The Love Language :: The AD Interview

The Love Language is, in a lot of ways, a band that seemed to emerge from nowhere. Having caught them opening for Megafaun and the Rosebuds in Chapel Hill in the spring of 2009, the next thing I knew they had an excellent debut album out and were signing to Merge Records with a sophomore album in the works. Their first album for Merge, Libraries, is a rich and layered expansion of the fantastic song writing that appeared in a much more lo-fi fashion on their first record. AD spoke with the Love Language's main songwriter and singer, Stu McLamb, about their busy past year, the reorganization of the band's line-up, recording the new album and French inquiries about NASCAR.

Aquarium Drunkard: It feels like it's been a really busy year for y'all, going back even to the first album that came out last year and coming up through getting signed to Merge and releasing the new album.

Stu McLamb: Yeah, it's been pretty non-stop. I think since January, when I re-focused and sort of knew where I was heading now, it's been even busier but in a more productive way. But the last year - the first album started out with me and then the album came together. It was a seven piece band and that was a lot of schedules to coordinate - and that's not to discredit any of the hard work. Everyone busted their ass. It was just hard to set up a rehearsal, you know, with seven people. We toured really hard. We did three or four pretty extensive tours on that album with the old band - the first line-up. We really got news we were signing to Merge last summer - I had a second record on my mind the whole time. I was slowly writing songs and demoing them.

When it came time to record, I think we had such a great charisma live, but I had a hard time figuring out how to harness that into a record. I was at a cross-roads over whether I should let go of the reins and just let it be - let the band get in there and play live and record - but I've always worked more like a puzzle - all the parts fit in a place in my head. When I do the demos, I'm very particular about how I want everything to sound. I write it all out. They're more like compositions than me writing a chord progression and lyrics. It's a very orchestrated kind of thing. I found myself over everybody's shoulder during the sessions and we weren't getting exactly what I wanted. I talked to Josh [Pope] who was kind of my wingman in the band in a lot of ways, and he was recording some of the sessions and we ultimately both came to an agreement that it wasn't really working. At the same time, he had mentioned to me that he wanted to pursue his own musical project [The Light Pines]; the origins of that band go back to the origin of the Love Language and he kind of put that stuff on hold when things with the Love Language took off. I really can't thank him and the whole band enough for all the sacrifice. But the decision we made was for me to go do this record on my own which freed me up to do the album like I wanted and Josh and Kate [Thompson] and Tom [Simpson] to go do the Light Pines. They've been getting a lot of good reception locally and I'm sure they'll interest some labels. It's been a happy split, you know.

That was around January when we decided to split ways, and then I moved to Raleigh and started to record the album with a good friend, B.J. Burton. Me and B.J., during this whole period, had been talking about how I wanted to make a record with him in the studio, but I'd been trying to figure things out about how to use the band and I was going through a period of figuring it all out, you know. So, for the record being made in a month and a half, there was a period of three months of me just trying to figure shit out.

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