Los Angeles synthwave duo Lucky + Love play an in-store at Pop Obscure Records on Friday, so we chatted with both of them, Loren Luck and April Love, about the past, present, and future…
L.A. WEEKLY: When did the band form, and what was the mission?
LOREN LUCK: One night at the Good Luck Bar in Los Feliz, and in 2014 [we] started working on music.
APRIL LOVE: Our worlds collided. Sadly, we just got news it's set for demolition. (Ironically, if you have seen our music video “Digging in the Earth”, animated and directed by Stephen Barron, you'll appreciate our disdain for developer bulldozers digging out parking lots.) Times at Good Luck Bar inspired our band name, inspired our song “Sexy” off of the Lucky+Love LP, and inspired “Dancing Alone Again” from Transitions, our new record out June 7, where lyrics include “Wanna be your China Girl”. “Dancing Alone Again” winks at Bowie, but is also inspired by nights we spent at the Chinese themed Good Luck, and Club Underground in Chinatown.
LL: My mission, if I accept, is to write, create, and perform electronic music from the heart and with soul or play the shit out of my electronic drums, and keep the DIY spirit.
AL: We had been in another traditional drum/guitar/synth band together. So, the thought of stepping out as an electronic band was challenged by work weeks in cubes on desks. Just a few weekends of toying with Ableton at desks, facing a screen and not each other, we found our selves on an important mission to play electronically without the flipping desk or the frisking screen. So, in the spring of 2014, with just a Moog and an electronic drum kit, we wrote the song “Taureon.”
So, our mission has been to step away from our desks and go to to toe “playing with each other” musically, creatively and jam out like we did in our previous band. This time, we didn't realize how much more we had in us, because the difference was that Loren was no longer just a drummer, he and I connected creatively like no other drummer I have ever met, with his growth in live looping multiple instruments while drumming at the same time”. It took a couple months find our sweet spot in song writing / jamming / improving on the fly method allowing us to quickly transition from one part to the next.
Describe the sound…
LL: Melodic, soulful, synthesized sound. April brings the sweet, I bring the salt. Just a minor list of influences: Tony Thompson, Reggie Watts, Screaming Trees, Trevor Horn, Cocteau Twins, Siouxsie, OMD, Crimson Curse, KARP, Loscil, Simple Minds, Alice Cooper, Vangelis, seal, Kiln, Dead Can Dance, Dismemberment Plan, Erasure, June of 44, Morrissey, Tortoise, Yaz, and the In Search Of background music of Laurin M. Rinder and Michael Lewis.
AL: Instrument-wise, we had the early signs of a serious vintage synth fetish with Casios, Farfisas and Juno 60s back when they were cheap and under the radar in our previous bands. But this idea for our tricky instrumentation and concept of this project consisted of a singer who could play bass and treble synths nice and loud with a live electrified drummer who could also synth it up at the same time. This idea sparked when we went to see the band called The Helio Sequence perform. That drummer was doing so much at the same time it was wild! We were already dialed into Stereolab, Massive Attack, Ladytron, Crystal Castles, and The Italians Do it Better-type bands. Seeing Phantogram's performance online at the Moog Music Lab was really cool. The Georgio Moroder, '70s analog sounds were in our blood from watching old In Search Of... and Land of the Lost of reruns on YouTube, and you know goth and britpop pump [in] our veins. Modest Mouse, Pavement, Kraftwerk, Gary Numan, Depeche Mode and Cocteau Twins were on heavy rotation.
What do you think of the state of the music scene in L.A. right now?
LL: It seems healthy and confused at the same time, all kinds of music experiment stuff going on…
AL: We have a lot of talented, driven musician friends and every day we meet supportive, friendly Angelenos at our shows. Everyone has a project they are doing at home so I really appreciate our audiences here. I'd say performing shows in other cities, including our upcoming UK tour, no longer intimidates. Bands without solid radio play or heavy playlisting who are gigging around L.A. may find themselves needing to hand out 5,000 flyers just to meet a venue's expectations. And you have to hand them to people since posters need permissions. It sounds old fashioned, but I try to tell people that if you can remember that L.A. has 4 million people living here and to try and think of L.A. as it's own nation. Despite it's large population, it's really about reaching one person at a time connecting eye to eye on a human level. Like for our Stranger Nights: Modular, darkwave and synthwave shows at the Airliner, it was organized by a little group of musicians I helped formed called Council of Synth along with other gigs we've had, I have personally passed out flyers on bus, near Union station and at Cal State L.A. and I enjoyed meeting people while doing it. Especially because it's easy to feel so lonely here in your car, on a freeway, trapped and disconnected. We want people to feel part of our family when they come see us. And with 1,000 bands a night in L.A., take that work ethic to a city like Manchester, where you know only a few people, it feels far less intimidating. I guess, after learning the ropes here, this we feel like we can conquer the world.
What can we expect from this Pop Obscure set?
LL: Sexy vocals, drumsticks flying, low pass filter sweeps, lots of sweat. it's gonna be loud analog fun.
AL: We'll perform tracks from new record, Transitions, with a couple favorites from our debut record since we'll also have the vinyl LP for sale there. Our Transitions record release with Southern Record Distributors UK / Forced Exposure got pushed to June 7, so the folks that come out to the Pop Obscure show can purchase a signed vinyl Lucky+Love LP and we'll have 10 signed promo CDs to give out to the first 10 people that line up. We'll be offering a preorder for the CD. We plan on going for Thai food after, since the shop is in Thai Town!
What's next for you this year, after this show?
LL: To play as many shows as possible, promote the new record, and head off to the UK for some shows. write some new songs for album #3 and continue to nerd out with gear.
AL: We have 15+ gigs planned like at Silverlake Lounge with Darkswoon on June 16, Bar Sinister in Hollywood with Wandering Poets Saturday July 13, and most notably we'll be touring the UK June 21-28, Seattle and Portland at the end of July. After the Transitions tour ends in September, we'll be tracking our third record.
Lucky + Love performs at 6:30 p.m. on Friday, May 24 at Pop Obscure Records.