Music

Loyal Lobos is writing folk-pop songs that are sad as hell

LA artist Loyal Lobos is here to break your heart.

The other day we wrote about how Loyal Lobos’ latest single  “Swim” is four minutes of heartbreak. It’s a track that is loaded with the kind of vulnerability and pure, emotional intensity that’s rare in in an age of superficial pop.

For most artists in 2018, it ain’t that deep. But for  Loyal Lobos (aka LA singer-songwriter Andrea Silva)  sadness is part of the process. She wrote her latest single “Swim” – and the rest of her forthcoming EP The Fall  –  in the aftermath of a break up.  “I tend to gravitate to writing and singing anytime I’m too anxious or sad to function,” she explains.

The record is also inspired by the romantic, melodramatic storylines of Colombian telenovelas, Silva’s experiences feeling like an outsider in the LA folk scene and her progressive vision of femininity. After a shoot in the California desert, we caught up to talk about how sadness switches off the ego.

Hey Andrea, please tell us about your new single, “Swim”…

It’s a song I wrote a while ago. It took me a long time to get everything together to put it out because…life. But I am happy it’s out. It’s like when you finally get a thorn out of your finger. It’s part of my upcoming EP and it’s about one of my many heartbreaks.

It’s sounds like it’s addressed to a particular person, at a particular time in your life. Can you explain?

Yeah, at the time it was, but I also fantasise when I write and start playing a movie in my head and create from there. Now it could be about so many other people and situations but I like that. It still will bring me right back to a specific time, but like a carefully sealed and stored memory.

Was it an obvious choice for your to channel that sadness into music?

I think so. I tend to gravitate to writing and singing anytime I’m too anxious or sad to function. When I was little I did the same, and my songs were basically about hating my mom. For me being sad is one of the most important emotions, it’s when you strip naked and you lose your ego. When you are angry your ego is huge, when you are happy, your ego is huge but when you are sad it takes down a lot of those shields. It’s the purest form you can be of yourself. When I was going through those really hard times it was important for me to stop fighting and neglecting sadness and just embrace it. This is what I created from it.

You’ve spoken before about how femininity comes through in music. What’s your perception of femininity in the current pop scene?

I think now there is so much buzz about women trying to redefine what femininity is and it has been very exciting to experience. However, I don’t want to change the things that I feel comfortable with that women in my life taught me because I find it so strong and badass. I don’t think I need to speak or dress a certain way to feel strong because the macho and full of testosterone figure doesn’t portray strength to me. I knit and I cook and I think I’m bad ass too.

I cry like a bitch and I get my heartbroken like every day. I am loud and confrontational but after being feisty I go home and sob a little. The EP is that, it’s like a latin telenovela but without conforming to those typical narratives. It’s a fucking sad place. I’m not a victim, but I’m devastated by sadness sometimes. I’m experiencing those emotions and by embracing them I see power.

Dress by Leilou

Telenovelas are a great inspiration. Do other aspects of Colombian culture influence your songwriting?

I’m fascinated by South American culture in general despite the fact that I grew up in it and I am part of it. It’s so dreamy and emotional and I love that shit. I love channeling the melodrama.

Melodically my songs express the message very clearly, I’m not looking to only reach an American crowd. I want people to understand what I am saying even if they can’t understand the lyrics. I want the emotion to be clear. Music started just being drums, people communicating without words.

When I first started playing I was an outsider in the folk scene and jumped in very late in the game. I don’t want anyone to feel that way listening to my music. You sometimes forget that the world is fucking gigantic and Echo Park venues and the folk scene isn’t all there is for music. It is where I’ve found some of the best songwriters ever and I am constantly inspired by it, but the elephant in the room is that it is predominantly a white scene, and an exclusive genre and I don’t want to exclude anyone.

Dress by Leilou

Your EP is coming out soon. What does it sound like?

The EP is basically just me and a really good band behind – no overproduction, no beats. Everything we had was analogue. It was recorded basically live with great musicians, Kyle Crane on drums, Sam Wilkes on Bass and Josh Grondin on guitar and production. It’s taken from the music I grew up with – which was South American music it’s very melodramatic and surrendering – that vibe, and also the music that I was exposed to when I moved to LA. I was hanging around in the LA folk scene at the time and discovered a lot of new music that I had never heard before. I am embarrassed to say I didn’t even know who Bon Iver, Elliott Smith and Nick Drake were but it was so exciting to discover them in my early twenties.

What do you hope to offer people when they hear your music?

When I listen to music I love I feel like I take my guard down completely. It’s a gut-wrenching, visceral feeling. I want people to experience that. The songs on the EP are very personal and about a very specific time in my life, but I hope it’s relatable not just to a heartbreak but to other emotions and experiences. It’s like a painted a scene and it’s there forever but when people look at it and put themselves in that same place, it suddenly becomes theirs.

Follow Loyal Lobos here.

14 September 2018