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Q & A with The Love Machine
Interview by Ren Tomovcik ; all photos by Jamie Cronick
Ottawa indie rockers The Love Machine have been playing music together in Ottawa for over five years, building up their local fan base with two solid EPs and several years of impressive live performances. Currently recording their full-length debut, the band is looking forward to bigger and better things.
The Love Machine chats with Ottawafocus about making music, making connections and making an impression on Ottawa's independent music circuit.
_______________________Your members were in other local bands before you formed The Love Machine. How did you all meet and begin to collaborate?
We met through a Battle of the Bands five years ago and really loved each others' music. Our meeting led to the downfall of our other two bands, and the formation of this much greater new one!
How has your sound changed in the five years you've been working together? Are you moving in new directions musically?Our sound has definitely developed and matured. When we first started out, all the songs were great but they were much more synth-driven and poppy. Now, our songs still have synth and they still have poppiness to them, but we've broadened so much. Our new CD is the perfect example. It has a little bit of everything on it. Some funk, pop, and some heavier stuff. We also feel we've progressed as songwriters.
What's your songwriting process like?
We are the definition of a band. We write, arrange and create songs as a group. Some parts are a solo effort but mostly its a full group effort and we definitely inspire one another with our ideas. Our songwriting styles are a little different, but they all mesh really well. Sometimes we'll butt heads because of a difference of opinion, but most the time things run very smoothly!
You recently began recording your third studio release. How do you find working in the studio as compared to live shows? Do you like the recording process, or do you prefer the energy of a live show with an audience? They are both beautiful things. The big difference, though, is that it's hard to get tired of playing shows, while you can definitely get tired of the studio. In the studio you get so cooped up. Sometimes it can be way too repetitive, but a live show is always something new and fun. We pride ourselves on keeping our live shows original and making each one different from the ones before. Being on stage for us is a production. We love to put on a great show visually as well as audibly, and we always come up with fun audience interactions.
Tell us a little about your first two records. We made our first EP, The Love Machine, about four and a half years ago with Jason Dahl out of the former Distortion studio. It had 4 tracks plus an intro track, and was mostly a pop album.
The second EP, If You're A Bird, I'm A Bird, was recorded in '07. We worked with Jason Dahl again at the same studio, which had been renamed the Little Chicago Studio. It was definitely a transition CD for us. We were trying to figure out how to write songs together and decide what we really wanted to be as a band. It is a 6-song (with a secret 7th song) album. The second CD is more experimental than the first one, and a little more rock-influenced. We ventured into darker areas with our lyrics and music but had a lot of fun with it.
When do you plan to release your new album?We plan on releasing it whenever it's ready! We are looking at getting label support for this next release, because it's our first full-length disc and want to do it right. We are in the studio again in October and probably again in November or December to finish off the new album, which will be 12 or 13 songs of music that will take over the world!
What's on the calendar for you tour-wise? In November we are doing an Ontario swing. It will be 10 days long, stretching from Ottawa to Windsor and everywhere in between.
What can Ottawa do to help support independent music? Do you think Ottawa is supportive enough toward the arts?Ottawa needs to get more of a sense of community. There are so many great bands in this city and what needs to happen is unity between all of them. There is enough talent here to create something huge! With Montreal and Toronto so close, a lot of people overlook Ottawa, but we really do have something great. If all of Ottawa's great bands continue show-sharing and mingling, the scene will just get stronger and stronger.
Ottawa is a family town, but unfortunately very "government" and not as arts-focused. Ottawa needs to get a good 700-1000 capacity venue if we want to be able to step up a notch and attract bigger and better up-and-coming bands.
Is there a local band who has been particularly influential or helpful to you?In the last year Amos the Transparent has really become our sibling band. Jon Chandler, the main singer-songwriter for Amos, is producing our new Album.
Do you think it's possible for bands to become successful and build up a following while keeping their home base in Ottawa?We really do, but at the same time, to be more successful out of town you have to play more out of town. Having a solid home base is crucial.
What are some of your favourite places in Ottawa?All of the downtown core is great, especially around Parliament and the Canal. It has so much history and beautiful architecture. Anybody would feel inspired there!
Who are some other musical artists or other creative people that inspire you?All Canadian music right now is so great. We really take inspiration from all of them. Locally there are so many beautiful people making great music as well. The ones that we love to support are Brights, Old Crowns, Amos The Transparent, Paramedics, The Property Line, Benefit of a Doubt, The Acorn, The Hilotrons, Kathleen Edwards...
What was the moment when you thought that you were really 'making it' on the capital's music scene?Well we've always believed in ourselves, but when we played Bluesfest three years ago opening for Metric we felt pretty important. We've played some great shows and can't wait to play more even greater shows!
What advice would you give to an independent band just getting started?Believe in what you're doing. Work hard, perfect your live show and get a good quality recording... then just play, play, play!
The Love Machine will perform at Mavericks on September 30th along with We Were Lovers and The Property Line.
The Love Machine Online
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