Photo: Kim Withers
OSM: Who are The Loud Bangs? And where are you from?
First, thanks for the interview! It’s our first as a band and we’re happy to chat with Our Sound Music. Alice Street is our main songwriter, singer, and guitarist, with Daisy Gutierrez on vocals, guitar, and synths. Hannah Remley plays the bass and Marcus Nemuro rocks the drums. We’re all LA-based Sunset Strip kids in the USA!
OSM: Your EP, ‘Highway Safety FIlms’, is out now. What was the general songwriting process and are there any interesting stories around the recording of the songs?
Alice usually brings in chords or a general idea and, with our primary producer Darren Callahan, we lay down basic tracks then build, build, build and then reduce, reduce, reduce. All our songs tend to have 200 tracks by the end, which makes mixing or re-mixing a time killer (thanks, Darren!). We actively don’t want to emphasize the vocals any more than any other instrument, so you’ll find us dropping in or dropping out little vocal lines as we go along. If we could make the vocals just a couple words that really convey a feeling, then we’re happy. People sing too much – they should let the music do the talkin’. Alice typically finds the public domain samples we use for some of the stuff and we sort of sing around those. We don’t feel the need to do a verse-chorus-verse ever but we do want each line to be melodic and memorable.
OSM: How did the original and quirky title of the EP come about?
Alice has real fear about cars. She doesn’t have a California driver’s license and you must be VERY good at driving when she’s a passenger. She’d take the bus everywhere if she could! There was a 1950s company called “Highway Safety Films Incorporated” that used to make frightening and persuasive videos for teenagers by showing all the carnage. We thought it would be interesting to just confront her fear with an EP on the theme of car crashes and a nod to that film company. It doesn’t totally hold together as a concept album but gets close in showing the arch of a high-speed car crash and the aftermath. Originally, these songs were interspersed with our last EP, “Introducing The Loud Bangs,” but the label split it into two releases, so this allowed us to have a new title and go deeper on the theme.
OSM: Of the five tracks, do you have a favourite and if so what makes it so?
“Oranges” is our favorite, as it is the newest and was a last-minute edition, replacing one of the other songs (which will be on a future release). It’s only two chords but is so thick and cool. Plus, it has a great video from Jill GG. It is definitely the most intense song ever written about a fruit, as Darren once said.
OSM: From your point of view, what is EP about as a whole, what is its message?
Slow down! It’s crazy out there. And we mean that not just literally, in cars, but in your relationships.
OSM: What challenges have you faced since launching your career?
The band almost didn’t happen. We had no focus and weren’t making a lot of releasable stuff. The label introduced Alice to Darren, who is also in LA. He came along and sort of convinced us to be more ourselves and to make work quickly, with less debate -- just to not care what people think. We started to write more about mental health and things that scared us. Before that, it was very shoegaze artifice and sort of typical. We don’t think we’ll reach as many people now, unfortunately, but at least it’s us. We’ve been called “the Pink Floyd of Shoegaze,” in that it’s about mental health, anxiety, responsibility, and has all these samples and concepts. But we love Pink Floyd, so that’s okay with us!
OSM: What are the plans for the year ahead for The Loud Bangs?
In two months, an EP called “The Alice Experience” drops. Five songs – four that were holdovers from the last releases and a new track with UK rapper K C Q that’s beautiful. After that, we’d like to do a full 10-song record. EPs are fun, but we would like to make a larger statement if we can. If we don’t get more listeners, though, we may get dropped! And, who knows, we may play the Roxy or Whiskey one day.
OSM: If you could change anything about the industry, what would it be?
Even in a very known sub-genre like Shoegaze – something that began with wonderful, groundbreaking artistry and innovation – people just want you to be the same as every other Shoegaze band. We always want to keep the band and the sound moving forward. But people may not like that. It shows in our reviews and our listener numbers, unfortunately. Still, if the music is helpful, here it is.
OSM: If you could share the stage with another band or performer who would it be?
In the Shoegaze world, we love Fleeting Joys, especially their album “Speeding Away to Someday.” If we could go back in time, it would be Kitchens of Distinction. If it was a nostalgia tour, it would be Ride. If we could bring someone back from the ether, it would be David Bowie or Japan. If it was “I want to meet our heroes,” it would be Gary Numan or Kate Bush or Tricky. If it were with our current peers, it would be Pia Fraus or The Japanese House or Grouper or Now, Now.
OSM: Who are some of the main influences of your music?
For this, it’s a bit of Snowpony, a bit of Cocteau Twins, a bit of Bauhaus, some Wolf Alice, some Brian Eno, some Deafheaven. Darren really turned us on to early records by this band called The Church. Oh, and Boards of Canada, who we hadn’t even heard of before the sessions! We were so lame.
OSM: What songs are on your playlist right now, which songs are you into at the moment?
We really like “I’m So Tired” by Deserta. “Disappearing Ink” by Travel has a great groove that Hannah loves. “Grim Reaper” by Living.Slow.Death. Alice listens to a lot of Taylor Swift, and you’d be surprised how much Taylor’s song “Epiphany” is dotted throughout “Highway Safety Films.” And Darren’s daughter Charlotte Callahan has this kick-ass number called “Damage” that inspired us to work with her on our single “Something Left Unsaid.” She’s only 15! About the only band we all agree on loving is The Primitives, strangely enough! 1989-1992 alternative stuff is always in rotation.