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A Dirty Dozen with LOVE CRUSHED VELVET – June 2022

| 21 June 2022 | Reply

According to a recent press release: “Today, with the release of the mind-melting music video for “The Future,” the NYC post-punk outfit Love Crushed Velvet reveals details of their new studio album ‘Souls and the Barren Heart,’ out July 22nd. Inspired by post-pandemic Manhattan and the untapped chaos of urban life, the album features taut, visceral songs that blend alternative, glam, and classic rock into a contemporary sound. Love Crushed Velvet is the creative vision of A.L.X., a regionalist who believes in the power of varied music scenes and assembling different bands for different records – improvising, revising, consolidating – an organic approach that retains the spark of late night jams, of a musical rapport forming in real time. The new album sprang from spontaneity, and even in its polished form that energy comes through. Like with their 2010 debut and follow-up EP, a fierce group of players was assembled for the album under producer David Maurice. Australian drummer Alex Carapetis (Julian Casablancas, Nine Inch Nails) anchors the group. Rob Ritchie and Erik Deutsch shape the textures on guitar and Keyboards.” We get A.L.X. to discuss new music, influences, and more…

1. Tell us a little about your latest release. What might a fan or listener not grab the first or second time they listen through? Are there any hidden nuggets you put in the material or that only diehard fans might find?

The songs on the album were actually recorded in 2014, so we’ve been sitting on them for a while.  Touring and other projects delayed the release for several years, and then Covid forced us to put the whole thing on hold for another 2+ years.  But better late than never! It’s a very layered album sonically. Love Crushed Velvet albums have generally been records with a lot of underlying textures and melodies within the songs, so listeners who are into dissecting the sonic landscape will enjoy this one. If you play the album backwards, it will tell you the secret to the universe 😉

2. What got you into music, and can you tell us about the moment you realized you wanted to be a musician?

I heard the Generation X song “Dancing With Myself” (later a Billy Idol hit) come out of my radio and it changed my worldview.  It had simplicity, energy and unbelievable attitude that opened me up to punk, postpunk and new wave.  We as humans respond to specific energetic frequencies, and that song aligned perfectly with where I was at the time.  That music scene made we want to change my look, learn to play guitar and jump onstage and sing.  Once that process started, the train was never going to return back to the station.

3. Building on that, is there a specific song, album, performer, or live show that guided your musical taste?

Different albums, shows and performers influenced me in different ways.  From a soundscape perspective, I was really drawn to The Cult’s Love album, along with Billy Idol’s “Rebel Yell.”  The vibe of those records was very particular to that era and strongly resonated with me–I played them over and over again in my late teens and probably still know them note for note even though I haven’t listened to either in years.  In a funny twist of coincidence, the drummer on “Rebel Yell” (Thommy Price) was Love Crushed Velvet’s first drummer and played no small role in our debut album having undertones of that Idol album.  U2’s sound has influenced me along with countless other bands, and there are things from their early repertoire that I still bring into my music today. The first live show I ever saw was The Kinks.  Ray Davies had a ‘rock and roll rascal’ air about him that was totally badass, and I was really impressed with his ability to hold an audience without the snarling and fist-pumping theatrics of the punk singers that I liked and who I first emulated in my early years of playing onstage.  I was around when MTV first came on the scene, and the overall postpunk scene ultimately influenced me more than any one performer or band.  That was also an era in which all of the acts I liked had very charismatic singers, so it implanted a “frontman” mindset in me that is now probably embedded in my DNA.

4. Who would be your main five musical influences?

I’ve been around long enough at this point that my influences have evolved over time–and continue to.  When I was a teen, I loved the early U2 albums, The Cult, The Stones, and punk and its derivatives–ranging from the Sex Pistols to the Stranglers and New York Dolls. The Police were a stellar band that I was really drawn to, as were The Who. Nowadays, I’m more interested in blending genres while staying true to LCV sensibilities… you’ll have to circle back in a few years to see what that turns into musically.

5. If you could call in any one collaborator to do a song with, who would it be, and why?

It would be great to work with producer Steve Lillywhite.  He’s been a part of so many amazing records over the years, and I’d love to see what he can do with LCV’s music.  He’s now living in Indonesia, so I’m not expecting an invite to head to Jakarta to make some magic, but one can always hold out hope.

6. How would you describe your music to someone who’d never listened to you before? What is the one comparison a reviewer or fan has made that made you cringe or you disagreed with?

Melodic, song-driven rock with dark sonic undertones.  I’m tempted to make comparisons to specific artists, but that’s just asking for trouble… our music has ended up on some unusual, algorithm-driven playlists on various DSP’s that paired with artists that don’t sound even remotely like LCV.  I’ve definitely scratched my head over a few of those.  But machine learning is iterative, so I still have hope for the future.

7. When was the last time you were starstruck and who was it?

It’s been a while, and I’m old enough to have learned that everyone’s shit smells–so the allure of celebrity has largely faded.  Still, I have no doubt that there will be a point in the future that I end up getting thrown off guard by some Hollywood legend or music icon.  If I ever end up attending the Oscars, that’ll be the true test of my supposed resilience.

8. What is the best part of being a musician? If you could no longer be a musician for whatever reason, what would be your dream job?

It’s rewarding on so many levels.  The creative aspect of songs coming to you out of thin air that then evolve into something that you can share with the world is special.  And I love being able to play live to audiences around the world–you make new friends anytime you arrive in a new town to do a gig, and there is an openness that total strangers have with you as a musician that’s hard to match in other settings.  It’s really about creating and then sharing, and music does that in splendid fashion.  Anything creative and purpose-driven that brings joy to people without having to contort yourself into convulsions to make it happen.

9. What is one question you have always wanted an interviewer to ask – and what is the answer? Conversely, what question are you tired of answering?

I’ve learned a long time ago that soliciting questions is a guaranteed recipe for getting into trouble, so I’ll kindly defer on that one 🙂  I’m tempted to say ‘what are your influences’, but the truth is that the answer changes depending on my mood that day, so that’s the universe’s way of keeping the exchange fresh.

10. Looking back over your career, is there a single moment or situation you feel was a misstep or you would like to have a “do over,” even if it didn’t change your current situation?

There are several, including missteps with labels and collaborative opportunities.  I also think that we waited too long to release this album… a lot of years went by since the last full release, and we lost momentum as a band.  Life is usually not zero sum, and a lot of positive things also happened as a result of using what would have been touring time for other purposes, but still–8 years is a long time, and gray hairs appear before you know it.

11. If you could magically go back in time and be a part of the recording sessions for any one record in history, which would you choose – and what does that record mean to you?

Being a fly on the wall at a Little Richard, Wilson Pickett or Elvis Presley session.  In those days, you didn’t have multi-track recording, digital editing or auto tune–the singers had to show up and deliver, and boy did they!  I’m still blown away by the fact that many of those performances are a single vocal take.  I’d likely walk out of those sessions eating a large portion of humble pie, but give credit where credit is due.





Category: Interviews

About the Author ()

ToddStar - that's me... just a rocking accountant who had dreams of being a rock star. I get to do the next best thing to rocking the globe - I get to take pictures of the lucky ones that do. I love to shoot all genres of music and different types of performers. If it is related to music, I love to photograph it. I get to shoot and hang with not only some of my friends and idols, but some of the coolest people around today.

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