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Emotions In Motion
A Conversation with We Love You's Caleb Lewis
By John Hubner
Fort Wayne Reader
So what's Marion, Indiana known for? I thought it was just a name on a highway sign off of 13S on the way to Indianapolis. Turns out, there's more to it. It's the birthplace of James Dean and Garfield cartoonist Jim Davis (though both were raised in nearby Fairmount.) It's also where Julia Roberts and Lyle Lovett were married in 1993 (weird, right?)
Marion is also the home of the great band We Love You. They venture out of the Grant County line to play shows, though. Perhaps you've seen them in Fort Wayne or Indianapolis? If not, you need to make a point to check them out.
We Love You consists of Caleb Lewis (guitar, vocals), Justin Barsha (bass), and Travis Scriba (drums). Caleb sat down and talked with me about the band, the music, and their writing process.
J. Hubner: How did We Love You band come together?
Caleb Lewis: We Love You started as my secret solo project. I had been writing a ton but was always very nervous to play the songs live by myself. Travis (drummer) and I were in a band called Portland together, and that band had just disbanded, so we really had nothing going at the time. I asked him if he'd like to get together and play some tunes I had been working on and it all went from there. Justin(bassist) and I are cousins so we grew up playing music together, him and I have always been on the same wavelength when it came to playing together, so I knew i needed him to be in this band. I really had no idea that it would be more than a one show kind of band, but it really took off and I'm glad we stuck with it.
J. Hubner: Listening to your Bandcamp I'm hearing a lot of influences musically. Emo and hardcore for sure, but I can even hear bands like Band of Horses, Nothing, Death Cab For Cutie, Built To Spill, and Sunny Day Real Estate to name just a few. Who are some influences on We Love You's sound? Btw, some great guitar playing.
Caleb Lewis: Thank you for the kind words! Band of Horses are definitely a huge influence on what we do, glad you caught that. I grew up listening to way too much Bright Eyes, so Conor Oberst is probably the biggest influence on my writing style. Pink Floyd is my biggest influence as far as tone and the types of effects we use. But once the band gets together and hashes the songs out, you can start to hear each members influences come out individually.
J. Hubner: We Love You's based out of Marion. What's the music scene like in Marion? Do you guys have a crew there you can relate with or do you need to get out of the city limits for that?
Caleb Lewis: The music scene in Marion is definitely not what it used to be. We've only played our hometown three times if that tells you anything haha. Two of those times were just in the past couple of months. Our buddy Chris Isaacs just opened up his home to house shows, and they're are turning out awesome. It's extremely awesome to see a venue in our small town again, let alone a house venue. There's not much of scene for our type of music in town, so we definitely have to branch out to Fort Wayne and Indy to hang with our buds. Shade, Ryan Kerr, and Continue The Story from Fort Wayne are all killing it right now. Our friends Anna Sage from Indy just signed with Mutant League Records and are about to blow up. I think we consider ourselves more apart of their music scenes than the one we have in Marion.
J. Hubner: Back to the Bandcamp page, you guys have amassed a nice collection of tunes since 2014. Tell me about the recording process. Where do you record your songs? What's the writing process like for We Love You?
Caleb Lewis: Our writing process is usually me writing the basic structure of the song then bringing it to practice to really bring it to life. We are actually going to be recording a new EP here in just a couple weeks, and we took a different approach with these songs. We all actually sat in the practice space together and wrote the songs. It was a pretty awesome experience and kind of helped me get a better idea of how the dudes are feeling about certain things. It makes writing a ton more fun having everyone there, its a lot less stressful than sitting down by myself and going mad trying to write the next coolest song. I think we will continue writing more together opposed to me writing alone. Up until our split with Krelboyne I recorded everything you've heard on Bandcamp. I have a small studio in my home that I work out of. It was becoming way too stressful doing it all myself, so I branched out to my buddy Matt Riefler. I'd never recorded with anyone outside of myself, so it was pretty nerve-wracking bringing the songs to someone else. But he couldn't have made us more comfortable, and I still can't believe how great the songs turned out. He is definitely our go to guy for everything now.
J. Hubner: Listening to the releases, there's been a real progression in sound over the last two years. There was definitely a hardcore beginning, but by this latest release, April's 'Krelboyne/WLY', the sound has really smoothed out into a very dreamy vibe. "Weed Break" is a killer track. Has a Whirr/Nothing vibe to it. "32 RPM" definitely picks up the pace, but "Away" is a beautiful dream pop track. Do you feel the band going into more of a shoegaze direction?
Caleb Lewis: It's funny you say that because those three songs were some of the first songs we wrote as a band. But the newer songs I spoke about earlier are a little dreamier than usual. That's probably because we've been hearing and playing the split songs so much that we are just on that same vibe. I've never really had a set genre for this band, I've always just wrote and kind of went with it. I think different songs call for different things. That's a big part of who we are as a band. I don't want to limit us to one genre, I want people to be able to listen to different sides of WLY. When people aren't into the louder side of things, there’s always the softer stuff that they may catch their ear. I also don't want people to expect us to sound the same with each release we put out. It's fun to surprise people every time we release something new.
J. Hubner: Everything released up to this point has been singles and EPs. Is there a possibility of a We Love You full-length in the near future? I get the immediacy of releasing singles and EPs, but there's nothing like digging your teeth into an excellent long player.
Caleb Lewis: That's our next big step. We will be releasing one more EP later this year, then we will begin writing for the full length. I get so excited about the songs we are writing that I just want to record and release them. I'm extremely impatient with these things (laughs).
J. Hubner: What's the touring schedule look like for We Love You in the near future?
Caleb Lewis: We will be heading out on a week long tour with our friends Plans from Indy. I believe that starts in mid July. Those dates should be announced very soon. We may try to do another week tour sometime in November. We all work full time jobs, so its a very difficult process getting the time off work at the same time. Convincing our bosses to let us off work for a week is probably the hardest part (laughs).
J. Hubner: So what's the rest of 2016 look like for We Love You? Touring? Recording? Leaving scorched earth in your wake?
Caleb Lewis: We will be spending most of the summer recording, touring the midwest a tad bit, and playing some really rad festivals. We are playing MSM Fest on June 18th, seriously one of the coolest fests to play and attend. Mini Mayhem on June 25th. Then July 30th is Matter Fest, which I'm sure if going to be bigger than ever this year.
Follow We Love You on their Facebook page (facebook.com/weloveyou). Then head over to their Bandcamp page at weloveyouin.bandcamp.com and download some of their tunes. And get out and see them live.