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Interview with Lovers and Reflections

- by Natan Press





“Lovers are inside each of us, fighting and crooning.  Reflections are outside of us, reversed versions of the self. . . I feel like these are the themes that haunt my music.  Plus it's just pretty.” –Regan Rebecca

At first blush, Lovers and Reflections first album Swords conjures nostalgia for the adventurous 80’s new wave and pop. One can’t help but hear Kate Bush and Elizabeth Frazier in Regan Rebecca’s vocals, or the sounds of bands like Soft Cell and the Switchblade Sisters in Chris Moore’s production.  In most of the promotional material, and in other write-ups, names like Depeche Mode and Madonna are dropped. When I first listened to it I was struck by the apparent breadth of influences, seemingly pulling from every corner of 80’s synth-pop, and combining those sounds with a vocal style that, these days, is usually reserved for more reverb and delay-heavy guitar music.  Though the 80’s feel of Swords is undeniable, while interviewing the band I realize that there is more to their artistic ambition than simply returning to and recombining the sounds, vocal and synth, of that decade.  

The choice to go with synths is a result of opportunity: limited funds and new technology. “I started out playing guitar and in a noisy guitar ban” recalls Regan. “Actually a lot of the songs on Swords are my guitar songs that we sort of converted over to the synth realm of things.  Now, of course our style is a lot more honed in, and writing on the instruments we have is a big part of the song and its sound.” Chris continues, “I am a keyboardist and I own a few synths and an old sampler, so that's what we ended up writing with, especially since we had no budget to go into a studio and record pianos or other acoustic instruments. Also, I think synthesizers have a very wide range of sounds-you can always create a unique sound that no one has used before, and that can make it more exciting than traditional instruments that have 100+ years of associations tied to them.”

If anything, Lovers and Reflections look to the past to influence their songwriting methodology and ambitions. “We never set out to be ‘retro,’” explains Chris, “except in the sense that we wanted to have both good songs and good sounds, and I feel like more bands from the 60s-90s had this combo than bands today do. Some of the songs were written on guitar and could have been done in more of a rock or even country-rock style, if we had a drummer.” Regan misses “when people used to make real albums that you could listen to all the way through.  Maybe I was overambitious but that's what I was trying to do, to tell a story.” To that end Regan turned to the Tarot for inspiration. The song titles refer to cards, and guide the listener through the themes in the songs. For Regan “the tarot was merely a way to organize and validate the songs we had written,” and the romantic and mystical messages of the Tarot compliment the themes of the songs and qualities of the music.  

As for what lies in the cards for Lovers and Reflections, a new album is already in the written and in the process of being recorded. “The next record is more organic and less "80s" sounding” says Chris. “The songs are still pop and still have synths but it's less of a specific ‘synth pop’ sound. We travel through time and genre a little freer and faster on this one.” And when I ask about the lack of “funk” in the otherwise broad range of synth-pop sounds in Swords, Regan exclaims “Just wait for the new record!” What can we expect? “We love funk.  We love it.  We love synth pop too.  I like it when the two converge in the late seventies and early eighties, like Funkadelic type stuff, and also I just love where disco and synth pop merge like Donna Summer and Giorgio Moroder.”

The future is promising, but for now we can quench our desire for more with a Lovers’ live show.  They’re playing a record release show on Monday (April 8th) at the church across from Druid Hill Park at 3647 Falls Rd. in Baltimore, with more hopefully to come.

 

 

 

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