NMF ’22 Interviews: LUNG’s Kate Wakefield and Daisy Caplan talk opera singing dads, forthcoming full-length ‘Let It Be Gone,’ and returning to NMF

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NELSONVILLE, Ohio (WOUB) – The 2022 Nelsonville Music Festival takes place September 2 -4 at the Snow Fork Event Center (5685 Happy Hollow Road) in Nelsonville, OH. The festival is presented by Stuart’s Opera House, a non-profit organization focused on providing access to the arts and arts education in Southeast Ohio. 

Leading up to the three-day festival WOUB Culture is profiling a number of artists performing at the festival. You’ll find all of those interviews right here on

The band LUNG plays a dark rock club. This is a promotional picture, and drummer Daisy Caplan is drumming while Kate Wakefield is singing into a microphone and playing cello.
Cincinnati’s LUNG. From left to right: drummer Daisy Caplan and vocalist/cellist Kate Wakefield. [Photo by Jesi Carson]

Listen to WOUB’s conversation with LUNG’s Daisy Caplan and Kate Wakefield embedded above. Click on “play” in the Soundcloud widget. A condensed and edited transcript of the interview can be found below. 

Emily Votaw: Let’s revisit that Nelsonville Festival 2018 experience. You all play live so extensively — so I’m curious: what about that experience stood out to you enough that you wanted to come back?

Daisy Caplan: I mean, in general, music festivals are kind of not really designed with like the performer or the audience member or like the community that they’re in — in mind. And everything about Nelsonville runs a little bit differently than that. The festival is super walkable, like it’s super like humane in terms of, you know, space. And the enjoyment of everybody seems to be the priority. It felt like a very good experience, both as a performer and as an audience member seeing other bands.

Kate Wakefield: Yeah. I think I also really liked it because we’ve played in Athens a lot and it was fun to see the community come together for this big, epic festival in this magical outdoor setting — featuring so many good bands. It was just a really memorable experience. Can’t wait to go back.

Emily Votaw: Like I said, you all tour so extensively, you play out extensively — over 500 shows since your formation in 2016, I believe. Has that extensive live performing changed the band? I assume it has, but how has it?

Kate Wakefield: I mean, it’s a little hard to say – we formed kind of on a whim because we just discovered that we enjoyed playing music together. Pretty shortly after we played our first show, I jokingly said to Daisy: ‘I wanna quit my job and hit the road.’ And Daisy was like, ‘well, we could do that.’ Then we kind of started touring pretty immediately. Daisy booked us a tour. We toured on a homemade EP that we burned. Like we burnt CDs and handmade the covers and all of that. So we haven’t really known the band without hitting the road and going out and meeting people and experiencing things together in that way.

Daisy Caplan: I mean, on the other hand, it’s made us more live-centric about what works and what doesn’t work with a crowd. In that way, our performance is our practice and our practice is our performance.

Emily Votaw: Okay, so that sort of makes something click in my head! First of all, thank you for sharing the preview of the songs from the forthcoming, “Let It Be Gone” album, out on October 1. So, in listening to those tracks, I was trying to formulate how I felt, from my limited understanding as a listener, how the songs were different from songs on prior releases. And I think perhaps that difference is that all the songs seem super tuned into what might work best in a live setting. Is that correct?

Daisy Caplan: That’s actually very, very intuitive of you to pick up on. Because we played a lot of those songs at the last Nelsonville Music Festival because we recorded the record that’s about to come out in 2019. All of those songs were written in parking lots and in the van. Like it’s a record that was very much written when we were playing live a lot, and it’s a product of a band that was playing live a lot at that time.

Kate Wakefield: Yeah. We released “Come Clean Right Now,” out latest record, before “Let It Be Gone” because “Come Clean Right Now” just seemed particularly relevant to the times that we were in. It felt very close and intimate, because we wrote those songs during the pandemic over the computer, and we recorded it pretty early into 2020.

Daisy Caplan: And “Let It Be Gone” was the complete opposite. We recorded that literally in between tours with songs that we were writing on tour. Like there’s even at the end of the record, which you’ll hear eventually, we literally recorded the sound of our van.

A promotional picture for the band Lung. Members Daisy Caplan and Kate Wakefield are standing in a snowy cemetary with barren trees behind them, in front of a headstone that reads: LUNG.
[Photo by Rachelle Caplan]
Emily Votaw: So, what was it like to take these songs that you had written when you were on the road and make them into polished recordings? Or was that even much of a stretch for you?

Daisy Caplan: Oh, it was a total stretch! Because we’ve recorded before with people who are kind of like ‘cool, let’s use a first take, whatever.’ Like, whereas Mike Montgomery has a little bit more of a really specific ear and he’ll kind of push further and be like, ‘I think that was cool, but I think you can do better.’ We’d never been in that environment before and it was sometimes stressful, but I think it came out cool.

Kate Wakefield: The record that we’re talking about, “Let It Be Gone,” was recorded by Mike Montgomery and mixed by Mike Montgomery at Candyland Recording Studios in Dayton, KY.

Daisy Caplan: You may know him from such wonderful bands as Ampline and R. Ring.

A promotional picture for the band Lung. Drummer Daisy Caplan is drumming and Kate Wakefield is singing and playing the cello. The band is in a darkened rock club.
[Photo by Jesi Carson]
Emily Votaw: Very cool. A big part of LUNG’s sound is Kate’s electric cello. And in preparing for this interview, I listened to another interview — and I may be wrong about this, but I believe it was stated that the cello is actually a decked out child’s cello. Is that true?

Kate Wakefield: Well, it’s not necessarily a child’s cello, but it’s the cheapest model of a cello that you can possibly find. Like it might as well be a child’s cello. It’s a very low quality cello. But the thing that’s amazing about it is that I ran into that cello by chance. I was walking home from rehearsal, from band practice. One of the first ones we had. At the time, we were taking an acoustic cello and putting it through amplifiers, and it kept feeding back and sounding like a nightmare.

So after practice, I was walking home and my friend was on his porch and he was like ‘what’s wrong?’ I’m like, ‘oh, I can’t play in this band because my cello keeps feeding back,’ and he’s like, ‘Hey! Wait a second.’ And he runs downstairs and he is like, ‘do you wanna use this?’ And he had a cello in his basement! The cello that I use now. So we plugged it into distortion and it sounded so fun and evil. And then like about a year into the band, I was like, ‘oh, I’m gonna upgrade to a nicer cello.’ So I saved up all my money. And then when I plugged the nicer cello in, it just sounded so… pretty. It didn’t sound like us at all. So I sold it immediately and was like, ‘Nope! This cello, this like kind of broken, awesome cello, is the one for me!’

Emily Votaw: Kate, I know that you are a trained opera singer, and you found that world not to be the best fit. But I’m wondering: how did you first get into that world in the first place?

Kate Wakefield: I kind of got into it for a couple reasons. When I was in middle school, my dad, who’s an engineer, decided randomly one day that he was gonna go back to school for opera. As a middle schooler, it was like kind of one of those nightmare nightmare/pride situations. Like I thought it was cool, but at the same time I didn’t find it cool when he was singing opera in the Kroger parking lot. So he got really into that world, and I got exposed to that music and all the theatrics behind it. In high school I was really into theater. I loved dramatic plays, but I wasn’t super into musical theater. Then later in high school, I was like, ‘maybe I’ll take voice lessons.’ And then it just sort of fell together. I started singing slightly more operatic stuff. And I was like, ‘this feels really good. Just singing really loud.’ And then I was like, ‘well, opera is kind of like a combination of theater and really dramatic music.’ So I think I just fell in love with the art form that way. And I mean, the opera world is fine. It’s just not quite my cup of tea.

Emily Votaw: Daisy, how did you get into music yourself? How did you fall in love with it to the point that you’re a professional musician too?

Daisy Caplan: I just always liked it. I was always around it as a kid. My parents played in the ’70s and ’80s in backing bands for C-rate country artists and early rock ‘n’ roll performers who were on the ’70s and ’80s oldies circuit. So it was always kind of like a weird job my parents had. At some point I found music that I connected to more than like, you know, The Flamingoes or whatever, and like kinda just never stopped.

Kate Wakefield: Didn’t you used to go to shows all the time as a kid? Like sneak out to them?

Daisy Caplan: Right. I still do. I just go to shows. That’s just what I do.

Kate Wakefield: And now you don’t have to sneak out.

Daisy Caplan: No, I don’t. I don’t live with my mom anymore. <laugh> I guess the live element in music is cool. I just like everything about it. Even if it’s music I don’t like, it’s still fun. Like, it’s very rare that I’m like, ‘oh wow, this isn’t doing it for me.’ It’s just fun to see a live band, even if it kind of sucks. I can always find something I appreciate about someone who believes in something enough that they’re gonna get up in front of people and do it, even it’s not my cup of tea on some level. It’s a very valuable form of communication.

Catch LUNG at the 2022 Nelsonville Music Festival on Friday, September 2. Find more information about the fest at, and keep tabs on all of WOUB Culture’s preview coverage of the fest at