We were fortunate enough to catch up with Alice from The Loud Bangs!!! Read the full interview now!
Hi Alice, how did you first get into music?
My grandmother was a folk guitarist, and I used to pick up her acoustic when I was little and play some quiet songs very quietly. That has sure changed, though, as now I’m on volume 10 and play Shoegaze — one of the noisiest of sub-genres!
Friends in high school — who were, let’s face it, trouble — but had great taste! — turned me onto a lot of stuff. So that’s where I first heard bands like Deftones, My Bloody Valentine, The Spirit of the Beehive, and Swervedriver. I always liked guitar effects (and pedals covered up the fact that I couldn’t play that well).
Later, though, I also bought an acoustic, and I think my grandmother would be proud of songs like ‘Are You Happy?’ or ‘First Through The Door Dies’ since those sound like her style of playing.
How did The Loud Bangs get together?
By sheer force of will. This was out in the press already, but I got a solo deal, yet I couldn’t really get my shit together. So the label brought in a cool producer who found Marcus and Hannah for bass and drums. I conned my friend Daisy into playing the guitar, and… ta da… a band!
Who influenced your superb latest release, ‘Salvation Memorial Hospital’?
The first part of our catalogue was definitely me trying to be in a band from 1989. I really loved that period and was spending a lot of time watching this old TV show called ‘120 Minutes’ on YouTube with all these blurry, dreamy bands. It seemed to fit my mood because I was really spinning out of control in the pandemic, and this music kinda saved me.
So if you hear our first 20 songs, they’re very 1989-91. When we got the green light to make a second one, I wanted to do something different. I was dating again, and this opened up a whole new set of feelings. Originally, I wanted to do something happier.
Not sure the last two EPs are happy, per se, but I guess they’re a little more about romance than the early three, which were about my being anxious and depressed. So, my biggest influence is having some puppy love in my life and not feeling so alone. But still freaking out about that, too.
‘Salvation Memorial Hospital’ is a brilliant dream-pop release; what draws you to the genre?
Superb! Brilliant! It’s all going to go to my head. I just like that music from that time — late 80s, early 90s, the birth of dream-pop and Shoegaze — it all seems so welcoming. A lot of stuff today feels like it doesn’t care if I live or die. It’s all me, me, me in the lyrics — which, as I always say, has too many fucking words. I’m a lyrical minimalist.
I like newer sounds, too, though — I like The 1975, Paramore, and obviously, there’s so much out now I’m always able to find something good.
But dream-pop, as a cousin to Shoegaze, can say an awful lot with so little. I like music that sort of hints at another place. Something in between reality and dreams, living and dying. An ache. An ambience. Commercial stuff today is very much like a social media page — look at my cool life and how great I’m doing! — even if that’s not true, and it’s just a highly curated batch of happy moments.
So I tend to think that kind of curated music is fake. I wanted to go more below the surface, even if you can’t exactly say what is underneath or make any sense when you try to rationalize it. Stop me if I’m going on like a crazy person.
What motivates you to make music?
I’m a crazy person! You don’t want to be in my head. And I don’t think I hear music the way other people hear music. I like to black out the sun with it — have it loud and swirling in my headphones. Just have it be so dense that I can barely think about anything else. I never have music in the background. When it’s on, I’m fully invested in every sound.
That is what is so great about making records with Darren (Callahan, our producer). He can coax us into playing little bits, adding to it, and building up to a couple of hundred tracks, then somehow mix those into something that makes fucking sense.
I usually have a really clear picture of the song at the beginning, yet I can’t articulate it. In the end, though, it’s exactly what I pictured. Like our last single, ‘Candy Sometimes Always’ — I had the title, the chords, the lyrics, and no idea how to arrange it. But, wow, there it is. Just like I wanted. Strange.
If you could open for any artist/band, who would it be?
Living or dead? Dead would be David Bowie. Hands down. It’s the one artist we all agree on (well, him and The Primitives). Hannah would die to meet David Byrne or Tina Weymouth, so if there’s a Talking Heads reunion, I suppose we will make some calls. Not that they’d say yes.
Right now, live playing isn’t really on our minds. I’m currently down in Mexico City, and everyone else is in LA. There’s been talk of some shows. Though everything was created in the studio, we all could play live if anyone cared to hear it. Let’s see what the new year brings!
What is your biggest mistake in the music industry so far?
Not playing live. 🙂
What are your other passions aside from music?
Does sex count? Hmmm. Otherwise, I’ll have to think about that.
If you could change one thing about the music industry, what would it be?
I wish that it came with an instruction book. We’re doing it all wrong; I just know it.
What is the best music advice you have ever been given?
“Who cares?” — a quote from Darren — is pretty genius. He really likes us to act, write, and play like it doesn’t matter at all (even though it really does — to us, anyway). I’ve let Daisy give more of the interviews (or just write them like it’s all of us talking) because I tend to get too serious and sad (see above). (Plus, Daisy is the sexy one.)
Darren’s been making music since he was a kid, and he’s told us that it’s 100% luck if anything’s good, or if anyone hears it, or if anyone cares even a tiny bit. There’s too much music being made nowadays, anyway. If we make a wrong note or write a bad song, we certainly wouldn’t be the first. Almost 90% of our listeners are from Europe — go figure — so it’s not like my bad apple friends from high school will play any of our songs even one time out of curiosity. This idea of making music to be ignored or forgotten seems counterintuitive — right? — but it’s actually really freeing.
If our model is “who gives a shit, no one’s gonna hear it anyway,” well, that takes all the pressure off. And as far as the record label goes, I don’t even talk with them, though they’re all nice English folk. That’s all Daisy and Darren doing the business stuff. I think one of the reasons I wrote 30 songs in a year is that I all think of this as kind of a dumb lark rather than anything too permanent. It’s my diary of 2022 and, therefore, pure ephemera.
What new music are you listening to at the moment?
The best band in Shoegaze right now is Laveda. They had one LP in 2020 that was pretty great. In 2022, they released three new tracks, and each one is amazing, so I’m excited for the next release. If you like The Loud Bangs, you’d like them, too, because, as far as I can tell from the lyrics, they’re just as fucked up as I am. I also really like the band Helens, who have that same wall of sound approach.
What musical plans do you have for the next two years?
Wow, you don’t know me that well, I can tell. I don’t think that far ahead! Let’s see how next Tuesday goes first. I can tell you that our next release is a remix EP of three recent tracks — ‘Spectral Field’, ‘Candy Sometimes Always’, and ‘White Witch’. We also have a handful of unused songs from the other EPs that may peek their heads out one day. They’re all good, I swear! Well, except for the ones that are bad.
FVMusicBlog January 2023