Love Inks’ dream-pop tracks are perfect for a lazy, sun-speckled drive down a lone coastal highway, your arm catching wind outside of the car window. Simple bass riffs meld with subtle kick drum; Lead singer Sherry LeBlanc’s soft vocals drip over top so that you subliminally digest the lyrics.
Their music is a must on any summer mixtape – perhaps slotted between the music of two other lovey-dovey couple duos we love, the band Tennis, and the band Beach House. After all, while the band tours as a four-piece, sweet-voiced singer Sherry LeBlanc and bassist Kevin Dehan have the type of endearing chemistry that connotes a mellow, smiling dream-state. Did we mention we are craving a vacation in a bad way?
As for the name, Love Inks – it may make you think of that “I love Mom” or “Bowie Is My Soulmate” tattoo you have hiding under your sleeve. However, the name actually refers to “when you produce ink from burning old love letters, and mixing the ashes with a bunch of other stuff so you can write with it to persuade future lovers” (or at least that’s what Sherry told The Stool Pigeon.)
We chatted with the Austin-based group when they toured as a foursome in Los Angeles this summer; Sherry, Bassist Kevin, keyboardist Beth and Guitarist Ben all chimed in below! Oh – and you can download their newest release, E.S.P, on iTunes HERE.
LF: Three words to describe the band?
SHERRY: “Emotive, simple, pop”
LF: Each song is quite minimalistic – pared down. Was that purposeful?
KEVIN: It was an experiment at first. We wanted to see how much we could restrain.
SHERRY: Our goal was to keep it clean and simple – really direct – in order to showcase the instruments.
LF: Would you say Austin, TX is a big inspiration for your tunes?
KEVIN: I think it’s the opposite. It was getting out of Austin that was our inspiration. A lot of our songs are about leaving the town. Even though it’s one of the greatest places.
BEN: Getting out and seeing the world. Touring. When we started the band – that’s one thing we all agreed on… Music is one thing. But we really wanted to get out of Austin. We wanted to see if we could play shows in places we’ve never been.
LF: Your band got a lot of blog love and buzz before putting out an album and touring. How did that make you feel?
SHERRY: For me it is bizarre because I think there’s a level of expectation on performance. Different people come to the shows expecting different things based on what’s in their head rather than what they’ve heard or scene live.
“Black Eye” was our first single, and for a while that was all anyone ever heard. But a lot of our music is very slow, emotive, and moody. So I think people were coming to the show thinking, “Yeah, Black Eye! It’s this dance-pop band!” And we’d be like, “Alright guys, smoke some weed; you are in for a really moody ride….”
LF: What are some other artists that you’d like to tour with right now?
SHERRY: Beach House or Dirty Peaches.
BEN: Blonde Redhead.
LF: What’s the difference between your home crowd and touring, audience-wise?
KEVIN: I would say they are taller in general. (laughs)
SHERRY: Austin is such a small town. At home we know 99% of people at the shows.
KEVIN: …which can be awesome. But you also feel like they are doing it out of sympathy kind of.
SHERRY: So it is cool to see people come to our shows because of our music.
LF: What was your first concert?
SHERRY: My family always went to Summerfest because I am originally from Milwaukee. There I saw really great people like Tina Turner, Roy Orbison…But my first concert was David Bowie and NIN. I was 13 and I saved up allowance and bought the tickets. I went with my dad and he saw mosh pits for the first time and was like “what the F*ck”!!!
KEVIN: Mighty Mighty Bostones!
BETH: Weezer and No Doubt.
LF: Three things you can’t live without:
KEVIN: Peace, love, and understanding (smirks)
SHERRY : Toothpaste… Usually I would say my dogs but now that we are on the road, I realize I can live without them… Oh, and Love… Yup, that’s all I need: Toothpaste and love.
Words and Photos by Faith-Ann Young