The Cliks
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The Cliks

Toronto, Ontario, Canada | MAJOR

Toronto, Ontario, Canada | MAJOR
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"Lucas Silveira from The Cliks is Awesome"

It’s hard to believe that the last Cliks album (Dirty King) was released way back in 2009. That’s not to say there hasn’t been anything going on, since then singer and permanent musician Lucas Silveira has been a very busy man. Now the wait is over because on April 23rd, The Cliks will be releasing their new album – Black Tie Elevator. We caught up with Lucas to ask him a couple of questions about music and life and found out that he’s pretty awesome.

NewNowNext (NNN): What inspired you to get involved with music?
Lucas Silveira (LS): I can’t say I was directly inspired to get involved, it was more that I was born into it. My family is very musical. My dad was a trumpet player and a singer, my brother is also a musician and my sister played sax. Music was always something that was regarded as being important for us and always nurtured. Since I can remember, music has been a part of my life and honestly, I’ve never thought of anything else that has been as important so it was just a natural progression for me to go from being so involved in it within my family structure and then to moving into doing it professionally.

NNN: Are there any artists that have had a big influence on your sound or the way you write? What is it about them that has that impact on you?
LS: Absolutely. I’ve grown through the years as a songwriter and I think a lot of that growth has been based on my retreating to musical influences so yes, definitely. On this particular record I felt my connections to soul and blues music revive, from artists like Otis Redding, Stevie Wonder, Lenny Kravitz and The Doors. Stuff like that. And it was all brought back to me when I fell deeply in love with Amy Winehouse when Back To Black came out. I’ve always loved that feeling of music which is all based on the emotion and passion of the singer. I think the genre of soul music in the way that I hear soul music in that retro vibe is something that had a deep effect on me long ago. There’s so much passion in how you say what you’re saying and I think it really feels like home to me.

NNN: Your band, The Cliks, have a new album coming out - Black Tie Elevator. Can you tell us more about it?
LS: Black Tie Elevator will be released on April 23rd. It was produced by Hill Kourkoutis who is not only a friend of mine but is an amazing talent based out of Toronto. Hill is also a performer and songwriter and for the first time in a very long time I took a stab at co-writing a couple of songs on this record with her. The result was our lead single Savanna which we wrote together in a couple of hours and demo’ed in less than a day. It was the first time on a record that I have completely felt trust in my producer and let go of wanting a lot of control. Hill is also a multi-instrumentalist so she played a lot of the stuff on the record which I fully welcomed because she saw my vision. When you have that in a producer, you’ve hit gold. We made this record mainly in a little basement studio and it was the most satisfying recording experience I’ve ever had. It was mainly just the two of us putting it all together and then I had some horn players and string players come in as well as putting a live drummer on there. Otherwise, the band is mainly Hill and me. My main focus on this record personally was to write the songs and do what I love to do most, sing.

NNN: Can we expect a tour?
LS: Absolutely. We start a North East Coast tour May 1st. We’ll be performing in Boston, North Hampton, Brooklyn, Philly, Washington, Columbus, Chicago, Detroit, and we end up in Toronto doing our formal CD release party and some as of yet unconfirmed Canadian dates are being added. We are planning on touring throughout the rest of the year and will most likely be hitting the West Coast and a mid West tour in August and also playing some Pride Festivals through the summer.

NNN: Speaking of touring if you could pick one act, living or dead, is there anybody you dream of going on the road with?
LS: Oh wow. That’s a tough one. David Bowie or Prince. I can’t make up my mind on that one.

NNN: Three albums you think should be in everyone’s collection.
LS: Grace by Jeff Buckley, Back to Black by Amy Winehouse and Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club by The Beatles.

NNN: As someone who is transgender, is there anything you would want to say to younger people who are going through the same thing?
LS: Stop wanting to be something you’re not and accept who you are as normal. I think the greatest isolating feeling of being trans is that you are unique to your personal identity because of your so called issues with gender. Transgender people don’t have issues with gender or so called gender dysphoria, it’s the world around us that has an issue with us. I’m getting bored of the idea that I’m somehow unique. I’m not a unicorn and neither is any other trans person. We’re all just people.

NNN: Since coming out as trans, your life has obviously changed in a number of ways. Your we - NEW NOW NEXT


"The Cliks - Black Tie Elevator- CD REVIEW"

THE CLIKS play the Drake Underground on Friday (May 10). See listing.
NOW RATING: NNN
By Julia Laconte

Toronto rock band the Cliks have always had a rotating cast of members, but since the release of their last album, their one constant – frontman Lucas Silveira – has undergone some pretty huge changes himself.
Between 2009’s Dirty Kings and Black Tie Elevator, Silveira has formally transitioned from female to male. The change has deepened his voice – at once raspy and ripple-smooth – which shines even on the album’s weaker offerings like No Good Do’Er. The band sound has also altered, moving toward blues rock with a 60s vibe.
Silveira has written 12 mournful, raw love songs. There’s romance here, but of the skeptical, beaten-down variety. It’s never depressing, though, with just enough optimism and an occasional triumphant violin or viola to keep things light.
Variety makes it interesting, too. With help from producer and Weeknd collaborator Hill Kourkoutis, the disc gets punky on 4 Letter Words, soulful on Cerise and downright Motown on Savanna.
Top track: Sleeping Alone
• NOW | May 9-16, 2013 | VOL 32 NO 36 - NOW Magazine


"The Cliks Return with 'Black Tie Elevator'"

By Alex Hudson
It's been a while since we heard from the Cliks, but the Lucas Silveira-fronted Toronto rock band will make their return with the group's latest album, Black Tie Elevator, on April 22 through Bandwidth/Universal.

The album is reportedly a departure for Silveira, since it boasts a sound that he calls "soul rock," according to a statement. It was recorded with Hill Kourkoutis (Hill & the Sky Heroes) at the Lair in Toronto and largely mixed by Hillary Jonhson and Barb Morrison, although "No Good Do'er" was mixed by Tony Maserati and Matt Wiggers.

This is the band's fourth LP overall and follows 2009's Dirty King. See the tracklist below, and note that "Dark Passenger" is presumably a Dexter reference. Scroll past the tracklist to watch the video for the bouncy, cabaret pop single "Savanna," and see the album art above.

Black Tie Elevator:

1. Savanna
2. Stop Drinking My Wine
3. Dark Passenger
4. Sleeping Alone
5. Still
6. 1000 Violins
7. 4 Letter Words
8. Cerise
9. No Good Do'er
10. She Was the One
11. Gone
12. Walking in a Graveyard - Xclaim!


"The Evolution of Lucas Silveira The Cliks' leader on gender, romance and the Beatles."

By Dave Steinfeld

Over the years, there have been more than a few times when I’ve discussed relationships with other men: traded war stories, commiserated over a broken heart, or attempted (often in vain) to better understand the female psyche. But doing this over drinks with Lucas Silveira is different from doing it with any of my other buddies, if for no other reason than that he used to be a woman. As longtime Curve readers and alternative music fans know, Silveira is not only the leader of Canadian rock band the Cliks but also a transgender male, the first trans male, in fact, to be signed to a major label. On a frigid February afternoon, over drinks in Brooklyn, I remind Silveira (who is now engaged) of something he told me in 2011, a year when both of us had our hearts broken. “Oy. Women, dude. I wish having been one would give me more insight. But the more I’m around them, the more I fully realize that I am indeed a man—inside and, now, out.” Having found that fascinating on a number of levels, I ask Silveira to expand on it.

“This is going to bite me in the ass, isn’t it?” he asks with a laugh. “Well, I think when I said that I was going through some heartache. What man who’s dumped doesn’t say shit like that, right? But in all seriousness, it’s true. I think like a man, and I know it because of conversations I’ve had with men around trying to understand the complexities of women. My cousin told me the other day something that made me laugh, which was that in any relationship you can either be right or you can be happy. I think women choose more to be right and men choose more to be clueless.

“Being a person who identifies as a male in a physicality [that is] still female, and then transitioning to a male, was a very interesting thing,” he continues. “I still believe that somewhere in my psyche there is a place that has been conditioned and socialized to be female. So I do think I have the upper hand on understanding women. But at the same time, there is something about the connection to emotion that is very different. And trying to understand women while also having been one was probably one of the most complex things I’ve ever done, and continue to do. Especially now, because I believe that [the] hormones have made me really think like a dude! I don’t know if they change your brain chemistry, or what they do, but things that used to bother me don’t bother me anymore. The way I process information now is very different. I can’t multitask anymore. I forget things a lot! I could say that’s a male attribute, or I could say it’s a unique thing to myself as an individual—maybe I just think about different things [now]. You know, it’s very complicated. But the whole female thing is…it’s so…it’s like this whole mourning thing I had to go through. I love women so much. I feel so comfortable around them. In a group of dudes vs. females, I always find myself wanting to have more conversations with women than I do with men.”

“But you never really felt like a woman?” I ask.







“No! I mean, I thought I did, but no. It’s very, very hard for me to [say either] ‘I don’t get them because I never was one,’ or ‘I do get them because I was one.’ I know that sounds really complicated and I don’t think I’m saying what I mean, exactly. I feel like women are built differently, emotionally. I truly believe that women have a higher tolerance for emotion. Like, now I get sad and it’s really intense, but it’s never as intense as it used to be. I feel like I wanna cry but I can’t—there’s a numbness. But that’s my particular experience. I’m not saying that all men are like that.”

In addition to the other changes that Silveira has endured in the last few years—biologically, geographically, musically, personally—he has fallen in love again. By definition a hopeless romantic, he met Skye Chevolleau a few months after moving back to Toronto and is now engaged to her. “She’s awesome,” he replies when I ask him to describe her. “And, of course, [she’s] always right! Seriously though, she’s great—an extremely talented and beautiful human being who doesn’t see her own potential. She’s a piano player, can play classical music by ear, yet she doesn’t call herself a musician. She’s also an amazing singer.

“The beautiful thing is that she sees me. She doesn’t see my gender, she doesn’t see my sexuality, she sees the person that I am. And that’s what I always needed from a human being. When I met Skye, she was primarily lesbian-identified. I was like, ‘Is this gonna be a problem? Am I [running] into a wall here, trying to be with a woman who really, really loves women?’ And it totally isn’t an issue. I’m who she wants to be with—but she’s also attracted to women. It made me think about these straight women I would meet who would all of a sudden fall in love with a girl. They’d be like, ‘I don't understand it! I know I’m straight, but I’m in love with this chick. Does that make me gay?’ And I [was] like, - Curve Magazine


"Lucas Silveira – “A New Man Of The Cliks”"

For those of you Cyndi Lauper fans you might remember The Cliks from her True Colors tour several years back. Well lead singer/songwriter (and sometime actor and artist) of the Cliks is non other than Mr Lucas Silveira. And if you have been a fan of The Cliks you might remember Lucas a little different. Well Lucas Silveira is a new man. In the past several years Lucas has transitioned into a man. Of course Lucas was always a man it just took his physical body some time to adjust. New man, new year, and new music. The Cliks prepare for the release of their new EP titled Black Tie Elevator out in the spring of 2013. A new more rock/soul sound you will get. You can hear a sampling of the EP now on youtube and listen to the first single Savanna as well. And for those lucky fans in NY you can catch him performing February 16th at the Branded Saloon in Brooklyn. But for those who can’t make it here is a really deep soulful conversation with Mr Lucas Silveira.
Samara: How does it feel to be back with new music in 2013?
Lucas: It feels fantastic. After playing the same songs over and over again, it feels really exciting to think about getting into rehearsals
to play all new songs. I’m sure we’ll still play some of the old tunes but this is going to be a really big change for us live.

Samara: What can fans expect from this new album?
Lucas: Change and a lot of it. I feel like I’ve really hit a different place as a songwriter and a performer. I’m no longer feeling tied to what’s expected of me and I was willing to fight for it. I spent a long time trying to be something I wasn’t in many respects and so with this album I think fans can really expect to see me for the first time. My true self as a songwriter and the kind of artist I’ve always envisioned myself to be.

Samara: Is this your first album since you started transitioning?
Lucas: It’s the first Cliks album but not my first album since. I did a solo record of covers called Mockingbird back in early 2011 that also had a couple of originals. It was in itself a transitional album.


Photo: ILDK Media
Samara: Has that transition affected your music in any way?
Lucas: More than I ever could have imagined. It completely changed me and my artistic expression. I know this is going to sound strange but I truly feel hormones changed my emotional pathways and how I was able to express myself. The first time I noticed I hadn’t cried in over a year I was really thrown. That’s when I really started to pay attention to how I was connecting to creating. It was so different that I still have a hard time explaining it. All I can say is that something as visceral as crying being a connection to emotion being suddenly unavailable was something that also translated into other parts of my emotional process. It’s not that I couldn’t access my sadness, which I write from a lot, but it was definitely a new and different route from point A to B now. That happened to be the case with many other emotions. And also, the change in my voice made a huge difference in what I was suddenly comfortable singing. I got pulled back to my blues and soul roots. Music I always listened to when I was younger but somehow thought that in my “female” voice I couldn’t pull off. I mean, have you ever heard a woman singing The Doors’ Been Down So Long? I know it’s ridiculous to say but to me, it just didn’t sound authentic. Now, I feel like I can sing songs like that and capture that part of myself and truly “sound” authentic.

Samara: Did you ever feel you were born in the wrong body? Or do you think you were born to be transgender?
Lucas: That question has never been phrased to me like that. I like it. Yes, I think I was born transgender but not in the way that a lot of people have been told transgender is. I think the transgender/transexual movement needs to loosen up their ideas of trans-ness as much as the mainstream needs to let go of binary gender. It’s not the same for everyone. In fact, it’s so different for almost everyone I meet. I mainly at this point see myself as a man who used to be a woman, and even though I know by definition I will always be seen as transgender it’s not my identity as a person.

Samara: How have the fans reacted to your transition?
Lucas: For the most part, quite well. Transitioning is strange because there are so many levels of it that would really take me forever to go into in a simple interview which is why I also do public speaking at universities and colleges to touch on all of the aspects of my personal experience. For example, I found it quite strange that some lesbian fans made it vocal that they preferred my old voice. It was actually quite hurtful. I don’t think they intended it as such but it would have been the same as someone saying to them “I liked you better when you dated boys.” or “I liked you better when you didn’t talk about your girlfriend”. Most people don’t see a statement like that as a partial rejection of your identity - Adelante Magazine


"Laura Jane Grace, Lucas Silveira Have Found A New Identity ARTISTS HAVE SUCCESSFULLY TRANSFORMED THEIR CAREERS AND LIVES AS TRANSGENDERED MUSICIANS"

uly 18, 2013 -- 3:32 pm PDT
By Nick Krewen / GRAMMY.com
To say that Laura Jane Grace has had an eventful year would be an understatement.

Until May 2012, she was known to the world as Tom Gabel, lead singer, songwriter and guitarist for Florida punk band Against Me! Then she openly announced her name change, that she was transgendered and that she would undergo electrolysis and hormonal therapy in order to physically transition into a woman.

Rather than disappear from the public eye, however, Grace has maintained visibility, carrying on with her Against Me! duties both onstage and in the studio. She recently completed the band's sixth studio album, Transgender Dysphoria Blues, a title that is almost certain to bring massive attention to her experience when it's released in the fall.

Grace, who is married with a daughter, has no regrets about her decision and says her professional life hasn't changed all that much.

"It's been heavy, no doubt, and it's still a transition I'm learning as I'm going, you know," says Grace. "This past year has been weird in that my time has been spent either totally in the studio or on tour, with a little bit of time at home. So being in those two totally different environments have been different experiences.

"But touring has been pretty easy. It's been no big deal. People have been really accepting and bands have been really encouraging, and for most people it's been a nonissue. Being on tour and being able to live like this has its advantages, too, where it allows me to think a lot and sort stuff out in my head."

Lucas Silveira, singer/songwriter in Toronto-based band the Cliks, can relate. Released in March, Black Tie Elevator is the band's first album in four years, and Silveira's first creative output as a fully transitioned man.

Silveira, a prominent member of Toronto's LGBT community, had released three prior albums with the Cliks when he decided it was time to "trust that inner instinct."

"It was basically about realizing that I needed to be happy," he says. "Whatever I needed to do, I was just going to do it."

Silveira took testosterone for three years, a measure he had initially avoided for fear of permanently losing his voice.

"It was a big, big worry," Silveira says. "When I first came out as a trans guy, I was told pretty much right away that if I was to consider being a singer for the rest of my life, it's just not something that I could do — apparently because it put your vocal cords in a place where you weren't able to control what you did."

After being advised to take extremely low dosages of the drug in order to not shock the vocal cords, Silveira recovered his vocal abilities — albeit in a lower register — within 18 months.

"I think when I hit about a year and a half, I felt really safe," he says. "Before that, it wasn't that I didn't think I could sing; it's the way that your voice transitions, it starts dropping and your high end drops. But your bottom end doesn't keep dropping, it kind of puts itself in this box. Then the more you sing and the more you train, it's almost as though the bottom drops lower, and then at about two years, the top end starts coming back a little bit. It fluctuates in these very bizarre places, but I think, at this point now, I've been on [testosterone] for over three years, and I feel like it's settled."

The physical changes Silveira experienced also translated into his music: the Cliks' first three albums were decidedly alt-rock, while Black Tie Elevator is soulfully steeped in R&B. Silveira said his musical adjustment occurred organically.

"I found myself writing differently, not because I was actually consciously writing differently: I was hearing a different voice coming out of my body," he says. "I felt really comfortable going to these places where I never had felt genuine before. And I think that I went into this place where I used to listen to tons of soul music, R&B and blues music when I was younger. My female voice didn't sound genuine in it.

"It became comfortable, but also emotionally I just felt really, really [good]. I'm really not sure why it happened, but I liked it, so I just kind of went with it."

As much as Silveira has publically spoken about his transformation as part of the university and college lecture circuit, he says, "I go about as much into gender in my music as any other man who writes music. I just write from a place where I'm human and this is my experience. I'm never ever thinking about my gender when I write. In fact, I think that's where I escape it, and I am just who I am. If it comes out as me writing like a man, well, I am a man."

Unlike Silveira, Grace has hinted at her struggles with gender dysphor - Grammy.com


"Cliks lead singer Lucas Silveira changes tune on Black Tie Elevator"

By: Nick Krewen Music, Published on Tue Apr 23 2013




To describe Cliks lead singer Lucas Silveira as a changed man doesn’t cover the half of it.
When the Toronto rock band led by the transgendered Silveira last released an album, 2009’s Dirty Kings, he had yet to go through the physical transition that converted him from woman to man.
With that process now complete, the 33-year-old Silveira, an icon of the LGBT community, returns with a brand new album (Black Tie Elevator, out Tuesday), a brand new sound, and … a brand new everything, really.
He views his artistic return as a rebirth.
“Pretty much,” he agrees from his Toronto abode. “Not just the fact that I’ve transitioned as a person, but also musically, and it certainly feels that way. I went from having a different voice and body and looking and feeling very differently, to just about how I write in general and how I am as a person. It’s been a huge difference.”
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The new Cliks sound, produced by The Weeknd collaborator Hill Kourkoutis, is much more R&B-driven than the band’s previous indie rock work, with Silveira’s potent, hook-laden writing borrowing heavily from yesteryear with the Motown-flavoured shuffle “Savanna;” the heart-ripping ballads “Cerise” and “Still“ with their Stax-fueled romantic drama and the Muscle Shoals feel of “No Good Do’er” leading the way.
But Silveira, whose band appears May 17 at Nathan Phillips Square, is just relieved he’s able to sing again. He was initially concerned that the testosterone he was taking might rob him of his singing voice.
“It was a big, big worry,” Silveira confides. “In fact, it was the main reason why I didn’t go on testosterone in the first place. When I first came out as a trans guy, I was told that if I was to consider being a singer for the rest of my life, it’s just not something that I could do. When I started researching why, it was apparently because testosterone put your vocal cords in a place where you weren’t able to control what you did.”
After five years had passed and Silveira finally felt confident enough to make the switch, he took to social media and was given advice from those who had already experienced it.
“I happened to find a couple of trans guys online who had transitioned vocally,” he recalls.
“They told me that you just had to take a very low dosage. It basically came to the discovery that the fear was around an old method of taking testosterone, which was back in the ’80s and the ’90s when guys were trying to transition very quickly and just injected themselves with huge dosages. That put their vocal cords into a place of shock.
“So I did it slowly, and that’s what made me feel calmer about it.”
Still, it was a major adjustment: Silveira said he re-experienced puberty.
“I was here an adult, finding my way through the music industry, and the next thing I know I’m a little boy with a cracking voice. It was very, very bizarre: Going through puberty as an adult is its own type of hell.”
Silveira also had to learn extreme patience in determining whether he’d ever sing again.
“I think when I hit the year-and-a-half mark, I felt really safe,” he admits. “Before that, it wasn’t that I didn’t think I could sing; it’s the way that your voice transitions: it starts dropping and your high end drops. But your bottom end doesn’t keep dropping; it kind of puts itself in this box.
“Then the more you sing and the more you train, it’s almost as though the bottom drops lower, and then at about two years, the top end starts coming back a little bit. It fluctuates in these very bizarre places, but I think, at this point now, I’ve been on ‘T’ for over three years, and I feel like it’s settled. But it took me about a year-and-a-half to get to that place.”
Silveira claims the completed gender switch also affected his songwriting.
“I still don’t know how to explain it,” he admits. “I tell people I have a three-year-old testosterone brain right now, so I’ve been doing a lot of growing up lately in a very weird way, and artistically as well. It’s like doing acid: You can try to explain to somebody what being on LSD feels like, but if they’ve never done it, they’re not going to have a clue what it feels like.
“I never knew this was going to happen. Your emotional patterns change, the way you think changes, and the way that you react to things changes.
“That really, really went into my being as an artist, and the way I expressed myself: I found myself writing differently. I was hearing a different voice coming out of my body. I felt really comfortable going to these places where I had never felt genuine before.
“And I went to this place where I listened to tons of soul, R&B and blues music when I was yo - The Toronto Star


"The Cliks frontman & band make a date with Calgary"

Lucas Silveira of The Cliks is ready to show his true colours at Pride Calgary tonight. The creator and lead singer of the Canadian band is finally where he was always meant to be.

The Cliks have been around for a while, created by Silveira in 2004. The band has gone through an evolution of sorts, starting as a singer and songwriter with acoustic roots and morphing into a collective of revolving musicians that have complimented and enhanced Lucas’s edgy musical style.

Currently, The Cliks include Silveira, Hill Kourkoutis on Bass, and Patrick Von Ghostwolf on Drums. Throughout the past 7 years, Lucas has been the only constant in the band, with a myriad of musicians helping The Cliks realize its full potential along the way. When asked about this turn style of band members, Silveira responds honestly:

“I think I will always have rotating band members in the Cliks. There are always really keen, young kids who want to go touring all the time. The music industry is a really tough place right now. Unless you made a band early in life and have grown together, it is hard to find people that will commit to a product that isn’t their baby. I made the Cliks and it is my band. That is the way it is, and it is hard for people to be fully committed band members. By remaining with the rotating band members I can hire them and they know what they are there for, that way the roles don’t get confused. It is like a marriage. I am in a serious, non-monogamous and polyamorous relationship with my band.”

This collective of band members has prepared Lucas for his most recent album Mockingbird. “I feel that I have my groove back. I have been able to perform songs that I have always wanted to do and have been recording YouTube covers, and requests from people. I felt that I might as well record an album with all of this.”

This album also marks a more personal transition. Lucas, a transgendered man, through the past few years has been transitioning physically into the man that he has always been.

“I am really proud of the new album. When I finished recording I could honestly say, ‘Yes, that’s me.” Before my transition, I would go to the studio and would like the songs once they were completed, but I hated the way it sounded because I didn’t like the way my voice sounded.”

Tonight The Cliks are headlining the Pride Calgary Dance at The Aratta Opera Centre, followed by a film screening and panel discussion about trans issues on Saturday at Club Sapien. Being transgendered, regardless of its inclusion in the LGBTQA acronym, is not on equal grounds with the gay and lesbian movement. As a trans man, Silveira holds this plight dear to his heart.

“Well, it is generally accepted that most Pride celebrations are populated by predominantly gay males. I have been told numerous times that gays and lesbians don’t want the trans community to ride on the coat tails of the gay community. I believe that there is a gay conservative movement. The [gay] community has made so much leeway in the [gay rights] movement, it is now the norm, and they believe that the trans community is going to set back the movement.”

Pride Calgary is attempting to combat this exclusion with its mandate for the year “Putting the ‘T’ Back in LGBTQA.” Lucas Silveira and The Cliks are a welcome and necessary addition to the celebration.
- The Gaily


"From Biker Dudes to True Colors"

From Biker Dudes to True Colors: An Interview with the Cliks
By Michael Christopher 22 October 2008
The second annual True Colors tour was a success this year not just in raising awareness for the gay, lesbian and transgender community, but also in providing a multi-act festival that catered to both those with alternative lifestyles and mainstream concertgoers as well.

Fans gay and straight were treated to a revolving roster of artists and comedians with the goal to bring together the masses in perfect harmony. Spearheaded by quirky and outspoken Cyndi Lauper, the tour included acts that varied from Joan Jett to the B-52s to Regina Spektor.

But not many acts on the bill—strike that—none of them could boast having just come off a major tour opening for the Cult, and trading in a leather jacket-clad, fist-pumping audience for a rainbow flag waving one where everyone sings along to “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” by the end of the night.

Except for the Cliks.

Touring behind the edgy and passionate album Snakehouse, the Toronto foursome has what is likely the most interesting backstory of the True Colors package. The band lineup consists of three lesbians and frontman Lucas Silveira, who a few years ago used to go by Lilia.

The singer is a transsexual, female-to-male, and despite becoming somewhat of a spokesman for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered, intersex (LGBTI) community, easily manages to balance questions from the curious with turning up the volume and rocking out.

“I think it’s great that people want to know and to write about it, and I’m not in any way sick or tired of it,” Silveira said. “I really don’t mind, because I know that if people, in general, listen to the music, they’re not going to stick with it over the fact that I’m transgendered; they’re either gonna love it or leave it. I give people a little more credit than that.”

“If I were to sit around and go, ‘Oh god, another tranny question,’ I think I’d have a big, huge chip on my shoulder and I’d be a pretty bitter person by now. I think eventually, though, people will just sort of focus on the music and it will be a foonote.”

The recent history of the frontman is colorful, if not dotted with heartbreak. Silveira’s original incarnation of the Cliks fell apart in 2004, as did a romantic relationship. Mix in the continued questions about his sexuality and subsequent operation to make things right, and there probably isn’t a more difficult period for a person to face.

“I just decided that I had to keep moving forward, because when things like that happen to you, you can go one way or the other; you can just quit, or you can persevere harder than you ever have,” he said. “I’m one of these people who believes that everything happens for a reason, and the stars all aligned at some point and the new band came together. In between that came the turmoil that gave me the place to go to and write the material.”

Snakehouse is the result, and along with deeply personal tales of love, loss, and growth is the seemingly odd choice, on the surface at least, of a cover; Justin Timberlake’s “Cry Me a River.”


The Cliks - Cry Me a River

“I love R&B and I love soul music, and I remember listening to that and thinking, ‘Wow.’ I really identified with it,” Silveira said. “One day I came into band practice and I said, ‘Have you guys ever heard this song?’ And I started playing it, and everybody sort of joined in, and we were like, ‘It sounds pretty good!’”


What separates the group from most other acts is that it isn’t going after one audience. Artists in a similar situation might cater primarily to the gay culture, but not the Cliks. The True Colors tour followed on the heels of an opening slot for the testosterone fueled rock of the Cult, which is pretty divergent, to say the least, when it comes to the respective audiences.

“It’s two different worlds, and both worlds, to me, I come from,” Silveira said. “I don’t just come from this queer-based pop world even though I grew up listening to pop music. And then there’s the element of the LGBTI, and even just people who support the cause of the Human Rights Campaign and the True Colors tour.

“Coming from the other world, the Cult, which is a rock world, which I also grew up in, it’s really interesting for me because I feel connected to both of these places, but I know that both places don’t feel connected with each other.”

That stark contrast in audiences doesn’t matter when it comes right down to it said Silveira, because at the end of the day, it’s all about the performance and the songs.

“It’s music, and music is universal, so it’s really, really cool to be able to go to a Cult show and have some biker dude come up to you and say, “You guys rock!” Then you go to a True Colors show and have a young gay kid come up and say the exact same thing. It’s wonderful—I love it.”

One thing Silveira said he feels lucky about is to not have faced any intolerance on - Pop Matters


"A Band That Cliks"

There is, as some of you are probably aware, what we in the newspaper business call a "hook" to the story of the Cliks.

I won't belabour it, because doing so might diminish the Toronto quartet's real and very gritty rock 'n' roll chops and lend its recent, cross-border breakout with the album Snakehouse the air of an easy rise when it has been anything but.

I'm going to bring the hook up again, though, for two reasons: One, because it is cool that a fine cat like Lucas Silveira is on the verge of becoming the first transgendered pop heartthrob ever to register on mainstream radar (take that, South Carolina!).

And, two, imagine how much it must suck to go through the year Silveira just had, come out of it with an album that's earned fond critical comparisons to peak-period Pretenders, the White Stripes and David Bowie, and then have to deal with people who don't take his band seriously because whatever hells he's gone through on the road to properly, contentedly becoming Lucas Silveira are suddenly just a "gimmick" to sell records.

That's "hells," plural, by the way. When the wheels that got the Cliks where they are today were first set in motion a few years ago, they really were – as Rosie Lopez, the Tommy Boy Entertainment A&R guru who signed the group to its U.S. deal with the queer-focused Silver Label recently remarked – "a whole different band."

For one thing, Silveira was a folkie recently soured on the acoustic-troubadour scene and still going by the name of Lilia when the formative Cliks recorded a self-titled indie debut three years ago.

But that original, all-grrrl trio was also long gone by the time the disc started turning heads.

"They were with me for probably about a year and a half," recalls Silveira, born into a working-class family and encouraged to take up guitar and "every other instrument I could get my hands on" from the age of 11 by a trumpet-playing father who fancied himself the Portuguese Elvis.

"And then the album starting getting some attention, just through the indie press and everything like that, and we did a video, and the bass player decided she didn't want to be in the public eye.

"And then, about three weeks later, my drummer decided she wanted to concentrate on her own material and she quit, too.

"It sucked. It was just really disappointing. But you know, it's like that old saying: everything happens for a reason. It was kind of strange, too, because Morgan Doctor, who's the drummer now, happened to be at the last show that I did with the two of them."

When it rains, of course, it pours. So at about the same time, fate beset Silveira with as many concurrent life trials as possible to impede the Cliks' future.

This was all set against the backdrop of his decision less than a year ago to realize his true identity through medical means, giving birth to the nascent rock star we hear coming into his own and venting some serious spleen on Snakehouse.

Safe to say, then, that the cliché about songwriting-as-catharsis actually holds true in this case?

"Yeah, kind of," says Silveira. "I went through this really bad break-up – I was in a relationship for about 6 1/2 years and that ended and I started writing and, about two weeks later, my dad had a stroke. Then another week later, I had a friend who was diagnosed with cancer. Then my grandmother died. Then my band members quit, all around this time. And then I was, like: `Oh, yeah. I'm trans. This is great.'

"So I just kinda lost it for awhile. But I started writing really intense music and something good came out of it."

While upheaval reigned at home, a couple of chance air-travel encounters had landed the first Cliks album in the hands of both Tommy Boy's Lopez and the manager of one Cyndi Lauper.

Neither bit at first, but when the Cliks were returned to their attention a matter of months later with the superior Snakehouse in hand and the managing might of Canadian Idol judge Jake Gold at their backs.

A recording contract with Silver Label to match the band's Canadian deal with Warner Bros. followed and a choice spot alongside Debbie Harry, Rufus Wainwright, Erasure and the Dresden Dolls on Lauper's forthcoming "True Colors" summer tour (due at the Molson Amphitheatre on June 19) ensued.

Clearly, fine and lasting first impressions had been made. Silveira's tough-as-nails rebound from a mid-set asthma attack onstage at Austin's agenda-setting South by Southwest festival this past March only sweetened the deal.

Snakehouse bassist Jordan B. Wright has since departed the band, but respected local drummer gadabout Doctor (she did four years with the Toronto Tabla Ensemble) has stuck around with new bass player Jen Benton and temp-turned-permanent second guitarist Nina Martinez ("She just rocked so hard we had to keep her) to solidify the Cliks into the rock-solid unit Silveira wanted from the beginning.

Which is for the best, given the summer of touring with the "True Color - Toronto Star


"NO-SHTICK CLIKS"

"... the Cliks' music kinda sounds like what might happen if Chrissie Hynde and the Murmurs' Leisha Hailey fell in love, got Bowie to help out with insemination and gave birth to an indie rock love child. It's all kinda raw but sweetly melodic, with a ballsy cabaret swagger."


- Sarah Liss, Jun 24 - 30, 2004 - NOW Magazine


"Fighting To Clik Into Place"

Fighting to Clik into place
Lucas Silveira, frontman for Toronto rock trio The Cliks, isn’t dazzled by promises of celebrity fame and fortune: He just wants to make music.
by Shannon Webb-Campbell
On a bitter March evening, a few dozen folks huddled into Venus Envy on Barrington Street to listen to Lucas Silveira play an acoustic set. He previewed a few tracks from The Cliks' then-forthcoming album, Dirty King.

Silveira revelled in the intimate setting, cracking jokes about pictures popping up on Facebook of him playing against the backdrop of a wall of dildos. (Naturally, a slew of photos did appear. The toy rainbow made for a rather docile back-up band, standing in for Cliks bassist Jen Benton and drummer Morgan Doctor.) But scrolling through Silveira's own Facebook photos, it's the shots with his arm around Beth Ditto, singing onstage with Cyndi Lauper, Debbie Harry, Perez Hilton, Tegan and Sara and Margaret Cho that ascertain his celebrity status.

"There is nothing normal about this life," Silveira says now. "And that's what's bizarre about it---when I first started coming home and doing interviews all day, I said to myself, 'This is totally strange. I don't know where my head is from my ass.'

"You think in time that you'll get used to it. You don't. I was on tour with the True Colors tour with Cyndi Lauper, and she was complaining about packing and unpacking," he says. "I said that I figured she'd be used to it by now. She said, in an accent, 'Kid, you never get used to it. Keep getting used to not getting used to it.'"

Noted as the first transgendered musician signed to a major label (Warner Music in Canada, Tommy Boy's Silver Label in the US), Silveira has become the poster boy for trans-visibility. The album cover of Dirty King portrays Silveira as a snarled-face boxer in the ring, bloody and covered in bruises, with a crooked crown resting on his head. His rather posh bandmates are gussied up in 1920s attire---slim-fitting long dresses, hats with veils and pearls. The image plays on Judith Butler's theory of gender as a performance and nods to the butch/femme paradigm.

"Dirty King speaks to this sort of duality of being on the road, being like a musical persona and being who you are," Silveira says. "The album sort of came out of the experience I had when I was touring.

"I'm not insane. I'm not losing my mind. I don't think the human body and psyche is supposed to be in motion all the time," he says. "We are supposed to be still, we are supposed to reflect. There is no ability to reflect on tour. Then you are told, 'Go reflect, go write songs.' I don't know if I have a handle on it yet."

The Cliks released Snakehouse in 2007, and found themselves on a merry-go-round schedule of touring. Dirty King came out last month, produced by Sylvia Massy (Tool, Henry Rollins, The Deftones) in her studio in Weed, California.

"There was a big sign that said 'Weed like to welcome you, population 3,000.' Sylvia is such an interesting person," says Silveira. "Everyone has this idea of Sylvia Massy being a rock 'n' roll goddess, but she's so funny, cool and easygoing."

Instead of packing their bags and hitting the road, The Cliks have made post-release appearances at home in Toronto for NXNE, Xtra's 25th anniversary party and the MuchMusic Video Awards. Silveira says it could, in part, be due to the recession, though their performances at Halifax Pride and Calgary's Virgin Fest with Pearl Jam will see them through the summer. There has been talk of touring come September but nothing's confirmed.

"Bands aren't supported like they used to be. There are so many right now," Silveira says. "Because there is so many and people have the access to all of this music, the idea of making a comfortable living as a musician is impossible. The whole Michael Jackson thing doesn't just represent Michael Jackson as a human being or as a diddler, whatever. It's the death of the pop star. It shocks me, like how long is this going to last? It doesn't seem to last the way it used to."

But it's not about long-lasting fame for Silveira. He wants to make music, that's his purpose in life. The Cliks have weathered various line-up changes and saw Silveira through his transition (female to male). The trio is still learning to navigate the high seas of the tumultuous music industry.

"The biggest lesson, I don't know if I've learned it officially, but we are human beings that work in an industry that is based in the creation of art," says Silveira. "The people who create it are the most vulnerable because they are so attached to it, but the people around you who believe in you, they see it as a product.

"They see it as something that needs to be sold. It's really tough trying to tough to balance the soul and the sale," he continues. "That's the part where I have the most trouble with; that's where I feel the most exposed. As an artist, you have a vision, then there are the people who try and sell what - The Coast


"Fighting To Clik Into Place"

Fighting to Clik into place
Lucas Silveira, frontman for Toronto rock trio The Cliks, isn’t dazzled by promises of celebrity fame and fortune: He just wants to make music.
by Shannon Webb-Campbell
On a bitter March evening, a few dozen folks huddled into Venus Envy on Barrington Street to listen to Lucas Silveira play an acoustic set. He previewed a few tracks from The Cliks' then-forthcoming album, Dirty King.

Silveira revelled in the intimate setting, cracking jokes about pictures popping up on Facebook of him playing against the backdrop of a wall of dildos. (Naturally, a slew of photos did appear. The toy rainbow made for a rather docile back-up band, standing in for Cliks bassist Jen Benton and drummer Morgan Doctor.) But scrolling through Silveira's own Facebook photos, it's the shots with his arm around Beth Ditto, singing onstage with Cyndi Lauper, Debbie Harry, Perez Hilton, Tegan and Sara and Margaret Cho that ascertain his celebrity status.

"There is nothing normal about this life," Silveira says now. "And that's what's bizarre about it---when I first started coming home and doing interviews all day, I said to myself, 'This is totally strange. I don't know where my head is from my ass.'

"You think in time that you'll get used to it. You don't. I was on tour with the True Colors tour with Cyndi Lauper, and she was complaining about packing and unpacking," he says. "I said that I figured she'd be used to it by now. She said, in an accent, 'Kid, you never get used to it. Keep getting used to not getting used to it.'"

Noted as the first transgendered musician signed to a major label (Warner Music in Canada, Tommy Boy's Silver Label in the US), Silveira has become the poster boy for trans-visibility. The album cover of Dirty King portrays Silveira as a snarled-face boxer in the ring, bloody and covered in bruises, with a crooked crown resting on his head. His rather posh bandmates are gussied up in 1920s attire---slim-fitting long dresses, hats with veils and pearls. The image plays on Judith Butler's theory of gender as a performance and nods to the butch/femme paradigm.

"Dirty King speaks to this sort of duality of being on the road, being like a musical persona and being who you are," Silveira says. "The album sort of came out of the experience I had when I was touring.

"I'm not insane. I'm not losing my mind. I don't think the human body and psyche is supposed to be in motion all the time," he says. "We are supposed to be still, we are supposed to reflect. There is no ability to reflect on tour. Then you are told, 'Go reflect, go write songs.' I don't know if I have a handle on it yet."

The Cliks released Snakehouse in 2007, and found themselves on a merry-go-round schedule of touring. Dirty King came out last month, produced by Sylvia Massy (Tool, Henry Rollins, The Deftones) in her studio in Weed, California.

"There was a big sign that said 'Weed like to welcome you, population 3,000.' Sylvia is such an interesting person," says Silveira. "Everyone has this idea of Sylvia Massy being a rock 'n' roll goddess, but she's so funny, cool and easygoing."

Instead of packing their bags and hitting the road, The Cliks have made post-release appearances at home in Toronto for NXNE, Xtra's 25th anniversary party and the MuchMusic Video Awards. Silveira says it could, in part, be due to the recession, though their performances at Halifax Pride and Calgary's Virgin Fest with Pearl Jam will see them through the summer. There has been talk of touring come September but nothing's confirmed.

"Bands aren't supported like they used to be. There are so many right now," Silveira says. "Because there is so many and people have the access to all of this music, the idea of making a comfortable living as a musician is impossible. The whole Michael Jackson thing doesn't just represent Michael Jackson as a human being or as a diddler, whatever. It's the death of the pop star. It shocks me, like how long is this going to last? It doesn't seem to last the way it used to."

But it's not about long-lasting fame for Silveira. He wants to make music, that's his purpose in life. The Cliks have weathered various line-up changes and saw Silveira through his transition (female to male). The trio is still learning to navigate the high seas of the tumultuous music industry.

"The biggest lesson, I don't know if I've learned it officially, but we are human beings that work in an industry that is based in the creation of art," says Silveira. "The people who create it are the most vulnerable because they are so attached to it, but the people around you who believe in you, they see it as a product.

"They see it as something that needs to be sold. It's really tough trying to tough to balance the soul and the sale," he continues. "That's the part where I have the most trouble with; that's where I feel the most exposed. As an artist, you have a vision, then there are the people who try and sell what - The Coast


"Fighting To Clik Into Place"

Fighting to Clik into place
Lucas Silveira, frontman for Toronto rock trio The Cliks, isn’t dazzled by promises of celebrity fame and fortune: He just wants to make music.
by Shannon Webb-Campbell
On a bitter March evening, a few dozen folks huddled into Venus Envy on Barrington Street to listen to Lucas Silveira play an acoustic set. He previewed a few tracks from The Cliks' then-forthcoming album, Dirty King.

Silveira revelled in the intimate setting, cracking jokes about pictures popping up on Facebook of him playing against the backdrop of a wall of dildos. (Naturally, a slew of photos did appear. The toy rainbow made for a rather docile back-up band, standing in for Cliks bassist Jen Benton and drummer Morgan Doctor.) But scrolling through Silveira's own Facebook photos, it's the shots with his arm around Beth Ditto, singing onstage with Cyndi Lauper, Debbie Harry, Perez Hilton, Tegan and Sara and Margaret Cho that ascertain his celebrity status.

"There is nothing normal about this life," Silveira says now. "And that's what's bizarre about it---when I first started coming home and doing interviews all day, I said to myself, 'This is totally strange. I don't know where my head is from my ass.'

"You think in time that you'll get used to it. You don't. I was on tour with the True Colors tour with Cyndi Lauper, and she was complaining about packing and unpacking," he says. "I said that I figured she'd be used to it by now. She said, in an accent, 'Kid, you never get used to it. Keep getting used to not getting used to it.'"

Noted as the first transgendered musician signed to a major label (Warner Music in Canada, Tommy Boy's Silver Label in the US), Silveira has become the poster boy for trans-visibility. The album cover of Dirty King portrays Silveira as a snarled-face boxer in the ring, bloody and covered in bruises, with a crooked crown resting on his head. His rather posh bandmates are gussied up in 1920s attire---slim-fitting long dresses, hats with veils and pearls. The image plays on Judith Butler's theory of gender as a performance and nods to the butch/femme paradigm.

"Dirty King speaks to this sort of duality of being on the road, being like a musical persona and being who you are," Silveira says. "The album sort of came out of the experience I had when I was touring.

"I'm not insane. I'm not losing my mind. I don't think the human body and psyche is supposed to be in motion all the time," he says. "We are supposed to be still, we are supposed to reflect. There is no ability to reflect on tour. Then you are told, 'Go reflect, go write songs.' I don't know if I have a handle on it yet."

The Cliks released Snakehouse in 2007, and found themselves on a merry-go-round schedule of touring. Dirty King came out last month, produced by Sylvia Massy (Tool, Henry Rollins, The Deftones) in her studio in Weed, California.

"There was a big sign that said 'Weed like to welcome you, population 3,000.' Sylvia is such an interesting person," says Silveira. "Everyone has this idea of Sylvia Massy being a rock 'n' roll goddess, but she's so funny, cool and easygoing."

Instead of packing their bags and hitting the road, The Cliks have made post-release appearances at home in Toronto for NXNE, Xtra's 25th anniversary party and the MuchMusic Video Awards. Silveira says it could, in part, be due to the recession, though their performances at Halifax Pride and Calgary's Virgin Fest with Pearl Jam will see them through the summer. There has been talk of touring come September but nothing's confirmed.

"Bands aren't supported like they used to be. There are so many right now," Silveira says. "Because there is so many and people have the access to all of this music, the idea of making a comfortable living as a musician is impossible. The whole Michael Jackson thing doesn't just represent Michael Jackson as a human being or as a diddler, whatever. It's the death of the pop star. It shocks me, like how long is this going to last? It doesn't seem to last the way it used to."

But it's not about long-lasting fame for Silveira. He wants to make music, that's his purpose in life. The Cliks have weathered various line-up changes and saw Silveira through his transition (female to male). The trio is still learning to navigate the high seas of the tumultuous music industry.

"The biggest lesson, I don't know if I've learned it officially, but we are human beings that work in an industry that is based in the creation of art," says Silveira. "The people who create it are the most vulnerable because they are so attached to it, but the people around you who believe in you, they see it as a product.

"They see it as something that needs to be sold. It's really tough trying to tough to balance the soul and the sale," he continues. "That's the part where I have the most trouble with; that's where I feel the most exposed. As an artist, you have a vision, then there are the people who try and sell what - The Coast


"Fighting To Clik Into Place"

Fighting to Clik into place
Lucas Silveira, frontman for Toronto rock trio The Cliks, isn’t dazzled by promises of celebrity fame and fortune: He just wants to make music.
by Shannon Webb-Campbell
On a bitter March evening, a few dozen folks huddled into Venus Envy on Barrington Street to listen to Lucas Silveira play an acoustic set. He previewed a few tracks from The Cliks' then-forthcoming album, Dirty King.

Silveira revelled in the intimate setting, cracking jokes about pictures popping up on Facebook of him playing against the backdrop of a wall of dildos. (Naturally, a slew of photos did appear. The toy rainbow made for a rather docile back-up band, standing in for Cliks bassist Jen Benton and drummer Morgan Doctor.) But scrolling through Silveira's own Facebook photos, it's the shots with his arm around Beth Ditto, singing onstage with Cyndi Lauper, Debbie Harry, Perez Hilton, Tegan and Sara and Margaret Cho that ascertain his celebrity status.

"There is nothing normal about this life," Silveira says now. "And that's what's bizarre about it---when I first started coming home and doing interviews all day, I said to myself, 'This is totally strange. I don't know where my head is from my ass.'

"You think in time that you'll get used to it. You don't. I was on tour with the True Colors tour with Cyndi Lauper, and she was complaining about packing and unpacking," he says. "I said that I figured she'd be used to it by now. She said, in an accent, 'Kid, you never get used to it. Keep getting used to not getting used to it.'"

Noted as the first transgendered musician signed to a major label (Warner Music in Canada, Tommy Boy's Silver Label in the US), Silveira has become the poster boy for trans-visibility. The album cover of Dirty King portrays Silveira as a snarled-face boxer in the ring, bloody and covered in bruises, with a crooked crown resting on his head. His rather posh bandmates are gussied up in 1920s attire---slim-fitting long dresses, hats with veils and pearls. The image plays on Judith Butler's theory of gender as a performance and nods to the butch/femme paradigm.

"Dirty King speaks to this sort of duality of being on the road, being like a musical persona and being who you are," Silveira says. "The album sort of came out of the experience I had when I was touring.

"I'm not insane. I'm not losing my mind. I don't think the human body and psyche is supposed to be in motion all the time," he says. "We are supposed to be still, we are supposed to reflect. There is no ability to reflect on tour. Then you are told, 'Go reflect, go write songs.' I don't know if I have a handle on it yet."

The Cliks released Snakehouse in 2007, and found themselves on a merry-go-round schedule of touring. Dirty King came out last month, produced by Sylvia Massy (Tool, Henry Rollins, The Deftones) in her studio in Weed, California.

"There was a big sign that said 'Weed like to welcome you, population 3,000.' Sylvia is such an interesting person," says Silveira. "Everyone has this idea of Sylvia Massy being a rock 'n' roll goddess, but she's so funny, cool and easygoing."

Instead of packing their bags and hitting the road, The Cliks have made post-release appearances at home in Toronto for NXNE, Xtra's 25th anniversary party and the MuchMusic Video Awards. Silveira says it could, in part, be due to the recession, though their performances at Halifax Pride and Calgary's Virgin Fest with Pearl Jam will see them through the summer. There has been talk of touring come September but nothing's confirmed.

"Bands aren't supported like they used to be. There are so many right now," Silveira says. "Because there is so many and people have the access to all of this music, the idea of making a comfortable living as a musician is impossible. The whole Michael Jackson thing doesn't just represent Michael Jackson as a human being or as a diddler, whatever. It's the death of the pop star. It shocks me, like how long is this going to last? It doesn't seem to last the way it used to."

But it's not about long-lasting fame for Silveira. He wants to make music, that's his purpose in life. The Cliks have weathered various line-up changes and saw Silveira through his transition (female to male). The trio is still learning to navigate the high seas of the tumultuous music industry.

"The biggest lesson, I don't know if I've learned it officially, but we are human beings that work in an industry that is based in the creation of art," says Silveira. "The people who create it are the most vulnerable because they are so attached to it, but the people around you who believe in you, they see it as a product.

"They see it as something that needs to be sold. It's really tough trying to tough to balance the soul and the sale," he continues. "That's the part where I have the most trouble with; that's where I feel the most exposed. As an artist, you have a vision, then there are the people who try and sell what - The Coast


"Fighting To Clik Into Place"

Fighting to Clik into place
Lucas Silveira, frontman for Toronto rock trio The Cliks, isn’t dazzled by promises of celebrity fame and fortune: He just wants to make music.
by Shannon Webb-Campbell
On a bitter March evening, a few dozen folks huddled into Venus Envy on Barrington Street to listen to Lucas Silveira play an acoustic set. He previewed a few tracks from The Cliks' then-forthcoming album, Dirty King.

Silveira revelled in the intimate setting, cracking jokes about pictures popping up on Facebook of him playing against the backdrop of a wall of dildos. (Naturally, a slew of photos did appear. The toy rainbow made for a rather docile back-up band, standing in for Cliks bassist Jen Benton and drummer Morgan Doctor.) But scrolling through Silveira's own Facebook photos, it's the shots with his arm around Beth Ditto, singing onstage with Cyndi Lauper, Debbie Harry, Perez Hilton, Tegan and Sara and Margaret Cho that ascertain his celebrity status.

"There is nothing normal about this life," Silveira says now. "And that's what's bizarre about it---when I first started coming home and doing interviews all day, I said to myself, 'This is totally strange. I don't know where my head is from my ass.'

"You think in time that you'll get used to it. You don't. I was on tour with the True Colors tour with Cyndi Lauper, and she was complaining about packing and unpacking," he says. "I said that I figured she'd be used to it by now. She said, in an accent, 'Kid, you never get used to it. Keep getting used to not getting used to it.'"

Noted as the first transgendered musician signed to a major label (Warner Music in Canada, Tommy Boy's Silver Label in the US), Silveira has become the poster boy for trans-visibility. The album cover of Dirty King portrays Silveira as a snarled-face boxer in the ring, bloody and covered in bruises, with a crooked crown resting on his head. His rather posh bandmates are gussied up in 1920s attire---slim-fitting long dresses, hats with veils and pearls. The image plays on Judith Butler's theory of gender as a performance and nods to the butch/femme paradigm.

"Dirty King speaks to this sort of duality of being on the road, being like a musical persona and being who you are," Silveira says. "The album sort of came out of the experience I had when I was touring.

"I'm not insane. I'm not losing my mind. I don't think the human body and psyche is supposed to be in motion all the time," he says. "We are supposed to be still, we are supposed to reflect. There is no ability to reflect on tour. Then you are told, 'Go reflect, go write songs.' I don't know if I have a handle on it yet."

The Cliks released Snakehouse in 2007, and found themselves on a merry-go-round schedule of touring. Dirty King came out last month, produced by Sylvia Massy (Tool, Henry Rollins, The Deftones) in her studio in Weed, California.

"There was a big sign that said 'Weed like to welcome you, population 3,000.' Sylvia is such an interesting person," says Silveira. "Everyone has this idea of Sylvia Massy being a rock 'n' roll goddess, but she's so funny, cool and easygoing."

Instead of packing their bags and hitting the road, The Cliks have made post-release appearances at home in Toronto for NXNE, Xtra's 25th anniversary party and the MuchMusic Video Awards. Silveira says it could, in part, be due to the recession, though their performances at Halifax Pride and Calgary's Virgin Fest with Pearl Jam will see them through the summer. There has been talk of touring come September but nothing's confirmed.

"Bands aren't supported like they used to be. There are so many right now," Silveira says. "Because there is so many and people have the access to all of this music, the idea of making a comfortable living as a musician is impossible. The whole Michael Jackson thing doesn't just represent Michael Jackson as a human being or as a diddler, whatever. It's the death of the pop star. It shocks me, like how long is this going to last? It doesn't seem to last the way it used to."

But it's not about long-lasting fame for Silveira. He wants to make music, that's his purpose in life. The Cliks have weathered various line-up changes and saw Silveira through his transition (female to male). The trio is still learning to navigate the high seas of the tumultuous music industry.

"The biggest lesson, I don't know if I've learned it officially, but we are human beings that work in an industry that is based in the creation of art," says Silveira. "The people who create it are the most vulnerable because they are so attached to it, but the people around you who believe in you, they see it as a product.

"They see it as something that needs to be sold. It's really tough trying to tough to balance the soul and the sale," he continues. "That's the part where I have the most trouble with; that's where I feel the most exposed. As an artist, you have a vision, then there are the people who try and sell what - The Coast


"Exciting critics and making the ladies swoon-these rock stars are redefining queer cool"

There's a little bit of punked-out Elvis in Lucas Silveira, the trans female-to-male front man of the Toronto-based rock band, The Cliks. Silveira wears a studded belt, slung low on his hips—hips that glide along to the heavy-hitting guitar riffs and throbbing bass lines that The Cliks have become known for. You can see it (along with a smattering of Billy Idol) in Silveira's facial contortions when he sings. On stage, vulnerabilities are exposed through contagious chant-along choruses and bleeding verses from The Cliks’s new album, Snakehouse. This tattooed crooner is, quite possibly, the first ever transgender pop music heartthrob.

The Cliks—Silveira, lead vocal and guitar, Morgan Doctor on drums, Jen Benton on bass and Nina Martinez on guitar—show no fear and it pays off. It may be easy to focus on Silveira, with his gallery of inked skin peaking through a button-down shirt, usually clasped at the collar handsomely by a tie, and a signature red and white lightning shoulder strap on his electric guitar. But it's impossible to forget that there are four gifted openly queer members of this band, and they all exude the same raw and hungry, can't-get-enough energy.

Silveira is a self-taught musician—the other three members of the band are classically trained. Martinez, a music school dropout, explored music in her way and found her own guitar style. Benton brings 13 years of bass-playing experience to the band and joined just in time to participate in The Cliks’s tour kick-off at Austin's South by Southwest showcase. Doctor, the energetic rhythm section, was classically trained and studied jazz back home in Toronto. They are a tight-knit unit who love having fun together on the road. "We have a bond," Silveira says. "It's really necessary to make this kind of thing work."

The band has been through a few incarnations, one including bass player Jordan Wright, who graces the album’s liner pages. Wright left the band right before they started to hit it big. Drummer Morgan Doctor actually saw the last show of the old line-up and she remembers thinking, "These are really good songs," but still thought more could be done with the music. Once she joined, the band got a little more rock-'n'-rolled-out and the electric music set the lyrics on fire, culminating with the tracks on Snakehouse, released in April 2007. The current Cliks line-up just, well, clicks.

And while they are indeed rock stars, don't only get caught up in their suave, alternative style and gentlemanly vibe. The Cliks make the girls—and boys—swoon, but this band is all about substance. Their album, released on queer-centric Tommy Boy Silver Label, has been met with overwhelming praise from critics. The Cliks have been compared to legendary pop rockers The Pretenders and Joan Jett. With influences like Debbie Harry and Chrissie Hynde, their music is equally as catchy as their lyrics. The album's addictive first single, "Oh Yeah," reached No. 1 on Logo's New Now Next and Sirius OutQ Radio's Last Call, and was such a hit during Cyndi Lauper's True Colors Tour that it landed a spot on The True Colors Soundtrack (available August 7th). Lauper believed in the band so deeply that she bumped up the number of shows the Cliks played with the tour. And another heavy-hitter from the True Colors Tour is practically forming a Cliks fan club; Margaret Cho, who will be producing a web-exclusive video for the band has described the fans’ (as well as her own) reaction to the band as "queer Beatle-mania."

The band's experience working with a queer record label has been nothing but positive, reports Silveira. "I think the whole purpose of working with Silver Label is to focus on the audience we [already] have and be able to cross over into the mainstream…We have a very queer core audience." For the band, staying true to this audience is important.

The Cliks made their New York debut in the popular Park Slope lesbian joint Cattyshack. Right away, Silveira knew how to charm the intimate, but riled crowd. "All the ladies in the house, say yeah," Silveira wooed, eyes beaming. "I had never said that before," he reflects. "I felt it was appropriate.” The Cliks know how to electrify an audience and the energy at their shows is contagious. The hard playing bassist, Benton, gauges a successful show by "how sweaty you are." And they usually end up pretty sweaty. The combination of Silveira's heart-on-his-sleeve lyrics and the tough-as-nails performance of all the players set the audience on fire. "In Pittsburgh," Silveira reports sheepishly, "I had my first crier. For a rock band that's the big time." And it's not just Silveira who moves audiences. "Everyone has their favorite Clik," he says.

Pop music has seen its fair share of great break-up albums. No Doubt's Tragic Kingdom and Alanis Morissette's Jagged Little Pill certainly come to mind. With Snakehouse, Lucas and the Cliks throw their broken hearts into the mix. At once gruff and heart-felt, Silveira - GO Magazine


"The Cliks- Turn It On For Pride"

OUT AND PROUD TRANSMAN LUCAS SILVEIRA LEADS THE POWERHOUSE THREESOME IN AN ALL-OUT ROCK ASSAULT ON THE SOUTH STAGE
SUSAN G. COLE
Montreal – The cavernous warehouse shakes with the intense vibrations of what sounds like a speed rock band. The gritty title track from the Cliks’ Dirty King album is being relayed over speakers at almost double time so the final image in the snazzy video can be played in slow motion.

The band look like they can barely catch up to the music as they mime playing while the cameras roll. Lead singer Lucas Silveira rolls his eyes in frustration. Bassist Jen Benton – doing whiplash-inducing head swings – tries timing her jumps to land on the first beat and needs five takes to get it. Morgan Doctor settles for playing drums at half-time until she realizes she’s going to have to start thrashing.

A 25-person crew looks on. Four years ago, when Lucas was Lilia and performing as a female solo singer/songwriter, he was making less money a year than it cost to rent the fancy camera the crew’s using here for a day. Small clubs were his venues, and he hadn’t yet evolved with the Cliks to the point where he could play stadiums, including two years on the True Colors tour with Cyndi Lauper in 2007 and 08.

But things are booming now. With veteran Jake Gold as their manager and a third album out on a major label, the Cliks’ guitar-shredding, gut-wrenching hard rock has finally, er, clicked.

Not bad for a queer band, and unheard of for a band fronted by a transman – a transman who’s out and outspoken about it.

“I formed the Cliks because as Lilia the music and the image focused on me as lesbian singer/songwriter, and I wanted to be removed from being seen that way,” he says, recalling that creating the new band dovetailed with his decision to transition.

At the time, Silveira didn’t realize his new band’s name blends the words “clits” and “cocks.” That came later, but he was already on his way to changing his gender and his life.

“I’d always known I was trans,” he says, sitting with me in the NOW Lounge. Articulate and intelligent, he obviously sees the value of sharing his experience. “I just didn’t have language for it. I thought, ‘Well, what is it about this I-want-to-be-a-boy thing? It must be that I like girls.’ So I came out as a lesbian.”

Brave, but it didn’t give him the payoff he was looking for.

“I didn’t ever identify with being a lesbian. Then I went through a major breakup, I lost band members, a friend got sick, my dad had a stroke, and then I woke up.”

With the trans movement burgeoning, he had some help figuring out the next step.

“I knew what was wrong. I could continue living as a woman and persevere with my music career. Or I could come out as trans and never be commercially successful. I decided to slug it out, because I need to be happy.”

But he miscalculated – in a good way. Coming out as trans wasn’t career suicide. Quite possibly, it turned into the Cliks’ essential commercial hook, eclipsing the outfit’s many personnel changes. (The band’s had five different incarnations). Manager Gold happily pumps the trans theme, and Dirty King producer Sylvia Massy (Tool, Johnny Cash) came on board precisely because she liked the band’s “story.”

It also didn’t hurt that Silveira made important decisions about how and to what extent he wanted to transition that allowed the band’s sultry hard rock sound to remain the same even as he went through his changes.

He’s had top surgery (check out the scars in the pic of Silveira shirtless on the Cliks’ CD), but he said no to bottom surgery – “Too risky, “ he says, “and you can lose the ability to orgasm, and I don’t want to go there” – and doesn’t take testosterone. That hormone, he explains, can thicken your vocal cords and alter your pitch.

“At first I thought, ‘I can’t believe I finally have this opportunity and I can’t go through with it,’” he says wistfully. “But some kids, and adults for that matter, decide they want to go on with their lives looking as they do and still identify with a different gender. That’s huge.

“Would having hairy arms and a hairy chest make me feel like more of man? Sometimes I think that’s bullshit, but sometimes I think it would. Still, I understand why people say, ‘I don’t want to do that – I know who I am even if the world doesn’t.’”

This kind of candour is unusual in a trans person and off the charts for someone in a band on the brink of mainstream success. But the Cliks are not a collective. The camaraderie at the Montreal video shoot is palpable, sure – Silveira admiring drummer Doctor’s impossibly long eyelashes during makeup, the band operating as a finely tuned and disciplined machine during the very demanding shoot.

But it’s Silveira’s project, and he’ll keep talking trans regardless of what his bandmates may think.

“The first thing I learned about being in a band was that you have to maintain your vision. You have to make that clear to the pe - NOW Magazine


"COVER FEATURE"

"The Cliks have exploded onto the Toronto music scene, with hooks that are catchy enough o get stuck in your head, lyrics that are worthy enough to take note of and a live show worth risking your early morning class next day."

-Yumi Numata and Kiera Chion
- THE F*WORD - Issue #2 April 2005


"COVER FEATURE"

"The Cliks have exploded onto the Toronto music scene, with hooks that are catchy enough o get stuck in your head, lyrics that are worthy enough to take note of and a live show worth risking your early morning class next day."

-Yumi Numata and Kiera Chion
- THE F*WORD - Issue #2 April 2005


"SHAMELESS MAGAZINE - CD REVIEWS"

The Cliks- Self Titled
The Cliks' self-titled debut album runs the gamut from head-bopping anthems ("Different Girl"), to heart-wrenching ballads ("My Hand") and even takes on witty social commentary ("SUV"). The Toronto based rock-pop trio is anchored by guitarist Lucas Silveira, who wrote and produced the album. Ezri Kaysen's bass playing and Heidi Chan's drumming take a less-is-more approach, which works, as Silveira's charismatic and sultry vocals can't help but take centre stage.
With catchy lyrics like. "Even my heroes drive SUV's" and "Cinderella drinks her vodka every Saturday night," the melodies on this album are compulsively singable (apologies to my upstairs neighbours).
The Cliks offer a refreshing, stripped-down approach to rock music that will leave their songs stuck in your head all day.

-Sarah Jacobs
- SHAMELESS MAGAZINE - SPRING ISSUE 2005


"SHAMELESS MAGAZINE - CD REVIEWS"

The Cliks- Self Titled
The Cliks' self-titled debut album runs the gamut from head-bopping anthems ("Different Girl"), to heart-wrenching ballads ("My Hand") and even takes on witty social commentary ("SUV"). The Toronto based rock-pop trio is anchored by guitarist Lucas Silveira, who wrote and produced the album. Ezri Kaysen's bass playing and Heidi Chan's drumming take a less-is-more approach, which works, as Silveira's charismatic and sultry vocals can't help but take centre stage.
With catchy lyrics like. "Even my heroes drive SUV's" and "Cinderella drinks her vodka every Saturday night," the melodies on this album are compulsively singable (apologies to my upstairs neighbours).
The Cliks offer a refreshing, stripped-down approach to rock music that will leave their songs stuck in your head all day.

-Sarah Jacobs
- SHAMELESS MAGAZINE - SPRING ISSUE 2005


"The New SUV"

COVER FEATURE

"The Cliks, who stormed the scene are a force to be reckoned with..."

- Lisa Foad, September 30, 2004 - XTRA! Magazine


"Essential Tracks"

"Dreaming...a tough and tender rock song ..."

- Robert Everett-Green, Oct 15, 2004

- The Globe and Mail


Discography

Black Tie Elevator - The Cliks (2013) - Bandwidth Music/ The Cliks Productions/ Universal Canada

Mockingbird / Lucas Silveira (solo) (2011) -Indie)

Dirty King - The Cliks (2009) - Warner Music Canada/ Tommy Boy-

Snakehouse - The Cliks (2007) - Warner Music Canada / Tommy Boy-

The Cliks - The Cliks (2004) - Indie -

Photos

Bio

The Cliks were founded in Toronto, Canada in 2004 by charismatic front man, vocalist, guitarist, and songwriter Lucas Silveira.

They have toured extensively alongside acts such as Cyndi Lauper, The Cult, the New York Dolls, Debbie Harry and the Dresden dolls, and appeared on National Television shows: late night with Craig Ferguson, Jimmy Kimmel live And MTV's TRL.

The Cliks' first two major-label releases, Snake House (2006-Warner Music Canada/Tommy Boy) and Dirty King (2009-Warner Music Canada/Tommy Boy) brought the band international recognition.

The new album Black Tie Elevator released May 2013 through Bandwidth/ Universal Music Canada is a step in a new direction. The music shows growth in Silveira's songwriting and stylistically veers to what he calls soul rock.

Mark this album a definite high The Boston Brigade

Band Members