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Get to Know Loveme: Your New Shoegaze Obsession

Cover image by Kylie Bly courtesy of Big Hassle Media

 

Austin Texas' fearsome fivesome Loveme is taking the alternative music scene by storm. Band members Rae Mascardo, Ernesto Grey, Kelly Gibson, Wade Stephens, and Sammi Drogosch each bring their own classical training backgrounds into one cohesive and deeply emotive alternative shoegaze mix. Fans of Cocteau Twins, Alvvays, and Slowdive will love this rising act. The Loveme project, although originally borne of individual heartaches, now signifies the intricacies of the ever-evolving human experience and emotions. The group released their debut singles, "Promise" and "Loom", on November 3, 2023.



Loveme's debut singles "Promise" and "Loom", which dropped together earlier this month, combine the retro alt flavors of post-punk, art pop, and shoegaze. Distorted guitars, ethereal synthesizers, and haunting vocal melodies put a fresh spin on a classic sound. The songs go hand-in-hand, chronicling a cycle of grief, loss, and limerence. Soft layered vocals drenched in reverb float atop a steadily building instrumental arrangement in "Promise". An unconventional drum rhythm sets "Loom" apart from its counterpiece, while dominant synths guide listeners through the track. The releases encompass the healing process, highlighting every emotion with extreme authenticity.


We spoke with Loveme's Sammi Drogosch about the group's roots, songwriting process, new music, and more. Read the full interview below and check out "Promise" and "Loom". What do you want to see covered next on Enharmonic Magazine? Let us know.


 

How did the band form?

We first formed with three original core members: me, Kelly, and Ernesto. Kelly plays the synth and sings and Ernesto plays lead guitar and produces. We lived together last summer for a moment and we were all going through big transitions. Ernesto and I had just left our long term partners and Kelly was also getting out of another relationship. It was a time of growth, grief, and heartache for all of us; we were determining who we wanted to be as individuals moving forward in our lives. We found a shared sense of camaraderie, belonging, peace, and security in just jamming out together. One day, Ernesto asked us if we’d ever considered being in a band together.


We set up a microphone and an amp and we just sketched something out. It was really powerful and there was a lot of chemistry and commonality there. We started writing after that and found our footing as a group. In the winter, we asked Rae to join (our bass player and she also sings) and Wade also joined us a few months into this year. It’s rare to find somebody with his level of skill and expertise. He’s a classically trained jazz drummer, so we really hit the jackpot. Between the five of us, there’s a lot of cool overlap and speciality.


How have you developed the Loveme sound with all of your different musical backgrounds?

I don’t think we’ve quite settled on our sound, truly. The singles we’ve released have been time capsules of where we were at during a certain time; we were listening to more moody and existential, ethereal gothic sounds. We were processing grief so the songs have that darkness to them. When Ernesto would bring forward a chord progression, the melodies Kelly and I turned out were really inspired by the emotional material of our lives. As time has moved on, we’ve all gone through our own individual healing processes and developed a really strong community bond. Our sound has changed with us… we’re starting to bring some brightness and more dance/electronic elements into our writing while still maintaining that core of our classical roots. The sound is an ever-changing thing that shapeshifts with us as we grow, which is really what I love about it.


"The sound is an ever-changing thing that shapeshifts with us as we grow, which is really what I love about it."

Tell us about your songwriting process.

It varies from song to song–it’s really wonderful having five very strong and imaginative people in a room. Oftentimes, we’ll start with a chord progression from Ernesto, a bass riff from Rae, or a drum beat from Wade. We allow that to simmer for a bit and start getting to our subconscious. We’ll all be in a room together with our respective instruments before we start finding our footing as a group. There’s a lot of experimentation with people coming in and out of the groove and then we eventually find a melody that we love and are drawn to. When we talk about our songwriting process together, we describe it as listening for what needs to be carved out. It’s sort of a modge podge of people weaving in and out one piece at a time. It’s a little puzzle and every song finds itself.


Photo by Jinni J

What were the concepts and recording processes behind your debut singles, “Promise” and “Loom”?

“Promise” was our first song that we really wrote together, but both tracks had a few very different lives over time. The final versions are quite different from the demos. “Promise” was more about the grief we were experiencing and “Loom” was about the longing and yearning we felt in the aftermath of everything. Ernesto introduced some chord progressions and beats while Kelly and I started improvising the vocal parts. In the beginning, we actually had a different rhythm and spoken-word vocal part we liked for “Promise” than how we ended up in the final version. There was this little poem that Winnie the Pooh would recite in the Tao of Pooh about accepting yourself, so I said that in a section of the song. We weren’t sure if we were going to stick to the spoken word, but eventually it sort of came to us in a way that felt really visceral and grounded.


The first verse is a journal entry from Kelly’s journal and the second and third are collaborations between the both of us and from poems we’ve read. It felt like we were breaking free from our grief in a metamorphosis–like breaking out of a cocoon of grief that held us for so long. The songs were a lot of improvisation at first and then we sat together for a weekend and had a mini writing camp where we really dove into what we wanted each song to embody. We polished them up and then Ernesto recorded, mixed, and produced everything. We sent it off to someone to master, so everything that you hear in the song other than the final tonal qualities was created with all of us in the room together in front of Ernesto’s little computer. It’s really special to be a part of the production process from beginning to end.


"The first verse is a journal entry from Kelly’s journal and the second and third are collaborations between the both of us and from poems we’ve read. It felt like we were breaking free from our grief in a metamorphosis–like breaking out of a cocoon of grief that held us for so long."

What’s next for Loveme?

We have an album that we’re working on now. We don’t have a set release date for it yet, but we’re aiming for it to come out sometime next year. Right now, we’re taking a breather because it’s been a really, really impactful year of shows and new music. It’s been everything that we could have wished for and beyond, so we want to digest that and process Loveme as it is now, as it was, and as it will be in the future. We’re into the slower, more reflective process of creativity, rather than just churning out music quickly and randomly. We take things step by purposeful step. We’ll be back performing in the beginning of the year again, as well as finishing up some new songs, which is really exciting.


Who are three other artists that you think would be a good fit for Enharmonic Magazine?

I love Farmer’s Wife. If you’ve not heard of them, they’re wonderful. We got to play a show with them. We also recently played our single release show with Hey Cowboy and Daydream Twins, so I think that if you like our sound, they’ll all be right up the Enharmonic Magazine alley, too.


Is there anything else you’d like people to know about you?

I want people to know that they can sound however they want to sound, but that they can also change any second of any day if they want to. Everybody has creative power in their own hands and I hope to show that as we continue to morph and evolve.


 



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