“I am the God of hell fire and I bring you...LoveLikeFire”.
Luckily it's not just the name that's hot. After hangin' with The Killers when they were just juvenile offenders, singer Ann Yu fled her restrictive homestead (think Footloose, y'know, where dancing and snogging are banned 'cos it's the devils work) and shipped out to San Francisco. Frisco! Home of bongs, Alcatraz and America's No1 suicide hotspot. Luckily, Ann survived and with new pals Dave, Eric & Marty formed the pretty damn good actually LovelikeFire and together they are about to give birth to a lovely bouncing debut album Tear Ourselves Away. It's moody, melodic and tres magnifique. [Speaks into intercom] Nurse, please bring in the musicians...
Welcome LoveLikeFire, for our readers can you please introduce yourselves, tell me the first band you saw live in concert and your favourite word please.
Ann (Vocals, Guitar) : Hello! My name is Ann and my favourite word is "concoction". My first concert was The Cure - I taped the whole concert then had my friend drive us to the airport in the offchance they'd be flying out after the show. It was exciting to be paging Robert Smith at the airport, although he never picked up the phone. :(
Eric (Bass,Keys): Hello readers, my name is Eric Jon Amerman. The first band I saw live in concert was Aerosmith, and it was BAD ASS. My favourite word is "Marty".
Dave (Drums): Hi, I'm Dave. I play drums in LLF. The first band I can remember seeing was a San Francisco punk band called MDC. That was a long time ago. I don't have a favourite word, but my first word was "car".
Marty (Guitar, Keys): Hi, I'm Marty. The first band I saw was Depeche Mode and my favourite word is "shrimp".
We're in a grim worldwide recession. How we can convince our readers they should spend their hard-earned money on LoveLikeFire's forthcoming album Tear Ourselves Away?
Ann: The good people of England should spend their hard earned money on our album because Tear Ourselves Away will make you feel better. I am a strong proponent of taking what ails you and embracing it. Sure, there is insecurity, doubt, melancholy sprinkled throughout the album but in a bed of beats that make you want to leave your bed in the morning and face your unemployed, directionless demons! You need to embrace your vulnerabilities and this album is all about that.
There's a brooding, bloody, passionate sound to your records and the lyrics are often personal and raw. What motivates you to write and do you subscribe to that U2 line that “every artist is a cannibal”?
Ann: There is a very raw element to all art and in order to really connect with those that want to listen to you, I think you have to be very honest with yourself and unashamed of what you have to say. It's okay to express feelings of shame in your songs, of course, but to be afraid to get too personal with your music I think happens more often than not. It's very draining to tap into yourself and share your innermost thoughts through your art but that's what motivates me when writing music. If everything were sorted and figured out, life would be boring, your art would be boring.
Ann, you were forbidden (waves imaginary finger) to listen to pop music as a child. When you finally dropped 'the needle on the record' what was the first album that 'spoke' to you and what did it say to you or show you?
Ann: I wasn't actually forbidden to listen to pop music, hmm, well I was forbidden to continue playing music after I learned how to drive but my family listened to music growing up. I grew up The Carpenters, John Denver, Lee Hazelwood, Tom Jones. We had a karaoke machine growing up! I wasn't exposed to anything hip or cool, we didn't have cable, so no MTV or VH1, and only got a computer when I was 16 so I didn't get to explore much. I did it the old fashioned way, and went to the used record store and sorta picked up albums from word of mouth and employee picks.
The first pop album that spoke to me was definitely The Carpenters' Greatest Hits thanks to my Dad. I was obsessed with love and heartbreak and unrequited love, and everything related and every song seemed to hit me in just the right place. Karen's smooth voice with just the right amount of darkness in her phrases.
I know you are all keen anglophiles and recently completed your first UK tour. Were there are particular British idiosyncrasies or phrases which amused or bemused you?
Eric: I must say I was bemused by the phrase "Knock, knock and ginger". As in "I didn't mean to knock, knock and ginger." I hope I'm not knocking and gingering in any way here.
Dave: Brits are, generally, much more polite and well spoken than we are. It's refreshing. My favourite British term would have to be "burgled". In the States we have burglars but they "rob" your house as opposed to "burgle" it. It sounds cute, like "tickled" or something.
I love the wonderful animated video for William it really compliments the bruised beauty of the track itself. What video are you most happy with and do you have much creative input in the video process?
Ann: We are probably most happy with the William track, it is very difficult for us all to be happy with videos we are in I think because it's a hard thing to be represented on video, creatively and stylistically. Every video we've done has been through the efforts of several hardworking and dedicated people and we don't try to change too much the director's vision.
Ann, you were friends with The Killers when they “weeeere yooooung” – Did you learn anything by being around them then? Also any sordid tales you care to divulge?
Ann: They were very hardworking, practicing almost every night and it was very inspiring to see them grow and all their hard work pay off. I'm still a bit oblivious to how big they really have become though.
What typically causes the most disagreements within the band and conversely what do the band tend to agree on the most?
Ann: Sometimes we have differing creative ideas that we like to talk about over new songwriting, but I don't think they qualify as disagreements, or at least they are sort of like disguised disagreements. Usually if someone feels strongly about something, we talk at length about it but it never feels like a disagreement which i think is a good thing. We agree on live shows and music the most.
What's the most embarrassing thing you've done for money? Any humiliating pre-band 'McJobs' or dodgy LovelikeFire promotional chores in Belgium?
Eric: Still in the process of embarrassing myself for money by wearing scrubs and taking urine samples at a hospital.
Ann: I'll be putting medical socks on a man getting hip surgery next week.
Groovy. Finally, do you each have a particular record in your collection that people may be surprised to know you adore?
Eric: I'm known to listen to a Ben Folds Five or Guster album on occasion - do I deserve a good lashing?
Dave: One of my favourite all-time records is Slaughter Of The Soul by At The Gates. They were a Swedish metal band from the mid '90's. It's fast and angry but epic and beautiful at the same time. The songwriting is ace.
Ann: Tom Jones' Greatest Hits makes me very happy.
Marty: Depeche Mode through and through.
Thankyou LoveLikeFire. Good luck on your travels and don't forget to write. Nurse, I believe it's time for my morning medication.
LovelikeFire's debut album Tear Ourselves Away is released August 10th through Hit or Heist Records. The single Stand In Your Shoes is out now. For more info, check out their website .