you resource for all things shoegaze & dream pop.

30 November 2010

Interview: Fleeting Joys.

The Fleeting Joys are Rorika Loring (vocals, sturdy basses and electronics) & John Loring (vintage surf guitars & vocals), shoegazing their hearts out in Sacramento, CA since 2006. 2006 saw the release of their debut LP, Despondent Transponder, which was immediately highly praised, and with good reason - the album was a gazer's dream come true. Incredibly gorgeous and heavily influenced by My Bloody Valentine, but still retaining a sound that was all Fleeting Joys, as well. (I remember hearing it in 2006 and being blown the time I tried to buy it, it was already out of print! Naturally, the high demand allowed for a reprint, which I obtained in about .5 seconds). Their sound is a blissed out swath of feedback drenched soundscapes, subdued and dreamy vocals, and complex layers of ambiance that I can only call absolute sonic perfection. 2009 saw the release of their second LP, Occult Radiance, which was just as masterful and stunning as their first, but on this one the Fleeting Joys really streamlined their own unique sound; the inevitable MBV comparisons that came with their first LP quieted down on Occult Radiance. Rorika and John also run Only Forever Recordings, from which they release their own records, and the website is a great resource for following the band. When The Sun Hits is incredibly thrilled to interview Fleeting Joys, having loved their music for so long and so much. The added bonus was getting to learn how lovely and kind they are in real life. Enjoy the interview!

1. What's the story behind the name "Fleeting Joys"?

One of our favorite movies is called Nadja. It was completely filmed on a toy camera in the 80's and has this weird, eerie quality about it. Nadja is a vampire in New York City and she talks about how she could never get close to anyone or place for very long and "the pain of her fleeting joys". It struck me how that was similar to touring around and discovering wonderful people and places, but having to leave quickly.

2. Can you tell us what you've been working on and what you've got forthcoming in the near future (tour, album releases, etc)?

We're going to release an EP of some new songs next, but before that, 300 white vinyl copies of Despondent Transponder should be out around Christmas time. VoxPop Magazine chose "Lights Underground" for their next sampler, and a wonderful French videographer is finishing up a video for "Go and Come Back". We love her work and are really excited to see what she's conjuring up! Also been working on some possible soundtrack material...and our fuzzy version of a song that we're embarrassed to say we like - but we all know and love it!

Amazing poster art god Jason Austin is doing the artwork for Fleeting Joys merch right now!! It would be great if all these things were finished now, but we'll just have to see which ones happen first!!!

Fleeting Joys. Lovely Crawl.

3. What is the most important piece of gear for your sound? Any particular guitars/pedals/amps that you prefer?

John: Certain types of tube amps. Currently using Vox, Marshall and Traynor. It's surprising how much different types of tubes change the sound of an amp. If I had to choose, I would definitely rather have a great amp and a shitty guitar than the other way around.

4. Do you feel that Fleeting Joys are part of the modern shoegaze/dream pop scene, or any scene?

We certainly hope so!

5. Can you tell us a little bit about Only Forever Recordings?

We've always had a DIY attitude about things and it just seemed natural to put out our stuff instead of waiting around for someone else to do it. Both of us had experience with graphics and videos and most of the things labels do. In the future, we'd like to expand into a kind of production house for bands that we really like to record, produce and release projects.

6. What artists, shoegaze or otherwise, have most influenced your work?

John: Cocteau Twins were the first band that gave me that heartbreak feeling...abstract vocals and crazy beautiful guitars. Sonic Youth, MBV, Swervedriver, Velvet Underground, Brian Jonestown Massacre, and too many more to list. Basically, any combination of power, beauty and punk. And recently, was blown away by Chapterhouse's live energy when we played with them in Japan. So many rush to mind…these are the classics that stand the test of time –

The Beatles from Rubber Soul forward, MBV and the Cocteau TwinsPink Opaque for sheer genius. Medicine for beautiful noise. Sonic Youth for who they are. Miranda Sex Garden for enthusiasm!

There’s running argument between us about who deserves more adoration: The Cure (Rorika) or The Smiths (John)! But we agree on Oasis, The Vines and The Posies for best singing along songs. Rorika claims to have started the day with Metallica’s Black Album for a significant period of time...

Meanwhile, somewhere across town, John was rockin' to the Jesus and Mary Chain.

And of course, Nirvana. Everyone can remember what they were doing when they heard that Kurt Cobain had died.

Fleeting Joys. Cloudlike Mercury.

7. What do you think of contemporary shoegaze/dream pop artists, any favorites?

John: As always, there are some great new things happening...been enjoying the Brian Jonestown Massacre's intro to Boardwalk Empire lately...ha!

Rorika: Right now, Grinderman's guitars are blowing me away and we can't wait to see them live next week. Last playlist I had time to make included:
Team Ghost
No Age
The Radio Dept.
VoxPop Mag's sampler
A Place To Bury Strangers' remixes of various artists
Blown A Wish slowed waaaaay down (MBV track)
Pariah's new EP
The Raveonettes
Main's Dry Stone Feed EP

8. Can you tell us a little about what you are currently into (bands, books, films, etc)?

Just finished an Olivier Assayas marathon. He just has great style in everything he puts into his films...especially the music. (Except, perhaps, casting Kim Gordon in a speaking role! who knew - she's so great at everything else she does!!)

For some reason, John watches Communion with Christopher Walken over and over?!

And been exploring some New French Extremity on

9. Which Fleeting Joys track would you choose as the ultimate definition of your sound?

Our songs vary quite a bit, so there's no way to say that. It always surprises us how many different songs people tell us are their "favorite". That said, "Lovely Crawl" is usually the song that we use for sound check.

10. What is your philosophy (on life), if any, that you live by?

Be timeless - not in the past or future. Also, mistakes can be your best friends.

Video: CocteauTwins. Sugar Hiccup.

Video: Rain Parade. I Look Around.

29 November 2010

Video: Fleeting Joys. Into Sun and Dark.

Interview with Fleeting Joys tomorrow on When The Sun Hits. Don't miss it! Other upcoming interviews: Sean Lynch of 800beloved on Dec. 3rd & Jack Rabid (legendary music critic and creator of The Big Takeover magazine) on Dec. 7th.

Interview: Luis Leal of The Winter Lights.

The Winter Lights is the one man dream pop act by Luis Leal. Though Luis has been a lifelong musician, The Winter Lights project began in 2007, and the band's first proper release, the gorgeous Modern Love EP, has just been released (read Amber's review of it here). The EP is an incredible piece of baroque bedroom pop, and produced by the highly lauded Eric Matthews, whom Luis often works closely with. When The Sun Hits is proud to feature this interview with Luis Leal, who we not only consider a very talented musician with a bright future ahead, but also a good friend and charming person. Enjoy!

1. When did you form The Winter Lights?

I started The Winter Lights as an outlet for the songs I started writing in 2007. I felt like the songs deserved more respect than my name, and I thought they had a particular topic that the name made sense with. The name came from an Ingmar Bergman film called Winter Light, which bears similar topics to my songs, I think.

2. Can you tell us what you've been working on and what you've got forthcoming in the near future (new releases, tour, etc)?

Well, now that the Modern Love EP is done, I'm shopping it around for a label. I've been playing some low key local shows, and some college radio, which so far, has been received wonderfully. It's been amazing re-translating all of these songs into something I can perform with a single guitar and a harmonica. I've been writing new songs for another release, and I'm hoping to have that done by the spring of 2011...which I think is going to be exciting. I'm also helping out with Cardinal (Eric Matthews and Richard Davies) reunion record. I've been helping Richard record his parts for the record, and then sending them to Eric for him to put his parts in. It's been amazing being a part of this project; through the ups and downs, these guys are heroes of mine.

3. Do you consider your music to be part of the current dream pop scene, or any scene? The Winter Lights has a very dreamy sound, but do you identify with that genre at all? (When I played a track from the new EP on my shoegaze/dream pop radio show a couple of weeks ago, it truly sounded like it belonged in the mix.)

I love dream pop, I'd like to get that out of the way right now. Whether or not this music bares resemblance to the genre, I don't know. I have always felt like that's more in the eye of the beholder... I don't know. I'm a pretty sleepy guy; I think it could fit into that scene. That was always the nice thing about dream pop - the influences come from all over the place, and every band in the genre is totally different. I think I could be accepted into the fold.

The Winter Lights. The Carousel.

4. What do you think of modern dream pop artists, any favorites?

Well, modern dream pop can be tricky to define. The National? Beach House? Surfer Blood? The Pains of Being Pure at Heart? Deerhunter? Are these bands part of that genre? (When The Sun Hits interrupts to say: yes, we think so!) I'd like to think so; I love those bands. I usually pay a good amount of attention to the Beggars Group releases, which certainly is not the be all end all of the genre, but there are some amazing bands there as well.

5. What is the most important piece of gear for your sound? Any particular guitars/pedals/amps that you prefer?

This is a very very tricky question. I have some pretty great stuff that all is very important to the sound of these recordings, but I'll give it a shot. I think first and foremost my voice has a big influence on the songs. I don't have much of a range; I have low and lower, and that's it. Also, it's weird and warbly and I can't control it.

Secondly, I have this amazing Teisco Del Ray electric tulip guitar... it was a gift from a friend for mixing his record. I high strung that guitar and it's beautiful and bright. The pickups are strange and they look like harmonicas, but they sound amazing. Next, I'd say the Mellotron. I have a bunch of software replicas of the Mellotron (If you can afford one, I don't like you. Wait...I take that back...let's be friends. Can I borrow it?) From Reason, to Gforce to IK Multimedia, I'm a Mellotron software aficionado. Lastly, my Mac. My computer is like my tape machine... none of these songs would exist without it. Otherwise, I'd have to compromise something or other on analog tape that I don't have to in Logic or Pro Tools.

6. Tell us about your working relationship with the highly celebrated musician Eric Matthews?

Eric and I started working on these songs a while ago. I sought him out and started emailing him because I've been a fan since high school. I thought that what he had to offer would greatly improve these songs. We send things back and forth via email and it's always interesting. I consider Eric part of The Winter Lights (whether he likes it or not). Seriously though, the songs got better when I met Eric. I started writing more of what I felt and less of what was "cool", and I think the honesty that comes from the working relationship with him is what makes these songs so captivating.

7. What artists (shoegaze/dream pop or otherwise) have most influenced your work?

Sheesh... okay. I'm going to take a stab at this. Chris Bell, Galaxie 500, the Beatles (duh), Harry Nilsson, Kevin Shields, Ride (the band in total...I can't isolate them individually), and the Kinks. I'm going to stop there, because there are so many more. I consider this a perpetual to be continued.

8. Can you tell us a little about what you are currently into (books, films, art, bands, etc)?

Lately I've been really enjoying Tristan Egolf. I just finished reading The Skirt and the Fiddle, which was a really great short read. Lord of the Barnyard is my favorite, though. I've been listening to The Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger (acoustic sessions) a lot lately. That's Sean Lennon and Kemp Muhl. I love that record, regardless of what anyone says. I think there's some beauty and honesty in that record. I like how the kind of bordering on pretentious words kind of lead to some really honest statements in the songs.

9. How do your write your songs? Do you come up with a melody first and then set lyrics to it, or vice versa (or another way altogether)?

I usually write everything all together. It's kind of a jumble of things in my mind. I never write the same way twice. I guess the only real method I have is to just stop everything I'm doing when the idea hits me. Because it does just hit, over the head. I usually find myself stopping and filtering out stuff as the moment hits...saving stuff for later. It's kind of like writing a book. I can't answer this question.

10. What is the most exciting thing that has happened for the Winter Lights in 2010?

I finished the release. The continuing story of Cardinal. Gathering up the courage to play these songs alone. I think the most exciting thing are the new songs that are coming. I'm the kind of person where I need to finish something before I can move on, so now that the Modern Love EP is finished, I can finally open myself up to write things. I've been communicating with some excellent musicians (I don't want to name any names yet because, as always, things can fall through).

11. What is your philosophy (on life), if any, that you live by?

"We're gonna need a bigger boat".

No, seriously... I just try to be honest and kind. Maybe that means I'll be taken advantage of, but I have this naive idea that if I'm a good person, people will be good to me. If the music is good, people will recognize and appreciate it. That's all I can really do. Try to keep the id, the ego and the superego in check.

All photos in this article (except the one of Eric Matthews) were taken by Luis Leal.

Album Review: The Winter Lights. Modern Love EP.

Artist: The Winter Lights.
Album: Modern Love EP.
Release Date: November 2010.
Record Label: Self released.

The Winter Lights is the one man project of Luis Leal, an incredibly talented musician who's baroque and gorgeous style of bedroom dream pop is immediately lovable. When The Sun Hits also just interviewed Luis, which you can read here. It's time for you to get The Winter Lights on your radar, because this guy is seriously good. Judging by the high quality of The Winter Lights' first proper release, the Modern Love EP (produced by Eric Matthews), When The Sun Hits expects big things from Luis in the future.

The Modern Love EP consists of four dreamy, cohesive tracks that I've easily played on repeat at least 20 times since receiving it 2 weeks ago. It kicks off with the stellar song "This Modern Love", which is hands down my favorite track on the entire EP (which I debuted on my shoegaze/dream pop radio show two weeks ago, where it was very well received). It is an instantly catchy tune, with a simple dreamy intro and Luis crooning: "Life is so complicated/and everyone I know gets lost sometimes..." in a rich, deep voice that I adore. In his interview, he downplayed his vocal abilities, but in my opinion, this guy has a gorgeous dream pop voice. Writing a pop hook is something Luis does exceptionally well, and as any musician knows, writing a true pop gem is far more difficult than one would think. With his lovely vocals and well written lyrics, paired with the masterful yet simple guitar work and an unforgettable melody on "This Modern Love", this track is a true dream pop jewel. Well played, sir Luis. Well played, indeed.

The Winter Lights. (It's Only A) Matter of Time.

Next up is "The Carousel", which slows things down a little and has a moody edge to it, as well as another catchy chorus that won't leave your mind for days. Luis has a great talent for writing pop melodies that are gorgeous and pairing them with slightly dark lyrics, which reminds me a bit of Morrissey in that respect. This track will have you swaying and hitting repeat, and the more I listen to it, the more accomplished I think it is. Also, I have to give props to Luis for rhyming "pathetic" with "copacetic" in the chorus. Can't say I've heard that done before! I love it. Another stellar track.

The third track, "Mister Number One", is actually the first song I'd ever heard by The Winter Lights, and was lucky enough to hear it evolve from it's earliest stages at the beginning of this year to it's final and present form. This one has that same great atmosphere as "This Modern Love" - catchy pop sensibilities interwoven with self-deprecating but endearing lyrics and a truly wonderful melody. I especially love the guitar intro - it's completely classic and yet still his unique sound; it very much reminds me of something Sarah Records would have released in their heyday (which is saying a lot, considering how much I love Sarah). I hate to bring up Morrissey again, since The Winter Lights don't sound like Morrissey or the Smiths really, but again, Luis has that awesome ability to write a catchy tune that borders on upbeat, but with gloomy lyrics that aren't grating or over the top dramatic, but instead simply endearing. Hearing him sing "I'm a loser" and "I'm mister monotone" in that voice of his hard not to instantly love. A definite stunner.

The Winter Lights. Mister Number One.

The final track, "(It's Only A) Matter of Time", is slow burning bedroom pop bliss. With an almost lullaby quality to the melody, as well as excellent vocals and lyrics, it is, like the rest of the EP, impossible not to enjoy. The trumpet accents and guitar work are spot on, taking this track to another level - it's a simple song, but the nuances are accomplished, yet subtle, which works perfectly with the atmosphere of the track. I especially love the intro to the song, and the tempo is spot on with the lyrics. Truly, it's a wonderful song.

As a debut effort, this EP from The Winter Lights is absolutely impressive dream pop of the highest caliber. I can't wait to see what Luis has in store for us in the future. Modern Love is a highly recommended EP, and one of the best dream pop EP releases of 2010.

The Winter Lights' Modern Love EP is now available for purchase on bandcamp, cdbaby and iTunes worldwide, and soon will also be available on Amazon worldwide and 7digital worldwide. Do yourself a favor and order it.

Review by Amber.

New Album Update: Jonsi (Sigur Ros). Go Live.

Jonsi, of Sigur Ros fame, has released a new album, entitled Go Live. Click the link below and check it out!

24 November 2010

Album Review & Free Download: Love Culture. Aquamarine EP.

Artist: Love Culture.
Album Title: Aquamarine EP.
Record Label: Self Released.
Release date: Originally released January 28, 2010 (a double EP package, including Aquamarine and the new Drag EP to be released January 14, 2011).

Love Culture is a five piece band based in Columbus, Ohio who's sound hovers somewhere between the distorted bliss of the Jesus and Mary Chain and My Bloody Valentine, the nostalgia drenched 90's pop in the vein of Suede, plus their own unique sound thrown into the mix. The gorgeous Aquamarine EP is the band's first proper release, though the band also has a collection of older demos available on their LastFm page, and the upcoming Drag EP is slated for release on January 14, 2011 (to be released as a double EP set including a re-release of Aquamarine). When The Sun Hits also just interviewed Tristan Swan of Love Culture, which you can read here, so you can familiarize yourself further with this excellent band.

It's a rare thing to come across a random artist that you know nothing about, have a listen on a whim, and be blown away. This happened for me with Love Culture, and to say that I was pleased with what I heard is an understatement. I have great expectations for this relatively new band, and hopefully after reading this review you'll download the Aquamarine EP (for free! I'll link you to the download at the end of the review) and help When The Sun Hits spread the word about this band. They are destined for big things. 2011 will be Love Culture's year, mark my words.

The Aquamarine EP is a seven track stunner that, as a first proper release, is incredibly accomplished. The EP kicks off with the track "Future Halos", which not only boasts a track title that I adore, but immediately sets the stage for Love Culture's unique sound - there is almost a post punk feel to it, but with an energetic dream pop edge. The melody is enchanting, but in such a way that you can also bob your head and tap your foot at the same time. It almost reminds me of some of the higher energy tracks from Pale Saints or Secret Shine...there are interludes of otherworldly dreamscapes that segue into post punk, psychedelia-tinged moments of rocking out. The guitar work on this track is truly inspired; classic in form, but still uniquely Love Culture. The vocals are immediately gripping, and the refrain of: "Do you feel lucky today/Do you feel lucky today" gets stuck on a loop in my head, and happily so.

Track two, "Karolyne", is my favorite track on the EP (I debuted it on my shoegaze radio show last Sunday [you can download the entire radio show here] and it sounded incredible on the air). Another pyschedelia-tinged gazer anthem, it starts off with rollicking guitar work, then quiets down a bit, but then builds back up to a chorus that demands that you stop what you're doing and pay attention. If you aren't throwing your body around to the chorus of: we're fading in/ fading out/and I can't forget/you said wait for me to implode - then you aren't listening closely. This track is a perfect example of classic shoegaze being updated for the 21st century. The classic elements are there, so there is the nostalgia aspect, but coupled with Love Culture's unique style permeating the whole thing, it adds up to a stellar example of contemporary shoegaze/dream pop.

"Cannon", track 3, slows things down a bit, and brings the dream pop element more to the forefront. A gorgeous slow burner with lovely vocals, the song evolves into a wall of sound shoegaze onslaught that connects the dreamy bits perfectly with the raucous psychedelic chorus. Love Culture tends to use this formula a lot - dreamy slow bits that evolve into straight up jams, then slows it down into dream land. I love it. It's hard to seamlessly combine the styles of shoegaze, dream pop and psychedelia into one track, but Love Culture has perfected it, and it is more than impressive. Since I am a fan of all of these genres (and consider them siblings), I love hearing them mesh so easily on Aquamarine.

Up next is "Ocean Ocean", opening with a dreamy lilting melody and lovely vocals that bring to mind Slowdive, but with more attitude and a more upfront rhythm. This is shoegaze with less emphasis on the the ethereal soundscapes and more focus on a defined melody. It has an almost lullaby-like quality to it, but a lullaby for those who don't want to be lulled to sleep, but instead want to bliss out fully awake. Gorgeous.

Track five, "Islands", picks up where "Ocean Ocean" left off, opening with a catchy beat, fetching synth lines, and captivating lyrics that immediately demand your attention. A true dream pop gem, with chorus lyrics that I adore: "We should own the sky/We should own the sky/All our dreams tonight/Fade in sunlight/What were you wishing for/to slip slowly away/We are dreamers still/We are dreamers" - and accompanied by the nostalgia-drenched synths, it's a dream pop jewel. "We were made for this..." - yes, Love Culture, you were. Delightful.

"Still My Heart", the sixth track, is once again another dream pop treasure. Clocking in at over 6 minutes, my only beef with this song is that I wish it was even longer than 6 minutes. This one is another slower track, with crooning vocals and a heavenly melody that could go on forever in my opinion. Once again, bringing to mind Slowdive, but as I mentioned before, the track is more upfront than the ethereal dreamscapes of Slowdive, with more of a pop sensibility. At around the 5 minute mark the track gets a little noiser, but just for a moment, before returning to it's dream pop croon. Truly a beautiful song, rivaling any of your favorite current dream pop bands easily. Be still my heart, Love Culture.

The final track, "The Red Room", is a more experimental piece that immediately brings to mind The Stone Roses' track "Full Fathom Five" (which was their hit single, "Waterfall", recorded backwards). A great way to end the EP, with a nod to The Stone Roses (I'm taking a liberty in assuming that), but the track still completely stands on it's own as a piece uniquely Love Culture in style and sound. If this is one of Love Culture's tracks backwards, I don't know which one, but who cares? It stands on it's own as a brave, experimental piece of music that works perfectly, and again displays this band's proficiency for melding genres, concepts, and sounds into their own style. I'm truly impressed.

The Aquamarine EP has dazzled me (and believe me, I am not dazzled easily or often). I absolutely can't wait to hear the double EP package, slated for a January 14th, 2011 release. Mark your calendars, gazers. These guys are completely DIY, which is even more impressive, considering the high quality here. Check out the band's Facebook page and start spreading the word about Love Culture. As a band self releasing such outstanding music, they need and deserve our support, and When The Sun Hits is all about giving exposure, and we want your help! Love Culture has all of the ingredients needed to become much beloved, so let's make it happen. These guys can rock as hard as A Place to Bury Strangers, have mastered dream pop as well as any of your well-known favorites in the scene, and are making music that needs to be heard.

As a further bonus, Love Culture is now offering the Aquamarine EP, in it's entirety, as a free download here. Download it, spend some quality time with your headphones and the EP, and start telling your friends. In the realm of shoegaze and dream pop, we make it our business to support one another and share what's good, so help us do that by doing your part.

Click the link below to download the Aquamarine EP in it's entirety, and once you've done that, When The Sun Hits has no doubt you'll also be eagerly awaiting the Drag EP come January 14th.


Click Below for Free Download:
Love Culture. Aquamarine EP.

Love Culture. Future Halos (live).
Visual work done by VJ of Blue Moon Recording.

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Interview: Tristan Swan of Love Culture.

Love Culture is Raleigh Swan (guitar, vox, keys), Tristan Swan (vocals, guitar, keys), James Levesque (guitar, keys), Sky Cunningham (bass) Robert Fischer (drums), as well as their engineer, VJ (all-around expert VJ OZ of Blue Moon Studios) and they are based out of Columbus, Ohio. Hovering somewhere in between the distorted bliss of the Jesus and Mary Chain and My Bloody Valentine, with their own unique sound thrown into the mix, Love Culture are creating some of the most exciting shoegaze-oriented indie music that you probably haven't heard yet. With one official release under their belt (2010's stellar Aquamarine EP, and you can read Amber's new review of it here), as well as a collection of older demos (available on their LastFm page), and the upcoming Drag EP (to be released as an EP set with a re-release of Aquamarine on January 14, 2011), Love Culture is on the verge of getting every bit of the attention they deserve. Readers, Love Culture is officially now on your radar. When The Sun Hits is pleased to bring you the following interview with the charming Tristan Swan of Love Culture. Enjoy!

1. Can you tell us what you've been working on and what you've got forthcoming in the near future (new releases, tour, etc)?

Currently we're working on mastering our double-EP package of Aquamarine and Drag. That will be available in January 2011. Aquamarine is an EP we semi-released earlier this year but we think it's too good to stay in the shadows so we're re-releasing it. We are currently working on setting up a small tour this winter with some dates in Ohio, LA, Chicago, Boston and DC. Of course, this is all within the confines of money. We're unsigned and entirely self-funded. We try our best to live lavishly though. ;)

2. Where does the name "Love Culture" come from?

It initially came from my a small project my brother, Raleigh and our guitarist James, had in high school. When we adapted it for this band it kind of took on a new meaning. There is a small part in Mark Danielewski's book House of Leaves where the main character Johnny Truant sardonically refers to society as a "love culture." So, for us now, the name is kind of in contrast to the music and the themes in our music. The idea of a "love culture" is beautiful but completely false.

3. Do you consider Love Culture's music to be shoegaze/dream pop oriented?

My brother might disagree with me on this, but I definitely consider it to be shoegaze oriented. We're all young enough though that we grew up on Radiohead, The Smashing Pumpkins, some Suede, etc. so we've got indie/pop thing going on too. However, he newer music we're working on is decidedly less "shoegaze". There's a new group of bands coming up that have a very electronic, darker, more driving take on shoegaze and I think we're heading in that direction.

4. What do you think of modern shoegaze/dream pop artists, any favorites?

Nugaze? Haha. Actually it's basically all I listen to now except for my old favorites. It's a such an expansive sound that has so much depth and the ability to be both pretty and pissed off without being whiny. Some newer bands that I've been completely obsessed with recently (and I wouldn't classify most of them dream pop at all) are A Place to Bury Strangers, The December Sound, Sleepmask (LA), The Big Pink, The Rosen Association, Airiel, Soft, and Screen Vinyl Image. I was also really into The Manhattan Love Suicides before they broke up. The other guys in the band all have their distinct favorites but those are mine...

5. What is the most important piece of gear for your sound? Any particular guitars/pedals/amps that you prefer?

Raleigh and James would be better off answering this question, but I have a general idea. Pedals and more pedals are of course the most important pieces of gear we have. I know that Raleigh is just starting to get into Death By Audio pedals. I believe he either has or is going to get their Interstellar Overdriver and Supersonic Fuzz Gun pedals. Caleb is very partial to his vintage Digitech Space Station, Russian Big Muff and his Boss RV5 reverb. Raleigh plays a Fender Jaguar, and he uses a Roland Space Reverb and Ibanez tube screamer as well as multi-effects board. We have some keyboards, the make and model being completely unnecessary as we mostly just run them through whatever extra reverb or distortion unit we have lying around.

6. What artists (shoegaze/dream pop or otherwise) have most influenced your work?

Older: My Bloody Valentine, Slowdive, Remy Zero, The Jesus and Mary Chain, The Cure, Chapterhouse, Ride, Radiohead, Suede, Blur, The Smashing Pumpkins, Spiritualized, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club.

Newer: There are tons but I'd say the top five that have really had the biggest influences on us lately are Mew, The Big Pink, Autolux, The Receiver, and, me personally...Sleepmask. Raleigh would probably mention Grizzly Bear.

7. Can you tell us a little about what you are currently into (books, films, art, bands, etc)?

I can only answer for myself; a few of my favorite authors are and will be: F. Scott Fitzgerald, J.D. Salinger, Ernest Hemingway, Bret Easton Ellis, Graham Greene, Mark Danielewski, John Keats, Arthur Rimbaud....again, lots more. There are, however, two authors I sincerely dislike: Ayn Rand and Charles Bukowski. Especially Bukowski. Fuck that guy.

My favorite movie of all time is Heaven by Tom Tykwer. Mostly anything by Darren Aronofsky and David Lynch (Twin Peaks is still my favorite show ever). Danny Boyle is great too. Sunshine is an amazing film. Sky (our bassist) and myself are also pretty into anime - Cowboy Bebop, Ghost in the Shell, Tank Girl etc. Also, Final Fantasy VII is the best game ever made.

Not really into art so much. Not against it. Just not into it. There are a bunch of galleries where I live and I tend to walk by 99 percent of them without paying attention. Hey, at least I don't live in New York right?

8. What is your goal for Love Culture? For those new to Love Culture's music, what would you most like them to know about the music?

Our, ahem, practical goal is to make the music we want to make and have it sustain us in the long run. A purer goal is to simply create the music that has moved and shaped us and brought so many things into a beautiful perspective (or lack of). There is a certain aesthetic and sound that has shaped the way we approach life, relationships, emotion, fashion....everything. We want to be immersed in that. For the many, many, many who have no idea who we are I guess I would say that our music is for dreamers, romantics, melancholy misfits. Those who are trying their hardest to be beautiful in a world that is so against beauty, and against those who refuse to be mediocre. Reality is quite often a very tedious and hopeless affair....our music is like trying to keep your head above the water for as long as possible before you get dragged under. My friend kind of summed up Love Culture as: "five people staring at the abyss and trying to imagine something pretty at the end." Possibly melodramatic? Of course. Music that isn't is boring.

9. What is your philosophy (on life), if any, that you live by?

I try to care about everyone and love only a few. And if I can be eternally young and pretty while doing it the better. ;)