to other venues. 

“It's certainly much more intimate than a normal venue. It's nice to be at an even level to the audience sometimes for a change of pace. In my case, not being fully comfortable on stage at a usual venue, it made me feel more comfortable as if I'm just another person in this room with a bunch of other people who love music,” Doyon said.

The origins of  Out By Lucy’s band name came from Mees, Sam Moreland and Julian Moreland who had grown up together in Prince Edward Island's Waupoos Marina. The name was born from days spent hanging out at the Marina docks with the Moreland’s French bulldog, named Lucy. 

Accordingly, in 2018 Mees and the Morelands established the band, with Doyon joining in early January 2024. The aforementioned trio credit the Moreland brother’s father —-who had also been in a band in the1990s named Admiral, while in Toronto —as one of their great inspirations for starting the band. 

“Out By Lucy got grandfathered in through drum kits and bass amps, electric guitars that were in our dad's basement,” Sam Moreland fondly recollected. 

The band’s sound is influenced by their various musical inspirations ranging from first and second wave Britpop icons, such as the Beatles and Oasis, in addition to garage rock classics, such as The Las. Doyon describes their sound as, “Indie- ROCK,” (with rock in all caps and indie in italics). 

“Basically old people's music,” Sam Moreland explained.  

The original trio additionally credited Doyon’s recent enrollment in the band as another inspiration to their sound. “Dom inspires me each day. He has a positive attitude about being on the road. He's our angel. He finds a lot of musical concepts that we don't find very intuitive very intuitive. Just Good spirits,” Sam Moreland praised.  

Doyon recounts his experience with the band, saying “It's been good. It's been interesting to see from my own perspective (from a fan of the band to a band member) since I was already close with the band, there's a new vigor—” 

“Yeah we’re vigorous,”  Mees comically interjected. 

The band has also produced three new songs following Doyon’s addition in February – “Red Sorghum,” “Dreaming About Baseball,” and “Longer” with the leading title’s public debut resulting in the Ratwater crowd's enthusiastic moshing (a rowdy stamp of approval for sure).  

Out By Lucy credits fellow Ottawa musician Sean Lundi, from local bands Sorry Snowman & Backseat Dragon, for the tour’s fruition. 

“Our new uncle/father figure/ brother best friend Sean has taken us under his wing and driven us around in his beautiful grand caravan. Taking us to venues he had previously mapped out with his own bands. He just knows more venues, people and floors to crash on,” Mees said. 

Lundi himself expands that the idea of a tour had come to him haphazardly after asking Mees as to why the band didn't perform outside of the city with Mees explaining that none of them had a car so there were no means to do so. This inspired Lundi to contact a friend of his in Brantford, pitching for the booking of Out By Lucy during their reading week. By morning, the show had been booked, Lundi thought to himself, “I guess I’ll just book the rest of this then,” and from there the tour was born. 

The band detailed their newfound tour experience as something positive that had gone relatively smoothly throughout its weeklong run, crediting friends and bands that had been willing to host them.

When asked about some core highlights of the tour they shared a wholesome memory from their first stop.

“We got up to some mischief at our first stop in Kitchener. We got super close with the bartender goofing around. He had closed the kitchen earlier but he knew we were hungry boys who had just driven from Ottawa so he sent us to the basement to get a ton of eggs and we just opened up the kitchen and scrambled a bunch of eggs and had them on the bar just eating eggs and toast during the opening set and then we got to go right on,” Doyon recounted.

Despite this entertaining start to the tour, the band lists Brantford as their favourite stop. “It’s a very gnarly, welcoming community–it's a going spot for sure,”  Mees praised.  This sentiment was furthered by Doyon saying, “Basically the scene in Brantford is super tight knit, and seems to be really enthusiastic about indie music, which I would have never known before I went there.” 

The band’s close friend and official photographer, Serena Yang, delineated the tour experience, saying, “It's nothing I'd wanna do with people who weren't my really good friends [...] We’re good friends but it's obviously still tough to be like six people and a backline of four and a photographer in a grand caravan.” she added. 

The quartet also cite the tour as a chance to get to know their new “cousin/bandmate,” Doyon, a little bit better. 

 “World domination, marble statues, number one hits, but more importantly, to keep doing exactly what we’ve been doing: having fun along with the newfound pursuit of touring and becoming a better known Canadian act newfound aspiration,” Julian said mapping out the band’s future goals. “We wanna sing our silly songs.” 

At 9 p.m., after finally completing their pre-show ritual of eating a hearty meal — this time at the Montreal gem Kebab Burger Frites, (which they usually never finish wending up with Sam keeping leftovers in his pockets), Out By Lucy began their set at Ratwater. 

In the dewy pink glow of the Ratwater lights, centered at the front of the packed carpeted living room – with the show being forever immortalized in the dreamy photographs taken by Yang. The band’s many friends, fans and soon-to-be fans watched, danced and sang along to the dexterous 30-minute set. 

After having finished their first-ever show in Montreal, Sam Moreland summarized the difference between the city and their hometown of Ottawa’s music scene, to where they’d be ending the tour the next day. “I mean, Ottawa's home, so we play there the most so it is the most comfortable with all the people that know us,” he said.

“It's neat to see all the different ways to operate a band based on what city you're in. But I'm glad to be from Ottawa because I feel the indie acts hit a lot harder there since there's not really a lot of touring acts coming through,” Julian Moreland added.

This sentiment was corroborated by long-time friend and fan of the band, Kaylee Kelly who illustrated how like many others, she had made many friends just by going to local shows including Out By Lucy’s. 

“They always look like they're having a lot of fun and the energy is great. Seeing everyone dance and bop their heads is a lot of fun,” Kelly said, describing a typical Out By Lucy show.  

To Lundi, everyone seems to be friends at Out By Lucy shows.

“You can go to an Out By Lucy show by yourself and by the end of the night you've met like five new friends. It's a great atmosphere at all their shows. They have a bunch of unreleased songs that everybody knows at this point like ‘Peter III,’ ‘Grackle,’” Lundi said before taking a pause. “‘George Costanza’” that's also not out, but everyone knows the words to it.” The audience's familiarity with the songs cement the band’s tenacity within their local music scene.

At last, after their breakout Montreal debut, the band eagerly promised to come back and on behalf of the city. We cannot wait to have them back.