We chatted origins, influence, and the new album ‘Keep Up‘ with Loose Tooth. Cheery, dreamy, considered, and ‘jangly’, Etta, Nelly, and Luc credit a whole heap of the album’s goodness to their relationship as a band.
You’ve put out a new album this year. I’ve listened to ‘Keep Up’ and I really like it. I think you’ve sort of stuck to that jangly pop style that you’ve had in previous albums. Is there something that draws you to that type of music?
Nelly: I think it’s just the music that comes out of us when all three play together.
Etta: It’s not conscious.
Luc: Yeah, we don’t really set out to do anything. I think we’ve all got similar influences from really early on in our lives. But it’s funny you called it jangly because it was nice just to not hear it called punk
Etta: I always think of us as a punk band.
Luc: Really? Oh god.
Etta: It’s pretty punk.
Nelly: I think we’re a poppy harmony band.
Luc: A music band.
Nelly: Na it’s definitely not a conversation we have or a conscious decision to be a certain style; it’s kind of just what comes out of everyone… And I think we all three write songs individually and bring them to the band and then we all work on them together so there’s definitely the flavour of all us three in each song which probably contributes to the overall sound, but yeah it would be an interesting process to write music with an agenda.
Luc: Yeah it wouldn’t be honest if you did that. And that’s fine if that’s what you do it for. I think that’s fine. It’s just we’ve always worked differently.
I think that’s interesting that you all work on songs separately, and then come together and it still produce that similar sound.
Etta: Yeah totally.
Luc: I could work on something for like a year and not have a certain part of it done and then Etta or Nelly will just say a line and it just comes together and vice versa. So that’s a really special thing. We’ve all played in other bands, many other bands, and I know how rare this sort of connection is to people, and it just definitely translates. Like, things come really easily and effortlessly, which is great: if you’ve got that sort of thing you should really hold onto it and you’ll make your own sound.
That was really good! And you guys are lifelong friends as well aren’t you?
Nelly: Yeah we’ve all been friends since we were teenagers.
Do you think that helps with communicating and bringing different ideas together because you’ve known each other for so long?
Luc: Definitely. The comfort. I’m not ashamed to do something embarrassing.
Nelly: And that shared history. I don’t know, of being at silly parties together when we were young and talking about people that we still know from when we were young. It’s just a closeness that you have from knowing someone for so long I guess.
Etta: That’d be also probably knowing what everyone’s writing about to a degree, and knowing what everyone’s trying to get across. We’re able to add to it and understand what they’re doing as apposed to just…
Because you know each other so well?
And how did you go from being friends to being a band?
Luc: You tell the story Nelly.
Nelly: Luc was playing in another band called Boarders, he’s been in a few bands that I love, another one called Bear Family, and me and Etta used to go and watch him play, and concurrently me and Etta were playing in a band called The Gingers, and we played in another band together just us two… And I think we always sort of thought that getting someone like Luc who we just thought was on such a pedestal musically that we wouldn’t do it. We were like “Oh, he won’t play in our crap band.”
Luc: No way!
Nelly: But he was really excited. We just asked him a few years ago and he was really stoked and then we started practicing and there you go… and we were about to throw in the towel.
Nelly: We were like “we’ll just give it one more year, we can’t be assed after this” and then we got Luc in, and then it jus all connected really well.
Luc: It’s just so fun. This band is aside from other projects where I’ve been the songwriter; it’s just so nice to just have fun, and you know, get along.
Well yeah even in the new album you’ve got the song ‘You Say’ and the lyrics are sort of grungy and a bit heavier but it’s still quite a fun, upbeat song. It’s quite chirpy.
Luc: The contrast is good: I’ve always believed in that.
Do you think it’s your friendship bringing that happiness to the song, or is there a reason you’ve made it that way?
Nelly: That’s an Etta question. That’s Etta’s song.
Etta: I don’t know really. I think I just wrote the song and then it came out like that. Like, it’s quite an angry song, so it’s kind of nice to have fun playing it and like and feel happy doing it with your friends I guess.
Etta: It makes the anger a bit fun. Embrace the anger and be like “ah, whatever” and turn it into something positive.
Luc: You can’t just have one extreme: there’re too many people.
Etta: You don’t want to be a downer all the time.
Luc: There’s enough of that in the world, we don’t need to add more. The cool thing about Etta, that I’ve not noticed with anyone else, is not playing a melodic instrument but still being able to write songs and just hum them out and then we’d just work it out. That was a cool thing.
Nelly: Yeah! Because Etta doesn’t play guitar. Well she does now, but she didn’t. She doesn’t actually play guitar: I’m jazzing it up.
Etta: I’ve done a few Youtube tutorials, and I haven’t done it in like a year. I’ve forgotten it all.
Nelly: She writes so many songs, and will like “I’ve got this song; [hums]”, and then we make it happen. It’s cool.
Catch the remainder of our interview with Loose Tooth in the printed zine. We break down songs from ‘Keep Up’, talk music videos, inspiration and influence, and what’s in store for the band.