loveless band

Loveless’ remarkable ascent started out with a simple catchphrase: “What if it was pop-punk?”. Vocalist Julian Comeau began his career as a covers artist on TikTok, where he took fan requests and shared his heavy, pop-punk renditions of radio hits such as Lizzo’s ‘About Damn Time’ and Billie Eilish’s ‘Happier Than Ever’. His popularity soon snowballed: Comeau amassed two million followers on the app in a couple of months.

Although the catchphrase stuck for a while, Comeau began to share the original music he had been working on as Loveless with his bandmate, guitarist Dylan Tirapelli-Jamail. Their pop-rock songs explore weighty topics such as mental health issues and giving up vices, while the pair pull from genre heavyweights such as All Time Low and Sleeping With Sirens – their track ‘Someone Else’ even features the latter’s frontman, Kellin Quinn.

Less than three years into the LA band’s journey, their online success meant that they have been able to establish themselves as a genuine force in the alternative space. When NME meets Loveless backstage at the 800-capacity O2 Academy Islington in London – their first-ever international gig – we point out that this sold-out show has come less than six months after the pair completed their debut tour in the US.

loveless band
Loveless at London’s O2 Academy Islington. Credit: Corinne Cumming

“[The success] still doesn’t feel like it’s hit me yet,” Tirapelli-Jamail tells NME. “It’s such a big thing in such a small amount of time that I feel like my reaction should be way different. But I’m just kind of letting it come in waves, and then once the [London] show is over, I’ll relive it in my head a week or two later and be like, ‘Damn, that was really cool’.”

Throughout the show, as Loveless play tracks from their debut album, 2021’s ‘Loveless I’ and follow-up EP ‘End Of An Era’, the emotional impact that their music has had on fans is palpable. During the pre-chorus for ‘Worst Case Scenario’, an anthem for overthinkers everywhere, Comeau sings: “I know I think too much, but have you ever tried to stop thinking?”, before he is met with a chorus of fans hollering “STOP!” back at him. Later, when Comeau forgets the words to ‘Is It Me’, the crowd proves that they have his back, as they belt out the rest of the verse.

As the band look towards making their second full-length album, its this “human reaction” to Loveless’ emo anthems, Comeau says, that encourages them to continue making music. “Making music has become about these relationships,” he adds. “It’s no longer just about my relationship with the song.”

Why do you think people are responding so well to Loveless and this particular style of pop-rock music?

Julian: “I think a lot of people just saw that it was genuine. I think there’s a lot of artists – I won’t name any names – that I think got into the pop-punk or the rock world kind of ironically, or in the sense of, you know, ‘[We] might as well’. But this [music] is something that I grew up on; this is just what I like to make. I think people can see through the bullshit more than we give them credit for.

Dylan: “People can tell when somebody is just there to make a buck, and what we do is very clearly genuine, and it’s true to us.”

How did you build such an active and engaged fanbase?

Julian: “The fans really latched onto me, and for that I’m forever grateful. I think I am just so terminally online; I tend not to shy away from what I’m feeling in the moment, and that allows people to see everything I’m going through.”

Dylan: “On top of that, the fans really built a big part of that community for themselves. I feel like [it’s] us interacting with them online so much because a lot of our fans do struggle with a lot of the same things we do like anxiety and depression.

“So, people that wouldn’t normally be as open and reach out, they see people they look up to that are doing that and they start to create their own sort of niche communities within the whole band community. It’s just grown into something really special, and it’s cool to see because we are just two dudes playing our silly songs.”

“I wrote a song that I’ve been calling my ‘Nine Inch Nails wedding song’” – Julian Comeau

How would you describe your fanbase?

Julian: “Loving, which is ironic, isn’t it? The Loveless fanbase is so loving and they are supportive. They’re also a little hectic. They remind me of myself sometimes… too much to a fault. But I love it because it’s so clear to me that a lot of our big supporters are people that are going through things that I am going through, so I feel a sense of camaraderie and also a feeling of not being quite so alone.”

loveless band
Credit: Ashley Osborn

Julian, you’ve spoken about your love-hate relationship with TikTok and how online trolling has affected you. How do you see yourself continuing to use social media to promote the band?

Julian: “I want to go back to spreading positivity – that was a big thing I used to do. Whenever we got a hate comment, I would reply to it and be like, “Put some positivity in the world”. I’m just going to start doing that again.

“I don’t know, as much as I love our music, there’s a part of me that wants to write some happy songs. I think this next record might have some happy songs that are a little bit more hopeful. Yet there’s always been hope even in our darkest songs. ‘Worst Case Scenario’ is all about me having these irrational thoughts, but it’s juxtaposed with that super happy, dance-y beat. Maybe [the new record] will still sound sad, but it’ll be happier. That’s probably the goal for the new year.”

How is the new record shaping up?

Julian: “We have so many demos – it’s honestly, at this point, too much. So we’re hoping to finalise some things and I hope we can get in the studio. I mean, we have this show, and then we’re off for like four months until we start the world tour. I’d love to play some new songs on the tour.”

“I’ve certainly discovered more influences in the time since making ‘Loveless I’. At that time, I think I wasn’t listening to a lot of music, and mostly, I was listening to kind of either what we were working on or stuff in the alternative scene. In the past two years, I haven’t listened to much pop-punk – I’m not spending as much time in the scene’s echo chamber.

“[Our sound] will definitely mature a little bit, I think. But it’s still rock and it’s still us. [The music] will always be me yelling and then Dylan is always going to be doing something with [his guitar], so we’ll figure it out.”

loveless band
Credit: Corinne Cumming

Why was it important for you to explore heavy themes across your first two releases?

Julian: “It’s really all about mental health. I think a lot of people think the songs are about girls or boys, and there might be some songs that are written about people, but for the most part, a lot of them were things I wrote about my anxiety. It’s about feelings, about depression; a couple of songs are breakup songs, but I was breaking up with alcohol or breaking up with smoking.”

What message do you hope to put across with the new album?

Julian: “Well, I quit smoking, so we’re all good on that one. I’m sure I’m still sad, I’m still mentally ill, so there will be more of that. But I hope that there will also be some other themes.

“I’ve dated for the first time in a long time since ‘Loveless I’. I hadn’t been in a relationship for years prior to that, so I think maybe there might be some love songs. Maybe some cutesy things… I wrote a song that I’ve been calling my ‘Nine Inch Nails wedding song’ because lyrically, it’s super dark, but also not. I don’t want to spoil it!”

Dylan: “It’ll have a greater sense of hopefulness.”

Julian: “Yeah, it’ll be more about trying to find the light.”

The post Loveless: the dynamic duo at the forefront of emo’s next wave appeared first on NME.


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