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“It’s okay to not be okay” – An Interview with lovelytheband

Just a year ago, lovelytheband was relatively unknown. Formed in LA in 2016 by vocalist and songwriter Mitchy Collins (formerly of Oh Honey), the indie pop band now touts guitarist Jordan Greenwald and drummer Sam Price alongside Collins. On April 13th, 2017, lovelytheband’s single “broken” premiered, setting in motion a whirlwind of success that would eventually lead to the moment I met them, on tour with Vance Joy. broken is a bouncy, synthpop dream of song that winds melancholy lyrics with an infectiously cheerful tune. The song has everything to make it a hit, amassing millions of streams on Spotify within the year, and recently jumping to the top of the Billboard Alternative Hits chart. It was this song that changed everything. Now, exactly one year after the premiere of “broken”, the trio sat backstage at The Greek Theater, a nearly 9,000 capacity venue in Berkeley, CA, ready to open for Vance Joy in front of a packed audience.

Ahead of their first stop on tour of the year, lovelytheband sat down for a green room interview with Music Existence. We chatted about the massive success of “broken”, prepping for festival season, and drifted to a rather contentious sandwich debate. Everything you would expect from these genuine, down-to-earth musicians taking the alternative music scene by storm.

Music Existence: So how do you guys like the bay?

Mitchy Collins: I love the bay. I have many, many a fond memories of the bay; my whole family is from here. My mom grew up in Foster City city and my dad grew up in San Mateo. The bay holds a special place in my heart, I used to come to Foster City and San Francisco every summer as a kid.

ME: Have you guys had a chance to hang out at all today?

MC: We walked around the Berkeley campus, Cal-what is it? Cal State?

ME: They just call it Cal, since it was the first [UC] campus.

MC: My dad went to Berkeley…Cal. Yeah, he went there. So he graduated on this stage. I called him today and I was like, “We’re playing the Greek!” and he was like, “no way, the circle is closing!”

ME: So it’s your first day of tour, how are you guys feeling? Nervous? Excited?

Jordan Greenwald: We’re feeling rested. Tonight will be the only night that we feel really rested. So yeah, we’re pretty excited.

Sam Price: I didn’t even get any sleep so like, I’m not really rested.

MC: I slept like a baby on the way here.

SP: [laughs] Yeah, well you sleep like a baby all the time.

JG: We drove up from LA this morning. But yeah, we’re excited. Excited to be on tour with Vance Joy, we love his music and he’s a great guy. So we’re excited to start this run.

ME: How’d you guys get connected?

MC: Um, that’s an interesting question…I have no idea. [Laughs] Our agent kind of called us. I mean I had met James a handful of times, sweetheart of a man. We got a call from our agent saying that we got the offer for the tour.

ME: What’s it like to prepare for a tour of this scale?

MC: [Looks around at Sam and Jordan, all laugh] I dunno, it’s a lot of buying of upgraded things-

SP: Yeah, like all right ‘Fix this, get that, buy this.’

MC: We went on tour last year with The Wrecks, but before this, we’ve just been doing promo all year. This is basically the start of our tour tour, it’s the start of our year. It was a lot of scrambling, like ‘oh shit, we gotta buy a lot of stuff.’ And ‘Oh, what do we need to do and what do we need to buy, how are we going to make the set up?’ blah blah blah. It’s an exciting time for sure.

ME: Is there any particular stop or city that you’re most excited about?

JG: I’ll say this one, this one is a for sure one of them. And I’m not just saying that.

MC: We’re excited for Nashville.

SP: Jordan has a good story about why he’s excited for Nashville.

JG: I went to college there and it’s pretty funny because the week that we’re going to be there is the same week that my class would be graduating.

ME: Another circle closing.

JG: Exactly, another circle closes again.

MC: I’m sorry, but I’m hungry as hell so I’m going to continue to eat chips and queso.

ME: Wow, story of my life?

SP: [Directly into mic] I am queso.

ME: So I was researching some stuff for this interview, and I saw that the lyric video for “broken” came out exactly a year ago today.

MC: It did? Was it today? Really? No, April 14th.

ME: Oh, the promo article I read said the 13th.

MC: Oh! It premiered today.

SP: Wow! It premiered today. This is news to us!

JG: Thank you for letting us know!

MC: It was officially released on the 14th, and actually premiered by Billboard a year ago. Look at that, knowing stuff that we don’t. Doing research, I like it.

ME: It’s what I’m here for. So I’m assuming that your lives have changed a lot in between “broken” coming out and today. What has that been like, to have such a rapid life change in such a short amount of time?

JG: I mean, Mitchy and I, we got to the venue and we just went out for like five minutes and stood on top and we just looked at each other and were like “What a year!”

MC: We’re now…we’re about to play this crazy venue.

SP: Aw man, I missed out on that moment?  I was in here doing this stuff [points to sound equipment].

MC: This year, it got us to The Greek.

JG:  It did, it got us to The Greek. But we definitely had a moment where we’re like, “wow, this has been crazy.”

SP: Let the record show that Mitch just grabbed a full two liter of Coke to go along with his chips and queso.

ME: Even dictating the interview, what great subjects. Anyway, some more serious questions. As far as I can tell, the songs that you’ve released seem to draw from some very personal experiences and emotions, was that intentional or was it just something that came out through the process of songwriting?

MC: It’s just, it’s all made up bullshit…I’m just kidding. I mean, I’ve been writing songs for a long time and my view on this, you know, is that honesty is the best and a lot of times when I’m writing songs I never really know what they’re about. Like my kind of way, God I sound like such a douche when I say this, but like, I don’t, I don’t ever try to force things out, you know. I just kinda let them come when they want. Like there’s been many times, the boys can attest, like making the record, where I’ve literally gone to the studio and sat there for an hour, then just said ‘all right, I’m going home.’

SP: Nothing came out.

MC: I never try to sit there and just beat a dead horse, it’s gonna come or not. But yeah, I let things come out of me and figure it out when the song’s done. I’m like ‘oh, that’s what that’s about.’ So that’s, you know, that’s one way I find out what my heart needed to say or whatever. But yeah, I mean everything’s pretty personal. I think that’s the best way to do it.

ME: So, “broken” has obviously been the big single that a lot of people know. How does it feel to take something that starts out really personal, just in your head, and then to see it with literally millions of streams online and thousands of people connecting to something that was once just your experience?

MC: That’s definitely…it’s definitely wild, you know. I mean, you make a song and you put all this time into it and then like, I think about this a lot. We spent all this time in the studio perfecting a song or perfecting an album or whatever, and then [for it] to only really be these three minutes of someone’s life, [but] that three minutes can transcend into an emotional connection with someone and really connect them to the words you’re saying and you’re feeling. And then you’ll get testimonies from fans meeting after the the shows, you know, that somehow…they connected to it. I usually speak a lot before that song about things I deal with. Like, I deal with pretty bad depression and anxiety. And there are days where most difficult thing for me is getting out of bed and stepping outside. You know, I talked about that a lot, I’m pretty honest about that. And I think a big part of that song, it’s just letting people know that it’s okay to not be okay and that they’re not alone in that because it’s a very lonely feeling. Just seeing people being able to connect to that aspect of the song is always crazy to me. You write something you think is good, but watching it transcend is…you don’t really think it’s gonna happen. And when it does happen, you think “what is happening?”

JG: I think every day we wake up to a text or something and we’re just like, ‘this is not real, what is happening?’

ME: So you guys have been involved with music for a long time, who you individually cite as your biggest musical inspirations?

SP: It changes all the time for me, personally.

MC: I mean I’m a big Bruce Springsteen fan, I’m a big singer-songwriter fan. Like Brian Adams and Bon Iver. I’m a big fan of lyrics, it’s like number one for me. Even stuff from when I was a kid, like Taking Back Sunday and Dashboard Confessional. People are always like ‘oh emo, blah blah blah,’ but um, it was a big part of my life. That’s where I learned, honestly, this sounds super lame, it’s where I learned what feelings were and how to deal with them. They would say things that I felt that I couldn’t articulate and it was a big part of shaping me as an adolescent.

SP: I discovered Bon Iver really late, but when I did, like with this most recent album, it was a moment of ‘whoa, this is so creative and I love every minute of this.’ And then I met Mitch and he loves them more than I do, and then I just like a dove into their older stuff.

MC: Him. Bon Iver is him not them.

SP: Okay, yeah, but listen, like he’s had a lot of the same band members for a while [laughs]. Anyway, the deep stuff has helped get through some recent heartbreaks and stuff. Yeah, it’s Bon Iver.

JG: Um, I grew up on classic rock bands. I mean, what my dad played for me when I was a kid, my first concert was a U2 concert when I was like eight years old. So you know, U2, Van Halen, all that kind of guitar music really shaped who I am today. But most recently I’ve been really into Frank Ocean, he’s such a creative and his music is unbelievable, his lyrics are unbelievable.

ME: So it’s festival season coming up, with Coachella this weekend-

MC: Woo!

ME: You guys have quite a few shows lined up at different festivals. When you’re not playing, are there any artists playing at the same festivals that you’re super excited about?

MC: I’m hopping off this tour and going straight to Coachella.

JG: He is literally hopping off stage tomorrow night onto a plane into Indio, California. But we are, I mean I feel like every festival we’re going to there is just someone that we’re like, what?!

MC: We’re playing Hangout Fest, so we’re stoked for The Killers, Halsey is a good friend of ours. She’s playing, so we’re going to see her. That’s always the best part about festivals, you get to be there with your friends. A lot of the times, you’re playing, everyone’s doing tours. Luckily for the festivals that we’re doing, we don’t have stuff around them, so we can be there for the weekend. We’ll just hang out and see friends and have a good time. But for Lollapalooza I’m just excited to see The Arctic Monkeys. We’re good buddies with the All Time Low guys, so we’ll check them out.

JG: We’re playing Mo Pop in Detroit and Bon Iver’s playing.

SP: Yeah, I screamed.

MC: St. Vincent and Daniel Caesar…Billboard Hot 100 Festival.

SP: That mystery artist, that’s four letters.

MC: Yeah. That’ll be a fun one. Bunch of friends of ours.

ME:  Who are you excited about for at Coachella?

MC: Eminem.

JG: Yodeling kid.

MC: [laughs] Yeah! Yodeling kid. I’m only going Sunday so I’m excited to actually see Vance’s set at Coachella, see how he does that different from the tour. I’m not gonna lie, I’m super excited to see LANY on Sunday and super jazzed to see Migos and Cardi B.

ME: I don’t know why I asked that question because now I’m just really jealous.

JG: [laughs] Trust me, I haven’t stopped hearing about it.

SP: Me and Jordan can’t go!

MC: Eminem is going to be life-changing.

ME: So I’ve seen some posts on Twitter and Instagram about new album. What can we expect to hear? What are you excited about?

MC: Uh, like the whole album.

JG: I feel like the EP was a nice little window into what lovelytheband is and this album elaborates on it.

SP: It’s like you were walking in the front door-

MC: And now we invited you in for dinner.

JG: And we’re sitting you down and we’re wining and dining.

ME: So I end with questions that are little more out of the box. So, first one: if you were to have a sandwich named after you, what would be in it?

SP: Oh, God.

JG: I dunno Sam, why don’t you go first?

SP: LOOK, it wasn’t what I would have now! Okay, but I have to tell it now though. They make this disgusting face because it was this sandwich. My mom would go to school at night to get her master’s degree-just a quick little shout out to my mom because she got it, she’s killing it-my dad used to watch me on Thursdays or something. So he’s not…really a cook. So he would make the sandwich that-this was before, like, we all gotten healthy in the family…but, shut up-

MC: [giggling]

JG: Healthy, huh?

SP: Yeah, shut up. I missed the train. So, he used to make a sandwich that was two pieces of white bread, [in a Southern accent] white bread in a pan that he would toast up. And then throw a little bologna on there, mayo, mustard and some Fritos.

JG: Disgusting.

SP: I used to put ketchup on it because I was a big ketchup fan as a kid-

JG: Disgusting. The worst.

SP: Flip it over a couple times, it was amazing! And I suggest everyone TRY IT…I’m a little passionate.

MC: I would love to make my own Fat Sandwich. Fat Sandwiches are these things in New Jersey, where I’m from, and it’s basically like a heart attack in a bun. And in the last few years, they opened up a restaurant called Fat Sal’s. The dudes from Jersey basically brought them to Los Angeles and I was super excited. They were invented by where I grew up, and I would love to have like a Fat Mitchy, or something and be like, Mozzarella sticks, Philly cheesesteak meat, Mozzarella cheese, buffalo chicken tenders, more buffalo chicken tenders, and maybe like fries or something.

SP: And you call my sandwich gross!

JG: Yours never sounds great. That sounds great. That sounds awesome. That sounds great at 4 am.

SP:…We have gotten that at 4 am before.

JG: For me, I’m going to do a pretzel bun.

SP: Good choice. Respectable.

JG: Like a steak BLT sort of thing. We’re gonna have steak, we’re gonna have bacon, lettuce, tomato, and we’re gonna have avocado, we’re gonna have a fried egg over it.

SP: Oh!

JG: And then maybe some onion strings.

SP: Oh! See that’s more of the sandwich I would want to make now, not the fried bologna thing my dad made…love you, Dad. You did your best. You did the best you could.

ME: If you were to recast any character in Harry Potter as Nicolas Cage, which one-

SP: All of them.

JG: That was my answer! That’s the answer! That’s it. All of them.

ME: What song have you had on repeat lately?

MC: I’m really close with the 5 Seconds of Summer guys, and they just dropped a new song called “Young Blood” and I think I had it on repeat the entire day yesterday.

JG: Keith Urban, “Good Time”. I’ve been listening to that for three days.

SP: I’m just trying to look at my recent songs, but it looks like the most reason was also the 5SOS song. It’s so good.

Remaining tour dates and tickets for lovelytheband’s tour supporting Vance Joy can be found here.

Connect with lovelythe band:

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | YouTube | Spotify

 

About Dana Jacobs

I write about music and live shows and other fun things. Strong feelings about pugs, Halloween, and burritos. Currently zooming around northern California, with frequent stops in LA.

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