Love Darling

12th Annual Indie / Alt. Rock Album Vox Pop Winner

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Record Label: Pawnshop Radio Records

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Home Base: Los Angeles, CA

Genre: Alt-rock / electro

Categories Entered: Indie/ Alt-rock Album

Work Submitted: The Occupant Theory (Album)

Artists Featured: Love Darling

Label: Pawnshop Radio Records

Who are your influences?: Some of the artists/bands that we really like: Yeah Yeah Yeahs, The Kills, OK Go, The Black Keys, Radiohead, Sia, Temper Trap, The Killers, Tegan and Sara, The Dead Weather, Death Cab for Cutie, Sigur Ros, Beck, The XX, Passion Pit, Bloc Party, Prince, Bjork, Feist, Muse, Red Hot Chilli Peppers….to name a few.

Describe your nominated work: The Occupant Theory, our first full length album, is a culmination of road trips, pawn shops, the voices in our heads, unusual dreams, Twin Peaks, Doctor Who, abandoned buildings in the desert, good whiskey, happy accidents, love tester machines, solar flares, analog & digital organic technology (what does that even mean??), small dogs & excessive caffeine consumption.

Did you use any unusual effects or instruments in this recording?: Even though we’ve usually recorded most of our previous projects on ProTools, we actually decided to mix things up a bit and record, mix and master the entire record on Reason 6, which was a blast and we think gave the overall sound of the record a slightly different feel.

We also set up a tracking room for the drums below the studio where our protools/reason setup was, which was a first for us but allowed for a very creative and interesting recording prcoess. We’ve always tracked drums at local studios, so we were a bit hesitant at first that we could achieve a nice drum sound in such a tight space, but it actually worked much better than we expected. We also loved running the microKORG keyboard through all sorts of different distortion pedals and effects to create some unexpected melodic sounds and ambient textures.

Were there any happy accidents while in the studio, or did everything go as planned?: We actually ended up recording of most of the vocal & guitar tracks during the multiple weeks of excessive solar flare activity last year, so for a while we had a difficult time recording any tracks that didn’t have unexplainable distortion, random radio stations or what could be best described as cosmic extra-terrestrial alien transmissions of some kind. It was really weird, and if you listen carefully in headphones, you can hear some of the odd subliminal audio artifacts of those flares. We learned to just embrace it, and ended up digging some of the sonic qualities they contributed to the songs… Bizarre, but it inspired the “sunflare transmission” lyric in the song “Let Go” 🙂

How did you raise the funds for this project? How long do you expect it will take to recoup your out-of-pocket recording expenses?: We haven’t quit our day jobs yet, but fortunately due to our amazing fans, we were able to raise the funds through a successful Kickstarter campaign that covered most of the recording/production costs. Another reason we worked so hard to create a record that we felt our fans would really love and that we would really enjoy performing live.

Why did you choose to submit this work to The 12th IMAs?: The alien sun flare transmissions told us to.

What’s your definition of success and how will you know when you’ve achieved it?: Ultimately, we’d love to tour the world to perform for the people that enjoy our music and what we do. But before that happens, as long as we are able to continue recording the music we want to write and perform, and then connect with our fans and inspire them too, then we’ve already succeeded on a very profound level.

We love the sincere passion that our songs have evoked in fans and, like most bands, we love the idea of expanding that community and fan base until we’ve essentially created our own Love Darling tribe that we can then encourage, with subliminal messages of course, to overthrow the many disturbingly evil organizations in the world such as Monsanto. But we want them to do it with excessive piles of genetically engineered popcorn – much like the final scene in the classic 80’s film “Real Genius”…. that will be when we know we’ve reached true success. Or they can just really enjoy our music and help us to be able to keep creating art and music on a full time basis. That would be lovely too 😉

How will you leverage your IMA honors to achieve your career goals?: We’re very excited at the opportunities and exposure that receiving an IMA nomination and, with hopeful anticipation, being an IMA winner could bring our way. Our hopes are to continue to grow our fan base, and meet and collaborate with other talented people who share our vision of touring and producing more inspiring music and creative projects. We feel an IMA honor would definitely contribute to this.

Who’s sitting in your audience and what makes your fans unique?: We’ve been very fortunate to have one of our songs picked as the theme song for all three seasons of Showtime’s “The Real L Word”, so a good portion of our audience found out about us because of that show, which has been amazing, because we’ve gained international fans as well. From Brazil, to Canada, to Australia. But even before the show, we were lucky to have accumulated some amazing people as fans who have helped spread the word about Love Darling and continue to passionately support us with each new record.

What is your guilty pleasure on the road? Any close calls or mishaps while on tour?: Other than the occasional questionable bathrooms at truck stops, we haven’t really had many mishaps or close calls on tour. In terms of guilty pleasures, what happens on the road, stays on the road. Sorry, Vegas.

Who are your musical heroes & influences?: Shay: It all started with Elvis…then Ani…then Bjork.

Mike: Starting early in elementary school on trumpet, I was always fascinated and involved with music, but Blood Suger Sex Magik was the record that really made me want to play in a band when it came out. The raw passion of that record was intoxicating to me, so I ran out and bought a bass guitar.

Daniel: Well, for me it started when I was about eight and I discovered my dad’s acoustic guitar at home. It’s true, I started with the guitar then I found his drum kit. Dave Grohl is a huge influence for this reason. I’d love to meet him and jam 🙂

Are there any songs you wish you wrote and why?: Mike: “There There” by Radiohead still blows my mind to this day.

Shay: So many good songs that have moved me. I’m just hoping to be inspired enough to write a song that makes someone else feel that way about a song. To write a song that they feel could be the soundtrack to their life.

What artists are you listening to that would surprise your fans?: Shay & Mike have always been long time fans of Skeleton Key. One of the best live shows we’ve seen.

How do you discover new music? Do you buy music or are you content with streaming?: Both. We discover music the same way most people do, we suppose. In a store, on the radio (FM & XM), on Pandora, Slacker, or Earbits, through friends, in movies, reading about it in a magazine article or online blog review. If I love a song or album enough, I definitely will buy it. I’m into vinyl records lately, so if they have it on vinyl I’ll get that too 🙂

How will musicians make a living if fans continue to expect music to be free?: Amanda Palmer’s extremely successful Kickstarter campaigns have clearly shown us that bands and artists don’t always need a label to generate money and connect with fans, and that most of the fans are more than happy to help support the artists that they love.

What don’t fans/audiences understand about the music industry today?: The more they can connect directly with their favorite artists, the better it is for both the artist and the fans. But even more, realizing that they have more influence and say then they think. So, if you love an artist and what they do, be vocal about it on blogs or music sites, and on social networks like youtube, Facebook, twitter, etc, make sure to share your love for the artist and buzz about it and share your enthusiasm for the artist. The “music industry” is listening to this, so this will help your favorite artist make more music that you love.

Are digital singles/EPs vs. full albums the future?: Only time will tell, but we can say, as much as we enjoy being able put out the occasional single and digital EP for our fans, we very much enjoy the process of creating an entire record of songs that can be enjoyed digitally, on vinyl, as videos, or even interactively. Sky’s the limit, right? We would love to explore the possibilities of giving our fans a 360 experience. We’ve got some ideas…just you wait 😉

Finish this sentence: The music industry is…evolving into a more artist-friendly industry, where artists might, for a while, have more work to do, but ultimately will also have more power and control over their own careers and creative and financial destinies. Also, its about coming up with more and better ways to connect with fans.

What do you have in the works for the upcoming year?: We are very excited about releasing “The Occupant Theory: Nebula Yearbook”, the double CD version of the vinyl release, which will contain additional unreleased songs, remixes, melodic mind-control mantras, zombie limbs & muppet parts (ok, maybe not muppet parts). Recently, we also decided to add an additional band member to the mix, after our drummer decided he would prefer playing guitar, so we are currently auditioning drummers. We are planning to really ramp up on creating and releasing a lot more video content to support the music. In addition, we are looking to shoot a video for our first single off the new record as well as a couple videos for new cover songs we recently recorded for our fans, and we’ll also be re-booting our monthly live broadcast, “The Love Pong Sessions” in the next month or so. In terms of live shows, we just performed in Austin, TX for SXSW, which was a blast and we’re about to rock the RAW showcase in Hollywood on May 2nd. After that, we’re hoping to get back on the road and tour as much and as soon as possible, to spread the subliminal auditory hallucinations across the land, once the new double CD is released! So keep an eye out for upcoming Love Darling shows this summer @