WITH EACH NEW YEAR COMES THE DESIRE TO REFRESH THE RANKS OF MUSIC’S FRONT LINE. WE’VE GONE THROUGH OUR NOTES, COMPILED OUR LISTS, AND COME UP WITH SOME SUGGESTIONS FOR THE NEW BANDS YOU NEED TO HEAR IN 2023.
Isn’t TikTok just for people to do dances and become pop stars? Erm. No, actually. Loveless are here to take over the joint.
Words: Steven Loftin.
“I need to piss more people off,” Loveless vocalist Julian Comeau beams. It’s true; if you want to get somewhere, you’ve got to get to ruffling some feathers. “Sometimes I see people getting hate comments on TikTok, and it’s like, dang, but they got 500,000 likes on this video… Maybe I should start doing these videos shirtless?!”
While not stoking the hate fire quite yet, as one of 2022’s breakout acts, Loveless found their star rising after a series of covers on TikTok, including Lizzo’s ‘About Damn Time’ and Kate Bush’s ‘Running Up That Hill’. With the views ticker rolling at a considerable rate (‘About Damn Time’ currently sits at a cool 7.4 mil), it’s fair to say Loveless were well on their way. But not wanting to be pigeonholed as a strictly covers act, thanks to some singles, a couple of EPs and an album of original music all being released since 2020 – including this year’s ‘END OF AN ERA’ mixtape – the separation began, and it’s in this spot that Loveless want to exist.
Kindred spirits, Loveless formed in 2019 in Los Angeles. With Julian, alongside multi-instrumentalist Dylan Tirapelli-Jamail, the pair’s musical influence bleeds from jazz, and musical theatre, to pop-punk. And while they certainly err towards the thick, melody-heavy delivery of the latter, the former two genres provide a mature understanding that plays into their ambitions.
“I haven’t said it in a while, but I want to keep telling people we want to be the biggest band in the world until we are,” Julian smirks. “But at the same time, I’m perfectly happy making music for the people that we have now. It’s kind of like me as an artist, and as a person with dreams; I want all the success in the world, but also, at the same time, this is already bigger than I imagined, and it’s amazing, so I’m just so thrilled to be along for the ride.”
Pausing for a beat, he soon doubles down. “Yeah, no, we want to be the biggest band in the world… I don’t want to be Imagine Dragons, I don’t want to sound like them, but I want to be like them, you know? Why not?”
Indeed this seems like a reasonable request, and given they’re united with the simple drive of just “making things”, which Julian cites as his favourite part of the project, it’s not wholly unrealistic. “You could stick me in a studio for two months, and I would just churn out songs,” he says. “I would love to do that. So I think with proper infrastructure, it’d be really fun to just start making more of it.”
For anyone who stumbles across a Loveless cover while flicking through the bright, shiny eye-injection of TikTok, the hopes from the bands camp are that it’ll be the originals sprouting all over the place soon. “With the right play, that’s definitely my goal,” he affirms. “That’s where I hope we can go [this] year. It’s just doing what we’re doing but on a bigger scale, and with more new original music because I feel like the making stuff, the arranging stuff, the creating stuff, that’s where I think both I thrive and where Dylan thrives… we just love creating!”
This is good, considering these days you have to be a dab hand at every aspect from video editing to directing, let alone the pure and simple act of songwriting. However, Julian reckons “content creation is at this point is its own market, and social media has long surpassed the music industry as far as its influence.” While, yes, this is certainly the talk you’d expect more from a record label’s faceless boardroom up in the sky than a burgeoning artist, when it’s coming from the horse’s mouth, it feels a bit more real. “I think being an influencer is arguably more valuable than being a rock star,” he states.
But that doesn’t mean Julian didn’t have his own starry-eyed ambitions of being a guitar-toting god. “I wanted to be a performer,” he enthuses. From a movie star to a film director and producer, it’s all whizzed through Julian’s head in the hopes of achieving something. “I remember one of my childhood friends was Cuba Gooding Jr.’s son, Mason, [and I] remember being like, I think I want to be an actor,” he recalls laughing. “I always kind of had high hopes and dreams.” While an anecdote like this may scream LA nepo baby, the truth with Loveless is these are two musically-influenced like-minded chaps who are clocking up the hours in their craft on the line of ‘making it’.
Similarly, akin to the DIY punk ethos that had kids once upon a time running rampant in the streets glueing flyers to any available public surface in the hopes of getting a few faces down to their shows, the Loveless way is a one-man operation with Julian helming all those socials. “I remind people all the time; it’s just me running the socials. Sometimes I’ll get messages from people being like, ‘hey, to the Loveless social media manager. I just want to say you’re doing a great job’, like I’ll pass it on to the band,” Julian says, eyes rolling. “Yeah, it’s tough managing this tiny little empire we’re building, but I also feel like it would be disingenuous for me to pass it off. Like I always want to have a hand in the fan engagement; in the posting, I always want to be able to write my caption and hit post because I feel like it’d be weird to have a label doing that.”
This sincerity streams through their original offerings, including titles such as ‘sorry I’m a downer’ and ‘If You Have My Voodoo Doll, Give Me A Hug’. It’s hearts-on-sleeves all the way to the top, and it’s clear this fervent determination reeks through the duo. As they embark on their debut UK tour in 2023, the internet may be theirs, but they’re coming for our shores too. Simply their lofty ambitions are not to be taken lightly. “Why not aim for the stars?” He shrugs. “You might miss but, I don’t know, I think that’s true of anything really. You gotta go for it sometimes; otherwise, what’s the point? We’re on a floating rock in space; it’s kind of dope that we get to have any decisions at all… we might as well make some cool ones.”
For all the aspirations, they still have their feet rooted in ensuring they don’t lose themselves in the swell. On what they want to focus on in 2023, Julian mentions, “I think the big thing for me is outlook. I just want to get back on the road and see more people because that’s when we’re at our best. I’d love to just do more, just to do more and do more with a better mindset.”
And if push comes to shove, at least they can stir up a fuss with some shirtless TikToks. “I’ll [even] get Loveless tattooed across my chest!” Julian cackles.
Taken from the February 2023 edition of Upset. Order a copy below.
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