The froth levels were ridiculously high when the recent news dropped that Mudvayne and Coal …
It was Loveless’ pop-punk covers that first put them on the world’s radar.
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But it’s been their high-energy, introspective and nostalgia-soaked originals that have really proven their mettle as musicians. So, with that in mind, it’s no surprise how quickly the US-based duo have positioned themselves as leaders of the next-gen.
Before their Oz headline run kicked off, we caught up with the band for a chat about the tour, their upcoming tunes and more.
Hysteria: Recently, you have put out two new singles. How’s the reception been to them, and how’d they come together?
Julian: The reception has been great! I Hope I’m Not Sick has been around forever. The original demo is from 2018.
Dylan: A year before we even met.
Julian: Yeah. And I had leaked the song so many times on TikTok that I was like, if I don’t just drop it soon, the fans are going to get mad at me. Drag Me Down was a newer one. We got together and just made a track, and people have loved it. It’s different for us. It’s more hopeful and doesn’t play into the same level of stereotypes we always have of an electronic verse and rock chorus.
Dylan: The verses are upbeat and bubbly.
While Drag Me Down is more upbeat, you’ve never shied away from exploring darker concepts in your songs. We hear a new record is on the way, so will that lyrical approach carry through to it?
Julian: This one will be a little less bitter than the first record. The first one was recorded during the pandemic.
Dylan: Half we did during the pandemic.
Julian: And we were releasing it during the pandemic, so the songs and the way we were presenting them was a bit darker. We’re growing as people. And while I’m still anxious and depressed, I’m more comfortable in my body and with my writing and with the way we write together. We don’t have a formula, but our chemistry has shifted, and we’re creatively more in the zone.
The first record was me in my bedroom and Dylan in the studio. We didn’t have time together to craft it. But with this new one, we spent a lot of time together. Ultimately, I don’t know if the record will be as dark and introspective as the first. That stuff will be there, but it will hopefully explore more diverse topics too. That said, our next single will be another mental health-focused song about being sad. The other after that is also about being sad.
Dylan: Instrumentally, it sounds a lot happier. There are still sad songs, but they sound happy.
Julian: I think that’s always been our goal. This new record is definitely poppier, though. We’ve played more live, so we want people to jump around and react to our songs. As much as we love our first record, you can’t shake your ass to a song like A Thousand Reasons.
Seeing how much you have grown together over the last few years is amazing. How do you hope that progresses in the future?
Julian: We have what we do downpat. Now, we’re starting to learn more about what we don’t want to do. I didn’t want to play guitar on the first record, so that was why Dylan was doing it. He was also playing the drums out of necessity. But with this new record, we brought in Stephen Haaker, our live drummer. Dylan got to produce him in the studio. So when we put out the credits for the album, it will say produced by Loveless and Nick Morzov. We contributed equally to it in terms of production. And that’s going to keep on happening.
Dylan: Like I said, we only met back in 2019. We started working together when we didn’t even know each other. We’ve learnt a lot about each other over the years, which has helped us and our work grow. Continuing to do that will have our music blossom. The sky’s the limit.
Tell us more about producing the record.
Julian: I’ve always produced our demos. And I’ve loved doing it. I prefer to be alone in my room when I start to craft. With this record, we’d take those ideas and put them in a group chat with Dylan and Nick. Nick produces everything I don’t want to do, making my life much easier. I could ask him to add synths in, for example.
Drag Me Down used to be just guitar, bass and vocals. But one day, I asked Nick to add synths, and he brought this HUGE The 1975/ The Band Camino-esque wall in. With the first record, if I didn’t produce the synth, it wasn’t there. It’s been great to have some of that pressure off me and Dylan. Dylan was spending 12 hours a day in the studio until his hands were bleeding. And now, we have Nick and Stephen and a couple of other co-writers and producers that will be announced soon.
Dylan: It was good for me to take a step back. I still play drums on the first six songs, but it’s nice that I don’t have to beat myself up or be in the studio all day tracking drums when I also have to focus on guitar and bass. To still be in the studio, but this time producing Stephen is great. He and I have played music together for a long time, so he already has an idea of what I’d do, and then he puts his spin on things. It’s created a different approach for the guitar and bass too. Because I’m not just working off my idea; we’re also working off an outside one.
I don’t know if the record will be as dark and introspective as the first. That stuff will be there, but it will hopefully explore more diverse topics too.
[Julian Comeau, Loveless]
You collaborated with our very own Patient Sixty-Seven recently. Are there any other Oz bands you’d love to partner with?
Julian: So many! I just love Australia. I love the bands, the people and the accent. I love Tom (Kiely, Patient Sixty-Seven frontman). Generally speaking, we are moving away from the metal world, but we love those guys so much. It would be cool to collaborate with bands like 5SOS or Yours Truly. We also love Closure, who we’re touring with.
Dylan: We’d love to collaborate with Australian bands. Slide into our DMs.
Why do you think fans have responded so strongly to TikTok as a medium for finding new music?
Julian: Ironically, none of our originals have gone off on TikTok, but all of our covers do well there. We’ve made a living off our original music because people find it through the covers and then end up liking it. It just doesn’t have the same viral capabilities.
If it’s not TikTok, it will be something else. People were complaining about their band not blowing up on Instagram, and it was Myspace before that or whatever. It’s just what’s hot right now. We were lucky to find a niche that worked well for us that we could find our audience through. It is luck, but also a lot of hard work. Tom (Kiely) and I are both posting every day. When he started creating content, we’d DM each other about how much it sucked. Making content every day is not what we want to do. Everyone in the scene wants to create music and become a rockstar, but it’s being willing to do the work, and then extra work and the marketing. And that stuff sucks, but it’s what you have to do. Half of it has to be content. Otherwise, your band doesn’t exist.
What advice do you have for bands navigating social media and content creation?
Dylan: You have to market yourself. You have to promote yourself. But that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s going to work out.
Julian: And that doesn’t mean that your music is bad. Just that it didn’t go viral.
Dylan: I consider us fortunate. Many people go viral on TikTok, but it doesn’t always translate into the real world. That doesn’t mean you’re not good. It just means people haven’t found you yet. So keep posting and creating music that’s true to you. The people that it’s intended for will find it eventually.
Julian: There are many artists I love that are getting viral moments, but they’re not releasing enough music. So they’ll get their moment, but then they only have five songs to play when it comes to shows. The creative output has to match. The micro has to match the macro. You have to do not only the creation and the promotion, but everything. My advice is to do everything until people are trying to do that job for you.
It’s so exciting that you just played Lollapalooza! Give us some highlights.
Dylan: I went to my first Lollapalooza when I was a kid, and I knew I wanted to play it ever since then. To be able to do it is a dream come true. And to be with Julian, Stephen, and the rest of our crew, who we love dearly, was very special.
What are you most looking forward to doing in Australia?
Julian: I’m going to do a shoey.
Dylan: I did one 16 years ago, so I’m good.
You’re going to get called to do it at every show.
Julian: Do they at least bring you a shoe?
No, you take your own shoe off.
Julian: I’ve got to buy a new pair.
Dylan: I may get a fresh pair. When I did it before, I did it out of my own shoe, which was disgusting. But other stuff we’re excited for – watching the World Cup game, hugging a koala if we can and eating.