In Session: Laveda
ALBANY – There’s a common saying: get knocked down eight times, but get back up nine. This inherent essence of resiliency has been seen in many DIY and indie artists/bands across the world since the onslaught of the pandemic. One band in particular that is equipped with this trait is Laveda. Not only are they coming back – they’re going on tour, and slated to appear at South by Southwest – but they’re coming back strong.
On top that, Laveda is releasing new material on March 4th with their upcoming single, “bb.” Though not yet released, you can pre-save the song by clicking here. Trust me, you’re going to want to do that. Being fans of their previous work, I can confidently say this is miles ahead of the fantastic groundwork they’ve laid. Having not seen them since before the pandemic, it was great to catch up with Jake and Ali. What follows is our discussion of music, vulnerability, the tenuous nature of sanity amidst the chaos, and more.
Lucas Garrett: Jake and Ali! Thanks for sitting down to chat Haven’t seen you in quite a while!
Jake Brooks: Yeah.
Ali Genevich: Yeah, it’s been a really long time.
LG: Let’s do a quick recap of how you two have been.
AG: Good, I guess. We’ve been kind of preparing for a tour, which is coming up. I’m really excited for it; it’s been two years since we’ve done a tour. Like most bands.
LG: I feel like with the pandemic, there’s been some bands that have been able to live on the outside of that. Once you hit a certain level, I think it didn’t affect people as much. For people like you guys, and me, and countless others I know, it hit us kinda hard.
LG: How have you been maintaining your artistic sanity during this?
AG: For a while, I felt like I couldn’t write any songs. I don’t know if you felt that way, too.
LG: I did, and I had a moment where I honestly almost quit.
LG: We’d just made an album and had to put it on the shelf… Did you go through something like that?
JB: Yeah, I feel like we didn’t write for a little bit; we just were waiting to see what happened, you know?
AG: Touring had been such a big part, too. Just playing shows out. I think that subconsciously had something to do with feeling the constraint.
LG: Right. If we did it for the money, we wouldn’t be doing it, you know?
LG: I feel like for those in our level, or bracket, the only way to sell merchandise – the best way – is to play out. Doing stuff like that is vital. Not only did we not get to play out but our money coming in was a lot less due to not selling as much merchandise.
LG: Correct me if I’m wrong, but at least for me, there’s a marked “chasing of your tail” with merchandise. You need to put money into it; sell a certain amount to make money to make more; to sell more; to make more, and so on. For a lot of bands, it hit when they were making new things. Now, they have all this merchandise. You can’t sell it online as well as you can at a show. At least I can’t.
AG: Yeah, we felt that, too. We had just made a bunch of merch that we were supposed to sell in 2020. We had a bunch left over. We were like, “Oh, boy.” We did sell some, because we toured, but then we had to cover it back. We had a lot left over – it lasted a while.
JB: Two years.
AG: Yeah, during the whole pandemic. We gave away some to those that supported us; radio stations, college students, and stuff like that. We sold some on Bandcamp, but… However, we do have new merch for the upcoming tour!
LG: Let’s talk about that tour! I heard you had a huge announcement; you’re going to South by Southwest. That’s pretty f*cking cool.
JB: Yeah, we’re pretty excited to be doing that; we weren’t sure if we were going to be doing that this year. We’re pretty psyched to be part of it. We’re also doing a tour beforehand with another band that is also going there, called Couch Prints. They’re from New York City.
LG: When does the tour begin?
JB: It’s from February 28th to March 6th.
AG: Then, South by Southwest is from March 14th until March 20th.
LG: Honestly, you guys introduced me to the whole genre you make. I didn’t really know much about it until you. From my standpoint, it’d be hard for me to make compelling music in that vein, but you guys do it so well. What’s your process?
JB: Spend a solid two years per album. Hahaha.
LG: With rock and roll, you can hear it in your head. As you know, a lot of what you do is ambient; you can’t just quickly be like, “Oh, that’ll sound good.”
JB: We throw a lot at the wall and see what sticks. We’ll hear something in our heads and try to achieve that, or get to that thing we’re hearing. But, a lot of the time we’re just having fun, either in the studio or in our apartment.
LG: Is it hard to replicate it live?
AG: It takes a lot of time and prep.
JB: We do a lot of prepping and practicing, but once we have it down, I feel it’s a little easier after that. We bring a lot of stuff; we do it pretty faithfully to what the recordings are.
LG: Not one part is overtly difficult, but once it all comes together – in my opinion – it sounds like an orchestra. Each part isn’t that compelling but when you add them all together, it’s very cool what you guys have created.
AG: That’s pretty accurate.
LG: You went to St. Rose, right?
AG: Yep, I finished my degree there.
LG: Is that where the band started?
JB: Kind of. I didn’t go to St. Rose – I went to a different college – but we had played in different bands together; that kind of thing.
AG: We met in high school in Saratoga. Jake went off to college and I was playing in bands with him for a little while. We started writing together and we found Joe (Taurone) and Dan (Carr); they went to St. Rose. Then, we started recording with our friend in New York City and decided it was going to be more than a couple songs for fun.
JB: Joe and Dan were a two-for-one package; they lived together. They’re super tight musicians.
LG: Albany has a lot of great frickin’ players.
AG: Yeah, seriously. There’s a lot of great musicians in this area.
LG: I was talking to another musician friend in the area, and I feel more than ever that we, as creatives, need to be painfully honest. Now, perhaps, more than ever. There’s a lot of romanticizing in this industry. When the pandemic hit, I was like, “I don’t know what to do.” Whether we like it or not, when we’re out doing what we do, it’s an identity. It’s a brand, as well, for lack of a better word. When you eliminate that, you eliminate part of yourself. You look at yourself and might think, “Why am I even doing this?” Especially when other bands that were more fortunate than us were finding ways of doing things. Did you ever go through that, or no?
AG: Definitely. Everything you just said… It’s funny because we’re putting a single out March 4th. It’s called, “bb.” The song is basically about that; feeling like you’re robbed of your identity. Like you don’t know who you are anymore. Feeling robbed of time; feeling like you have no inspiration for not just music, but even getting up in the morning. You can pre-save it to your preferred streaming service (click here). The topic sounds depressing, but…
LG: I think a lot of us are feeling that, you know?
AG: Yeah, that was the first song that came out of that period for us. We put a lot of time and focus into that track. I think that was a big focus; working on that song. It’s finally coming out. But, yeah, we felt like that for a while. So, yeah…
LG: I think for a lot of us, this pandemic made us realize our vulnerability. Tomorrow’s never guaranteed, as we know… Perhaps it lit a fire under our ass to get things done, and you certainly are doing a lot right now. You have a new song coming out soon; what else do you have going on?
AG: Well, we have an album that’s going to be out later this year.
LG: Is it a full-length or EP?
AG: It’s a full-length; twelve songs. It’s longer than the last one and we’re really excited about it. It’s different in good ways. It’s got some darkness to it, but it also has a few bright and happy moments, as well. I’m very excited about it.
LG: We’ve gone over a lot tonight. It’s been great having you on and catching up with you two! I’m going to definitely add your new song to the rotation once its released.
AG: Thanks for having us!