By Thomas Dunlap
Based out of Winnipeg, Manitoba, Lounge FM’s chilled-out vibe emulates the cold environment of their hometown. Although the wintry vocals and icy instrumentation echo a snow-covered landscape, the grooves and energy of the music are hardly frigid, inspiring movements that are anything but frozen. Their sound, self-labeled as “Friday night bath music,” is an amenable amalgamation of laid back lounge-funk and relaxing indie-rock. In their 2018 release, Love Will Let You Down, the tracks are covered with a thick layer of filtered guitars, atmospheric synthesizers, and distorted vocals. Eleven tracks long, Love Will Let You Down touches on a variety of musical styles and influences, proving it difficult to pinpoint a specific genre.
Their track “Fast Love” is a loose lullaby, lush with reverberating guitars and a pendulating piano piece. The track begins with heavily filtered vocals that quietly whisper “Hey baby, how you doing?” strongly reminding me of the distorted vocals in Homeshake’s “What Did He Look Like.” The lyrics “I know you know what I’m thinking, moving slow isn’t working, out for us,” reflect the track’s intimate and romantic implications. “Fast Love” is the quintessential Lounge FM track, defining exactly what “Friday night bath music” sounds like. The instrumentation is slow and the vocals are delivered softly, barely audible over the track’s downtempo instrumentals. The lazy sounding guitar notes rock back and forth, accompanied by a similarly swaying piano.
“Barry’s Jazz Bar,” the most upbeat track from Love Will Let You Down, is accompanied by a music video, consisting of candid footage depicting the full band rocking out in front of white backdrops. This track is exceptionally energetic, consisting of disco-like guitar riffs and even an organ contribution. The tracks “Loungin’” and Loungin’, pt. II” serve as brief introduction and interlude to the album. Each track incorporates some elements of other songs on the album, adding to the cohesive sound of the project.
I reached out the the band through their Instagram (@loungefmmusic) to see if they would be interested in an informal interview over email. Fortunately, they were friendly enough to accommodate my request and answered a few of my various questions. The following is the result of my questionnaire.
In today’s world, how important do you think it is for a band to be active on social media? Has being present on any social media platform increased the popularity or awareness of Lounge FM?
I would say its semi important. I think with social media it allows fans to see some personality in bands. Which could be good or bad. With us I would say it has helped a bit, but I don’t really care, as long as people enjoy the music that’s all that matters to me.
How do you feel about Love Will Let You Down being listed as jazz on Apple Music?
I wasn’t even aware of this. Haha. That’s cool I guess. I wonder what kind of audience were drawing…
What is the music scene like in Winnipeg? Do other current bands in the area echo the chilled-out vibe of your music? How does Manitoba differ from the other provinces in Canada?
The music scene here is really good. There are a lot of different unique bands. You can pretty much find a band of any genre. Jaywood and Lev Snowe are on a similar vibe I would say. I don’t really know much about music scenes in other provinces but its Canada, there are good bands everywhere.
Does the title Love Will Let You Down come from a personal experience?
It is all personal experience. All about past relationships and experiences. Slumber party is about me having sex after a party with my best friend sleeping right beside us.
Each track in Love Will Let You Down is sufficiently similar yet separate from each other. Was it an idea from the start to create an album in which the tracks cover a wide variety of sounds? How do you go about constructing songs to be different but of the same domain?
The entire album wasn’t really written at once. It was just a bunch of songs that we had written after the Dancing in Hell EP. But I guess we solidified our parts as we recorded it. So things changed in that process.
You’ve labeled Lounge FM as “Friday night bath music.” What other bands (if any) can be qualified under this genre?
It’s only us. :)
Love Will Let You Down sounds exceptionally well produced, with many different sounds, instruments, and elements in each track. How many people participated in the production process? What was the time frame for the creation?
It pretty much took about a full year exactly from start to finish. Our drummer Adam has good engineering experience so he recorded and produced the entire thing. And a guy by the name of Mike Fondse mastered it.
Which is more enjoyable – performing or producing music?
I think different guys in the band would have different answers but I prefer performing. Even though were a pretty laid back outfit we get a pretty good energy at our shows
Do you feel that a meaningful message is important when writing lyrics? How do you feel about artists who distort their vocals to the point of incomprehensibility?
I mean there’s a place for vocals that can’t be understood. I kind of like that in a way because it makes you go read the lyrics if that interests you, and then you have a better understanding of the song. And I think if the lyricist is really good, it makes the song that much better. I used to be into metal and hardcore. Well I still am.
I am a huge fan of “Fast Love.” In your opinion, what are the standout tracks on Love Will Let You Down?
I really like that one too. I feel like it went under the radar. But the title track and play nice stand out. Who doesn’t like Uncle Willy’s solo in “Play Nice?”
You are obviously not afraid of lengthy tracks, since Love Will Let You Down has four tracks with a runtime of over five minutes. How much of an effect do you think runtime has on the listener’s experience?
The lengthy tracks were basically unavoidable with two musicians, being Uncle Willy and Matt, that love to shred. After recording it was always a shock to find out what length they were. But to me the songs don’t feel as long as they are. So I think if you can keep the listener interested throughout a lengthy track it’s fine. But being a four-piece now I’m sure the songs will shorten themselves.