I caught up with Danielle Sweeney, singer for Lovecoast, while she was visiting her parents in Squamish. Over the noise of the passing trains and the family’s frisky dogs I managed to get some of the scoop as to what the band is up to.
Where is Lovecoast based?
We’re a weird band because we don’t live in the same place. I live in Vancouver and all the guys live in Nanaimo. I’m moving to Victoria in the Fall, though, so then we’ll all be on the Island. We all went to VIU (Vancouver Island University) together — we all did the music program there.
How did the band start?
The band started with a member who is no longer with us. Me and Scott (Verbeek) started the band. We were just doing cover gigs for a while. Then we started writing. That was in our hometown of Squamish. Finally we decided that we like writing more than playing other people’s songs. So then we figured we needed more than voices and guitars. Jesse (McNeill) and Andrew (Fraser) were the first ones to join us, on bass and drums. Two of the best musicians I know, so it was a no-brainer they were the right guys to go with. Mike (Clement) is our new guy on guitar. He joined about 3 months ago.
How long have you been together?
Lovecoast started in 2013. We needed a name because we’d joined a contest to play at the Squamish Festival. We didn’t end up winning, but we came in third. That was out of 500 bands, so it motivated us to keep going.
What have you recorded so far?
After doing a short demo we did our EP ‘Chasing Tides’ with Tom Dobrzanski. We don’t have a timeline for it but there is definitely more music coming. We’ve figured out how to pay for it, which is nice. We signed with a booking agent who got us some really awesome gigs. We will have a full album out by the end of 2015 or early 2016.
How would you describe your sound?
Our sound is changing. It’s evolving into more indie jazz-pop. We used to be more traditional jazz based. You can hear that on songs like “Twisted”. But now we are getting more into the pop realm. Into the soul realm.
Where does your music come from?
A lot of our songs are inspired by the coast. Hence the name, Lovecoast. It has a lot to do with our environment, what surrounds us. We get inspiration from that. For me, as a songwriter, it’s about life experiences. Heartbreak, loving things, caring about people, learning more about yourself. And, yeah, a lot of bashing ex-boyfriends as well.
Is the music evolving?
We are in a transition phase with our new guitarist. And we have more of an idea of where we want to go. We’re experimenting more than we used to. We have a synth now, and we add a horn section quite a bit. They’re all friends of ours. We have a joke, actually, that I am the only one who is not also in the band Dope Soda.
What is your songwriting process?
I am the primary writer when it comes to lyrics and melody, although sometimes someone else may come in with an idea and say that’s how they want the melody to come out. Everyone is responsible for their own parts, but when it comes to the construction of the lyrical content we make sure that everyone is behind it.
What do you guys have planned for this year?
Last year we won a spot on the Tall Tree Festival, which was super fun to play. This year we are playing the Wapiti Festival in Fernie. We are actually playing at the women’s FIFA World Cup. We’re doing a Whitecaps game. A lot of random stuff.
We came in the top ten in the Vancouver regions 2015 Searchlight competition, and we were on the CBC a ton. It was my first experience of walking through a parking lot and hearing someone play my song on the radio.
We just completed a video for “Help You”. We did it on Ruxton Island. Our drummer has a cabin there. We did it with Knight Studio Productions out of Nanaimo. It’s all one shot. We did it in one take, which was great because we went, “Oh good, we don’t have to do that again.”
You guys are heading out on the road?
Yeah, we’re excited to be touring. It will be our first time in Lethbridge. Our first time in Lloydminster. Our first time in Saskatoon. It’s the furthest we’ve gone. Looking forward to playing and meeting some new friends.
There’ll be a couple of singles out before the album. We’ve just been playing so much. As soon as this tour is done new music is our absolute priority.