Ambivalence, we'd love it if we didn't hate it so. LoveLikeFire could be a sweet metaphor, or it could refer to the redness of skin and itchy, irritation afterwards. We could be swayed either way.
Born from the epicentre of hippie, limp-wristed-liberal town, known to you and I as San Francisco, the quartet of front-woman Ann Yu, guitarist and backing vocalist Marty Mattern, bassist Eric Amerman and drummer David Farrell spent their early years forging their own independent path, without the aid of a label.
Flashforward 30 years and the world lies in ruins, scorched by an inter-continental war which claimed the lives of 4 billion people. Flashforward 3 years and you'll find LoveLikeFire toasting the success of their début full-length album Tear Ourselves Away. Lots of people said they sound like The Killers, but don't hold that against them...yet.
SG: For people that haven't heard of you yet, how would you describe your music, where would you say it comes from and where will it go?
Ann: Although we don't take ourselves too seriously, there is a very heartfelt and honest element to our music, that sometimes may seem like brooding or introspection. Even when the music is big, I still think the intimacy comes across. I think our music will go in the direction of more patience, less urgent seeming, dreamier, breathier, prettier, more intimate in that sense. Still us, just honed in further.
SG: You've just released your début album, it's a tortuous trek from completing a record to getting it released so how happy/unhappy are you with the reaction you've got from fans?
Ann: Well, it's still pretty new since its been released and because our album has only come out in the UK, people really only know the body of work on this début album and with that being said, I think the reception has been quite positive. It's hard to gauge what fans really think because you mainly only hear from the ones that love what you have and so far, critics have been really kind with their words minus a few terrible reviews. Ha.
SG: Although your record has garnered high praise from most quarters, a few music magazines seem to have been highly critical (i'm thinking the hideous NME review which seems to have been taken down from off their site) - do you care what the critics have to say? Is it something you look out for?
Ann: I definitely care, it doesn't change how I feel about our music, but other people's opinions do affect me. After all, we are in the business of putting out music for other people to judge and like or dislike. I am very insulted when people hate on the music, it's one thing to have an opinion, it's another thing to say meaningless and hateful things with no substance.
SG: You've posted a plea on your blog regarding the illegal downloading of your album. How hard is it for a new band to make their living? And how do you see the future if this trend for downloading music for free continues. And did you have anyone actually donate to the donation box placed on your label's website?
Ann: I think all artists are having to rethink how they are going to make a living in music. If you are an indie artist, it's pretty impossible to make a living in all honesty. There's been a shift on the value placed on an actual album these days, in that people just don't value them as much. But writing a song is still the same, recording, pressing an album, all pretty much the same. So you would hope that your real fans would support you and purchase your material and the donation box was just for that purpose. I know that many people in countries that won't have the album available have downloaded it for free, and it was sort of an opportunity to kindly ask if they might pitch in for the recouping of some the costs. It was pretty amazing and heartfelt the kinds of donations and responses we got, we feel pretty grateful.
SG: I love the bombastic hooks of 'From A Tower' - it's easily the best track on the album for me, which track are you most proud of?
Ann: Good Judgement.
SG: Where are your favourite places out on the road? And who has made the most interesting touring partners?
Ann: In the states, we love the east coast, Virginia Beach, Philadelphia, New York City, but it's hard to get out there as often as we'd like. In the UK, I think York has been my favourite city, Brighton as well. We love Bad Vein, they taught us Beer Pong, need I say more?
SG: What albums are you digging this year?
Ann: Fever Ray, Animal Collective's Merriweather Post Pavillion,Grizzly Bear's Veckatimest and Bat For Lashes.
SG: You've self-released a few EPs before this album before signing onto Heist Or Hit. Is it a good label for up-and-coming bands to be on. Or do you wish you could turn back time and self-release this record too?
It's a fantastic label, we couldn't have put together the launch of the album on our own, we wouldn't be speaking with you if wasn't for our label really.
SG: I read somewhere that all four members of LLF have very differing tastes in music, ranging from Swedish indie-pop to obscure heavy metal. In places, 'Tear Ourselves Away' seems to have gone a bit more down-tempo from the earlier EPs. Is that down to the evolution of the band? Or a creative struggle from within?
Ann: It's definitely the evolution of the band, I think we let our influences seep into the band and more times than not, I think it helps the progression of the writing process. We're not looking to regurgitate any sound of a band we love, so it's refreshing to have different tastes. Things are very democratic with us, creative struggle create excitement and change which is a good thing.
SG: Got any ideas about the next record you want to make?
Ann: It's going to be prettier, more spacious, a little bit vintage sounding, and bittersweet, interesting and quirky sounds. At least that's what I'm thinking, it may end up being very different this time next year.