Photo of Previous Love by Matt Sledz
Whenever new music lands in my inbox, I always give it at least a quick listen because I never want to let potentially amazing under-the-radar artists slip past me. It was a real treat when Previous Love suggested that I check out their self-titled EP which, to my surprise, was heavily influenced by a lot of my favorite artists.
With influence from bands such as Have Mercy, Head North, Citizen, The Cure, Balance And Composure, and many more, Previous Love have worked to create a unique sound that is an excellent blend of all of their musical inspirations for this project. Seeing that Previous Love is influenced by up-and-coming bands that I love makes me very excited for the future of new bands in the alternative music scene. Their warm tones contrast between delicate, melodic sections and full-bodied rock to keep each song lively as they seamlessly flow into one another. While Previous Love’s five song EP is enough to hold me over for awhile, I’m already looking forward to seeing where they’ll go from here. Get to know the band in my interview with them below:
For those who don’t know, what are your names and what do you play in the band?
Gary Sheedy – Vocals / Guitar
John Perdue – Drums
Steve Browne – Bass
Charlie Campanella – Guitar
Give everyone a little run down on the history of the band and what is different about making music together this time around.
Steve: We have been playing music together since we were kids in middle school. We spent our high school days learning the ropes with battles of the bands, local shows, gigging, recording, etc. We all knew we were going off to college, so there wasn’t much to push forward to and things fizzled out.
This time it’s something completely different. I don’t think myself or any of us have believed this much in something in our entire lives. We all desperately needed music when we got back into being a band, and we still do.
When we used to write, like many bands, we all would get in a room and bounce ideas off of each other until something stuck. With Gary being away in school, ideas came to the table with a lot more substance. We figured out our roles very early on which made the writing process very smooth. Gary and John bring most of the main ideas to the table, I offer the narrow adjustments, and Charlie would call out anything that felt ‘off’.
Was there anything that specifically compelled you to play together again?
Steve: I wouldn’t say there was one particular moment, but we all bonded over a few records that changed the way we looked at music and the world. Have Mercy’s The Earth Pushed Back and Turnover’s Peripheral Vision were a massive influence on us making music together.
What is the creative process like for you when distance is involved?
Steve: So I touched on this a little bit earlier, but with Gary at a distance, group chats and voice memos were our best friends. It was almost daily that I was waking up to another set of lyrics or riffs by Gary or John, and we knew which ideas really stuck out as something special. We had a running joke that whenever we didn’t all vibe much with something that we’d just have to “hear it in context” and “simmer on it” haha. I think we all have a great way of taking criticism well and removing ego from the equation. It really let our best ideas rise to the top.
The real test was when Gary came home from school and we started to flesh each song out in person. We had something like 13 or 14 songs for this EP, and it was a matter of narrowing it down to what we wanted to spend the most time on. “Pinwheel” was the first track we all knew needed to be on the EP, and it set the tone for our writing.
What was it like working with Jay Zubricky? Was it a pretty big deal for you since there’s a lot of artists he’s worked with who are on the rise?
Steve: We were thrilled to be in the studio with Jay. Every single time you speak to someone who has worked with him, they only have great things to say. The dude has stories for days about the wildest things from sports teams to studio memories and other bands he’s worked with. We knew as long as we spent the majority of our pre-production time on writing, he would have the skills to get us the right tones and steer us in the right direction which is exactly what happened.
Your sound seems to be the ideal blend a lot of influences from across the genre spectrum. Did working with Jay help with creating such a cohesive sound for your debut?
Steve: Thank you! The cohesive sound came from narrowing down those 13-14 tracks. We absolutely love records that take you on a journey front to back so we put a lot of thought into what tracks made the most sense together.
Working with Jay was a no-brainer. He’s worked with some Buffalo favorites of ours like Every Time I Die and Head North. He listens to a lot of what influences us, so he knew what we were going for and how to help give it the right feel. We’re certain the EP would not have turned out as well if we did it with someone else.
What inspired Previous Love lyrically?
Gary: The lyrics on Previous Love were inspired by personal struggles, specific events, and observations made about the world. To me, writing is cathartic, so most of those lyrics came at a time when there was something I needed to get off my chest. They were a way of dealing with some of my problems at the time, which is a trend that is likely to continue while writing in the future.
Do you have any plans to tour whenever you’re all in the same place for long enough?
Steve: Absolutely, yes. We’re always itching to gig. We haven’t had many opportunities to perform these songs for people yet, so it’s going to feel great finally getting out there. Live music is an extremely important part of what shaped our musical tastes, and I think we put on a really great show (humble brag).
What’s the music scene like in your area? Any bands that you are always stoked to see?
Steve: Buffalo is an awesome music scene with great people. We’ve made so many friends over the years around here, and we’re very proud of our town. We have a few venues of varying sizes, but things have been on the rise lately for our area. We used to get skipped over quite a bit, now almost all of the fall tours are coming through here. We never miss a Head North show, those guys are family to us. Other up and comers are Super American, Kill The Clock, Post Prom, M.A.G.S., and plenty more. There’s locals sprouting up everywhere, and it’s a really great time to be a part of the scene.
When you open your music library, what’s your go-to album right now?
Gary: Definitely Maybe by Oasis
John: Good Nature by Turnover
Steve: Science Fiction by Brand New
Charlie: Try! (Live) by John Mayer Trio
We’re always updating playlists on Spotify with what we’re listening to lately. We like keeping everyone in the loop with new music we’re coming across all the time.
Recommend first time listeners one song from the EP and explain your choosing.
Steve: Absolutely “Caffeine.” We chose it as the first single on the record, because it really reflects all of the influences in our sound from shoegaze, grunge, and bands like The Cure and The Smiths. Even when we were in the studio we all looked at each other when it started coming together like, ‘Wow okay, THIS is the track.’ It just feels so huge.
What will Previous Love be up to for the rest of 2017?
Steve: We have some sick music videos coming down the pipeline, a special surprise for our Buffalo friends coming up soon, and plenty of big things that we can’t talk about just yet for the spring. It’s gonna be a big year in 2018. We’re gearing up for it.
Lastly, to the people who got this far reading this interview, we can’t thank you enough for checking us out. We hope our music can impact your life the same way our favorite records have impacted ours.