"Genres come and go and serve a purpose at the time, but the best music still stands the test of time."
Last month Lovebreakers released their long-awaited debut album 'Primary Colours' via Wiretap Records.
Serving as their first big statement piece since their debut EP in 2017, the band went through more in the process of crafting it than most do in their whole careers. Though the result of the ups and downs is a record that will sound and feel just as joyous, bold and infectious in ten years as it does today. Combining British attitude with West Coast atmosphere, the band have put together a collection of songs readymade for long drives in the July sun as much as long hazy nights with the ones you love.
To dissect the process of how we have got here, we jumped on the phone with vocalist Jack Perry and bassist Christian O'Reilly and found out how they set about making something truly timeless...
So, where did ‘Primary Colours’ start its life?
Christian: “When Jack was still living at home with his parents, we used to go over to do writing sessions and hang out. Jack had this song in his back pocket that turned out to be ‘Eye Roller’ in the end. He played the guitar part and started singing. Then Chino came up with this riff quickly to go over the top of it. It was at that moment that everything started. It was the first song that we worked on after the EP, and it felt like a natural step up immediately. If we could maintain that level of songwriting, we should do a whole album.
“It’s hard when you don’t have a drummer there, though, as you only have a vision in your head of how you think it should sound. But I can remember driving up to the lock-up where we practice after finishing work and hearing Jack, Chino and our old drummer Marcus playing this song, and it was the first time I had heard it with drums. I was absolutely floored by it and where we put the groundwork for the rest of the album in place.”
Jack: “It was the real catalyst for us thinking, ‘This could be the sound of our band’. That combination of British grit with that almost Americana feel to it. Our first EP, ‘Social Hell’ was an experiment where we tried to get to know each other and try to make something together. Then when ‘Eye Roller’ came about, it felt like we could do it. It was the birth of Chino as a part of the band and his stamp on our sound. From there, we knew we had to follow this same strategy to create even more.”
What was the intention of Lovebreakers when you first started jamming together, and how do you feel as though that has changed over time?
Christian: “It sounds cheesy, but it was all about playing music for fun. I’ve always set this goal in my head to never be in a band that is just imitating another band. If I’m ever going to be in a band, I want it to be something that you can still listen to in 20 years when you’re older and not feel embarrassed about. It has to be timeless and authentic. We want to have our own sound, and that came really naturally with Lovebreakers. Ultimately, I wanted to create something with my best mates that wasn’t just a throwaway or a flash in the pan fad. Genres come and go and serve a purpose at the time, but the best music still stands the test of time. I honestly feel like our music can do that.”
Timelessness comes via soul and humanity and channelling the parts of life that have always been relatable. It’s not something that needs figuring out. It’s always natural…
Jack: "From a songwriting perspective, I always try not to overcomplicate things just for the sake of it. I always picture it as a house party in my head. If there’s a drum kit and a guitar sat in the corner, you should be able to get up and play your songs for everybody to enjoy no matter what. I like watching my favourite bands and artists in the same way and feel like I could just get up there and start playing with them. When you’re writing, it can be really hard, and you have to control yourself and try your best not to push too hard. We’ve always felt that simple is best as the core of every one of our songs."
So when you started piecing together the songs that would eventually make up ‘Primary Colours’, what was the common link that held them all together?
Christian: “This is more Jack’s side of things, but it feels like there has been a real running theme of hope and positivity in the songs. In all of the songs that Jack was writing when we were all coming together and throwing our ideas in, there wasn’t much too dark or depressing. We were all playing, and it was putting us all in really good spirits. I think that’s the real common theme."
Jack: “Yeah, I was always writing with that element of looking forwards all the time and wanting to do more and wanting to be better, whether in yourself or your job or whatever. I’ve left these songs open for people’s interpretations of how they can relate them to their own lives.
“In terms of the actual music, we had possibly 20 to 30 songs that we had to pick and choose from. Some were great songs, but they were a little bit too dark. I wanted everything to be brighter. We had booked to go out to LA to record, and I was thinking about the sunshine and the palm trees and how if we’re there, then the record has to feel like that too.”
The world needs records that remind us that blue skies and better times exist, especially at times when it would be all too easy to focus on the negatives and the doom and gloom…
Jack: "Within the band, we have such a big circle of friends that we can take influence from in terms of that too. I have a couple of friends who moved over to Australia because they were sick of being here, and now they live the best lives ever. I look at that and think, ‘Fair enough’ because they had the drive to go and do it and make a better life for themselves."
If you’re able to capture that feeling of escape, then that stems back to the timelessness of what you’re trying to create. People have always dreamt of those things, and they always will…
Christian: "All of my favourite music I use as a form of escapism. It’s about taking me away from all of the bullshit, but it’s also there to inspire me as well. When it came to this record, I feel like the people who will listen to this album will be able to pull that feeling away from it and how we were feeling."
How much did the LA environment rub off on you as a place to create a record that feels like this?
Jack: “It was crucial. We would be waking up every morning and walking along the beachfront to get breakfast. There was a bar opposite that little café we would go to where we would head most nights after being in the studio. Being in that sort of place and routine, when we got inside the studio, those things made us feel like we could try things we wouldn’t normally. Being around that felt encouraging every day. It all felt so great, and it helped so much. You would come out after a 12-hour day and feel so buzzing because of where you were.”
Christian: “It was probably the best time of my life. When all of these things surround you, what’s not to like? And when you go into the studio, you’re ready to give the best performance you can. There was something really special about it and about that place.”
It’s the sort of thing where you probably don’t realise just how much of an effect it has had on the product, either. You arrive home to normality, and you listen back to your creation, and you’re immediately transported back to a certain mindset and way of living…
Jack: “For people to know that that is how we made it feels imperative because of that. The record sounds like an LA record, and there is a reason for that.”
So what does ‘Primary Colours’ as a pair of words to sum up this whole vibe and feeling mean to you two?
Christian: "I’ve always been into the East Bay punk scene and what surrounds it, and I’ve always had that vision of the blue skies and green palm trees in with that. And it’s the fact that all I need are those primary colours. That’s as simple as it gets. Those colours, to me, represent a good and easy life, and that’s all I need to be happy."
Jack: "It’s that craving to not want to go to work and to be able to chill and take in all of the colours that the world has around you. It’s also that sense of wanting to go and live in those better places where those colours are. I think that ‘Primary Colours’ as a song as well really sums up what we have not to want for."
Does it feel like having to hold on to this record throughout such a strange and uncertain period has intensified that feeling for you?
Jack: “Yeah, definitely. It’s been a bit frustrating not being able to release the record, but it feels so much more poignant with everything that has gone on. I feel that people are looking for the positivity that we exhibit on this record, and they want to feel it. It’s grown into this thing that we can all share, look at, listen to and feel better about everything with.”
What are the things you will take away from this experience and use as you look forward to the next step?
Christian: "Right now, it’s all about not fixing something if it’s not broken. We’re going to stick to what we are good at. We’re working on new music now, and Chino and Jack played a new song with our new drummer Nathan and they all floored me all over again. We gave each other the ‘This is special’ look and I’m so fucking excited to be able to share them. There needs to be a band that brings guitar music back that isn’t just punk, indie, or metal. There needs to be someone that is just timeless in what they make, and I believe in this band in that regard."
Jack: "We’ve all bought into the timeless ethos of the band. There’s being successful, but there’s also the fact that you need to enjoy what you’re playing. So that’s what we’re going to continue doing and keep on trying to take it to the next level."