Lovesliescrushing has been making ambient guitar-based music since 1991, when the duo formed in East Lansing Michigan. Since then, Scott Cortez and Melissa Arpin-Duimstra have released numerous albums on various formats each exploring a slightly different angle of their ambient processed and drumless sound. They have drawn comparisons to bands such as Cocteau Twins and My Bloody Valentine for their exploratory use of guitar tones as well as the ambient work of Brian Eno for their experimental and slow-shifting soundscapes. Their newest album, Ghost-Colored Halo, which came out on May 21st, was recorded all in one take, offering the listeners a more personal and straightforward take on the band’s atmospheric approach. Scott Cortez, who is also a creative force behind shoegaze supergroup, Astrobrite and noise-pop band, STAR, spoke to Audiocred about the latest lovesliescrushing release as well as lucid dreams and the ever-present-though-you-wish-it-wasn’t term “shoegaze”.
Could you talk about the uniqueness of the recording process for this new album? It was all done in one take right?
Yes. Melissa suggested we record this album straight in one take, no overdubs and let it take shape as we played. It was liberating and a little scary, like riding a wave. I just ran the voice and the guitar into a four track and then did a line out into my macbook, so we got an analog cassette tape mix and a digital mix at once. Usually, I record a track and then give it to Melissa, she adds her voice to it, sends it back to me and then I sculpt / build the song up that way. I usually scrap the track I gave her, isolate her part and create new musical textures around her voice. This time out the song is done the second we cut it to tape, it is just a matter of getting a good mix. The GLINTER release was a little different because Melissa sang her part first and then I played my section reacting to her voice, usually goes the other way around.
Why did you decide to record an album this way?
Well, essentially it is how we have been performing live as of late, just getting up onstage and improvising on the spot. So that is inspired by Melissa and her ‘let’s just get up onstage and go’ approach which I find exhilarating and the immediacy of it. It feels like free-falling without a chute and somehow landing on our feet. It captures the raw, unfiltered aspect of our sound, it is our purest outing I feel. Also, I think we are getting tired of taking so long between albums, we want to have an album out a year at least and this approach allows us to work faster. Still, this session was done in 2011, so not totally fast, the mastering mix process is being held up, because I want the new album to be great. But this session produced two full albums, GHOST COLORED HALO and the upcoming FANTOMERA.
I know the lineup of llc has changed a bit, who was involved with this new record?
The lineup, and recording duties for LLC, have always been and always shall be, Melissa and myself . In the past, I have enlisted the help of several talented friends to flesh out the sound only when Melissa was unable to play out.
Would you say this is your most ambient/drone release under llc?
I would say that GLINTER is our most ambient/drone release, it is comprised of three, 20 minute tracks, which represents our aesthetic quite succinctly. And I would say that FANTOMERA will be a close second, the upcoming album is a droner.
Do you have a tour or anything lined up to promote the new record?
At this time a tour is too unwieldy, we prefer tiny shows sporadically arranged or perhaps a living room or a cool church.
I read awhile ago that there might be a documentary in the works about lovesliescrushing. Any news on this?
Yes, that is still in the works, it will include various artists giving their two cents regarding llc ouvre. And will give extensive behind the scenes footage regarding the recording process.
Are you still using a 4-track recorder to record your music?
Yes, the original 4 track that we used is broken at the moment and I borrowed an identical 4 track for the latest album. I will try to buy a new one soon. I am also recording into a basic stereo deck onto old decaying tapes I find at thrift stores, because it adds another texture that is authentic. A digital effect to recreate something that cost 25 cents is beyond me and seems ludicrous.
Have you had any cool dreams lately?
I have cool dreams all the time. Most are lucid and then in the dream I say, ‘I’m dreaming’, then I look around at the scenery and take it all in as an active observer. Then I wake up and write them down in my red journal.
Do you have any plans to re-release some of your harder to find music from some of your other projects like Astrobrite or STAR?
Astrobrite is being released on vinyl via BLVD records out of Chicago. There will be a double album of PINKSHINY ULTRABLAST due out this summer as well as the latest astrobrite album, ALL THE STARS WILL FALL. I am still in talks with my friends from STAR regarding a possible release for a lost STAR album, not sure if it will be fruitful. It is a good album too and I would like to see it come out and take its place with that whole crop of garage gaze-type bands that came out in the last 3 years.
What have you been working on currently?
I am working on mastering the latest LLC album, FANTOMERA, and getting the art ready for that. I am figuring out ways to raise money for a huge boxset vinyl reissue release of the first 4 albums, kickstarter perhaps? Perfecting my live ambient/drone sets at a local venue and working on designs for a cd boxset for the ambient works also. And lastly, drawing up designs for sound installations and the wavertone website.
Honestly, what do you think of the term shoegaze…?
It’s a word that was coined by a lazy music ‘journalist’ to try and be derogatory, so it is just a term that didn’t at all reflect the sounds that it was meant to disparage. It used to be a death sentence back in the late 90’s, then something changed and the dreamy, fuzzy, drone wall of sound cropped up everywhere. I like that ‘gaze’ infiltrated nearly every genre. The scene that celebrated itself became the scene that everyone celebrated.