Indie Lo-Fi Band Loving Talks Debut Album and Unconventional Creativity

The band sat down with Popdust to talk about their unconventional recording process

Listening to the work of the Canadian trio Loving is as relaxing as a warm bath.

Their–what the band calls "accidental"– debut EP was an under-appreciated indie gem in 2016. Recorded entirely on an 8-track tape deck, its chalky lo-fi production and minimalist songwriting was infectiously soothing. "Angry weather in my head, you know the gentle hunter is fed," Jessie Henderson croons on "The Not Real Lake," encapsulating the inner workings of a frustrated starving artist. It's all rather autobiographical and relatively coarse for a reason. The band admits their EP was born from a quandary. "I think there is something special about not really knowing what you're doing but keeping at it until you're happy," said Jessie's brother David Henderson. The trio's debut album, If I Am Only My Thoughts, which comes out today, was created with a little more focus, though not much. "The creative process was quite slow and broken up," Jessie said. "We definitely got a little lost re-recording things for a while." Even so, the result is a haunting debut that's as atmospheric as their previous effort, but with a little more refinement. The band sat down with Popdust to talk more about their recording process and what it's like to finally put out a debut album.

Did you approach the recording process for your debut differently than your previous work?

J: "The EP came together pretty much by accident, and we hadn't really set out to create an album, so there wasn't much of a method. This album was more collaborative and plodding. We knew we wanted to make an LP, and we were much more engaged with exploring."

What was the creative process like for the album. Is it more focused thematically?

J: "It began with an escapist recording stint on a small gulf island here in BC, but really the bulk of the album was pieced together over the course of a year and a half in David's home studio. We would have periods of devotion and focus but they were broken up fairly regularly by other engagements. I wouldn't say there is a theme or conceptual focus, but the songs document a particular period of time."

Did you guys feel any pressure this time around since this is your debut project?

J: "I don't think we really felt any pressure, or if we did it certainly didn't have productive results. Of course, all of the general pressures that anyone feels when they set out to make something were in attendance, like is this good enough? Why am I even making this?"

What inspired you guys to create the sound you've curated over the years?

D: "We've been working with what we have. Recording on an 8-track tape deck and that was frustrating at times, but I'm personally a fan of the 'not-so polished' sound and love recording. It's just stemming from a DIY approach."

Because your music is so atmospheric, is it sometimes hard to convey your vibe to a live audience during a show? I imagine an audience like the one at SXSW might be looking for a certain type of energy. How do you manage that?

J: "That's something we are still trying to figure out. We are still quite a young band when it comes to performance, so there's hope! I think good pairing is fairly important for our live show, otherwise I fear we can come off as kind of sleepy and boring, but I hope that's not just a self-deprecating projection. I don't think we really live up to that kind of expectation with rowdy crowds, but there [are] a few sections in some of our newer songs that we play a bit heavier when we've all had enough wine."

Tell me more about the songs on the album.

D: "'Visions' was the first song that Jesse showed me after we had been apart for a while. I was so eager to get into the studio and record it, it felt like something really special right away. We made a demo incredibly fast that I was really into but accidentally recorded over some crucial parts. I think the end result was even better so it was for the best! 'January' was another favorite. The recording came from just hanging out making music for an afternoon and I love that way it sounds."

What was the most challenging to record?

D: "'Nihilist Kite Flyer.' We made 3 or 4 different versions that were all pretty similar, but the vibe wasn't quite right on the first few. Getting it right seemed within reach from the beginning though, so we kept at it and I'm glad!"

What's next? What do you hope to achieve in the new year?

J: "We are hitting the road in late April for a short US tour and we hope to be recording new stuff this summer - ideally the next LP is out sometime next year. I think we have humble goals for the year. It would be nice to go to Spain."

Check out If I Am Only My Thoughts below:

If I Am Only My Thoughts


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Film Lists

8 Civil Rights Movies to Watch on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

Celebrate the bravery of these civil rights leaders.

Martin Luther King Jr. day is about more than just getting the day off work.

It's about remembering and honoring the struggles of the brave men and women who fought—and are still fighting—to dismantle centuries of systemic racism and oppression. Chief among these inspiring individuals is Martin Luther King, Jr., a Christian minister who led a nonviolent movement in the 1960s that advocated for the fair and equal treatment of black Americans.

Here are 8 of the best movies to watch today to commemorate this important holiday.

Selma (2014)

Directed by Ava DuVernay, this stirring drama tells the story of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s struggle to secure voting rights for black people in the three-month period leading up to the historic march from Selma to Montgomery. Dr. King is powerfully portrayed by David Oyelowo.

A Raisin In the Sun (1961)

Adapted from Lorraine Hansberry's revolutionary play of the same name, Raisin in the Sun was one of the first movies to confront systemic racism head on.

All the Way (2016)

This 2016 TV movie follows the true events of Lyndon B. Johnson's presidency as the civil rights movement unfolds. LBJ is played by Bryan Cranston, and Anthony Mackie gives a stunning performance as MLK.

King: A Filmed Record… Montgomery to Memphis (1970)

This documentary is one of the purest, unrevised windows into the reality of MLK as a person available. It uses only original newsreel and other footage, features no voiceover, and covers the period from the Montgomery bus boycott of 1955 and 1956 through MLK's assassination in 1968.

4 Little Girls (1997)

This harrowing film was directed by Spike Lee and nominated for best documentary film at the Academy Awards in 1997. It tells the story of the 15 September 1963 case of four black girls (Addie May Collins, Carol Denise McNair, Cynthia Wesley, Carole Rosamond Robertson) in the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing in Birmingham, Alabama.

The Rosa Parks Story (2002)

The Rosa Parks Story is a stirring biopic about the accidental civil rights leader's life leading up to the moment in which she refused to give up her seat on the bus. Angela Bassett portrays Rosa Parks, and Cicely Tyson plays her mother.

The Butler (2013)

This movie is inspired by Wil Haygood's Washington Post article "A Butler Well Served by This Election," that tells the story of the real life of Eugene Allen, who worked in the White House as a butler through many presidential administrations. The film stars Forest Whitaker, Oprah Winfrey, John Cusack, Jane Fonda, Alex Pettyfer, Cuba Gooding Jr., Terrence Howard, Lenny Kravitz, James Marsden, David Oyelowo, Vanessa Redgrave, Alan Rickman, Liev Schreiber, Robin Williams, Minka Kelly, Mariah Carey, and Clarence Williams III.

Loving (2016)

Loving tells the story of Richard and Mildred Loving, the plaintiffs in the 1967 U.S. Supreme Court decision Loving v. Virginia, which repealed state laws prohibiting interracial marriage. Ruth Negga and Joel Edgerton co-star as the famous couple.