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Interview: Best Ex’s Mariel Loveland talks new sound, touring and the theme of 2’s in her life

Editor’s Note: Back in September we told you about the new single, “Bad Love” from Best Ex, a NYC based indie-pop band lead by Mariel Loveland who we’ve been following since her days in the pop punk band Candy Hearts. The new single and new sound got us wondering what Mariel has been up to since her Warped Tour days, so we sent over some questions to find out more about her new project and new sound and how it all came about, read through our conversation now.

You’ve credited a lot of the direction of this song/project to your producer, Andy Tongren. Did you choose a more pop-leaning on purpose, or did that sound come naturally from you working together?

The new sound was completely intentional, and I got on with Andy so well because I think we both have similar tastes and styles. To an extent, it’s a little of both. I chose the sound on purpose, but it also was completely natural because it’s exactly Andy’s wheelhouse. He’s such a versatile musician and understood exactly what I wanted to do. I’m so proud of the stuff we came up with.

You mentioned in the past that “Bad Love” and “Brooklyn Bridge” were written about the same person. In the time between the 2 songs’ conception were you able to approach the subject from a different angle?

Definitely. “Brooklyn Bridge” was from this perspective of newness — when everything is shiny, and even if you know it might just be gold-plated instead of actual solid gold, you don’t care. It looks the same and it feels the same, but over the years it starts to tarnish and chip. You start to see what it’s really made out of. “Bad Love” is what happens when you keep wearing that beloved gold-plated jewelry after the coating wore off. It doesn’t change how much you like it, you’re just aware of what it actually is.

There’s a theme of 2’s across your life and career (2 labels, 2 hometowns, 2 projects), do you feel that living almost 2 different lives has shaped how and write you create?

I never though about it this way! Perhaps my commitment-phobia is showing through. It’s so hard to commit to one thing and to put all your eggs in one basket because if that one thing fails, it’s devastating. I think I’ve always just been that way my entire life. I’ve been a writer — I’m a culture journalist — throughout my entire music career. I have a twin sister, and we’re obviously a package deal. I loved flying back and forth and essentially living in two places because I never felt bored or stagnant. If something felt bad one place, I could always go to the other place.

With the label thing, I fully believe two heads are better than one, especially as an artist who’s completely DIY. They are both experts in their own territories, and I think most indie artists have a label in America and something different overseas. It’s weird because Alcopop felt so much like home, like the people I grew up with playing shows with on the east coast, but are on an entirely different continent. Chris from No Sleep and I have been running in the same circles forever. The world is just so unbelievably small that it overwhelms me. If those people who raided Area 51 had found something, I’d say beam me up (though, I’m afraid of heights so maybe not)!

As you gear up to tour this project, is the energy that you used to bring to stages like Warped Tour with your older sound going to transfer over to your new performances or can fans expect something just as different live?

I think fans can expect a more well-rounded performance, but I’d really like to point out that there were a lot of songs Candy Hearts recorded that were acoustic, softer and slower. We just virtually never played them because we were touring with bands like The Story So Far or State Champs and didn’t think that stopping a distorted, fast-paced set to bust out an acoustic guitar would have gone over so well. In fact, we sped up a great deal of our songs to match the pace of the show. We wanted to get people amped, but now, I’m looking forward to playing a couple songs that make me feel a little less like a chicken with its head cut off (though, that’s certainly a vibe that’s really fun, too).

A major theme you’ve presented through “Bad Love” is breaking the monotony of everyday life. What is one non-musical thing that you do on a daily basis to do that?

I consulted an ex about this question, and he insisted that I attach myself to uncertain, chaotic or unstable people. Hey, at least he’s self aware. I think in reality, I break up the monotony of every day life by taking a walk. I think? I haven’t quite figured out how to do that. I think I’m really lucky to have a non-traditional job where I don’t wake up, walk to an office and sit there until 5pm, then come home, shower and do it all again. I get to be creative every single day, and every day is different. Every once in a while I’ll write some sort of soul-baring personal essay that feels a bit vulnerable and risky. I’ve been writing a lot of Yelp reviews. Napping helps, but music is really what does it for me. Singing or writing a song can kind of take you anywhere.

Best Ex online:

Official Website | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | YouTube | Spotify | Bandcamp

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