Sign up

I Experienced Love, No. 05

Get to know this LA-born 20-year-old making alternative music.

I discover his SoundCloud at 1:30 AM on a Wednesday in October, and I send him an interview request via email 24 minutes later (I realize now that it was a missed opportunity to tell him that I experienced love when listening to his music). At some point over the next few weeks, I ask about prospective professional progress, to which he says, “I don’t think any level of success or creativity will feel ‘professional’ until I start performing live. Aside from that though, I want to be on a level where people DM me creepy stan shit. That’s one of the things I miss from my Slow Hollows days, if only for the sheer amount of entertainment that creepy DMs bring to the table."

His titles--“Careful (Did You Care?)” to “I Lost Nothing” to “You And Yours”--are consistently thoughtful and benevolent (as are his lyrics). Virna Lindt, OMD, John Maus, and Wicca Phase Springs Eternal are, in no particular order, some of his top influences. “I think I’m pretty good at not directly emulating them,” he adds, and I’d agree; the I Experienced Love sound is singularly recognizable (synth-heavy, a strain of discoesque, new wave-y alternative dance). As for its emotion: “I think it’s the feeling of not knowing exactly how you feel.”

Danceable and replayable may be the best description I can give, although yet another way of putting it is music that you feel like you can be yourself to, music that you can enjoy but process your emotions to. Even the somewhat slower, more reflective tracks like his cover of TELE/VISIONS' (now Current Joys') “Neon Hell” leave me involuntarily swaying in my desk chair. I mostly can’t understand the content and delivery of his lyrics, and this ambiguity is intentional: “I usually prioritize the sonic feeling that lyricism adds before I consider the actual content of those lyrics.” In my book at least, an artist who releases music that you can simultaneously dance to and dwell on (and who’s entertained by creepy stan DMs) is an artist worth getting to know. I’ll additionally note that my interactions with him, from that very first email to the very last edits of this article, were nothing but welcoming and warm. Here’s I Experienced Love.

Who are you?

I’m a 20-year-old solo alternative artist.

Where’s home for you?

Los Angeles, but I’m living in the desert right now.

What do you mean living in the desert? Like, the Sahara? The Wild, Wild West? Are you sleeping directly under the stars?

Hahaha, I live in Las Vegas.

What brought you there?

The hustle and bustle of LA was a little too much for me. I’m also sort of a hermit and I felt like there was no reason for me to be paying the premium to live in LA when I wasn’t even taking advantage of the things that LA has to offer.

Has Vegas proven itself to be your pace and style so far?

I love living here. The general feel of this city is definitely my pace, aesthetically/stylistically that is. But there’s more to living in a place than just appreciating the cool buildings and stuff - I definitely think it’d be nice to meet some like-minded people that live here. I honestly don’t know if that exists though. (If you live in the 702 and you’re reading this, please for the love of all that is good, hit me up!!!)

Coolest Vegas building you’ve seen so far?

Oooh, that’s a really tough one. I don’t know if I can narrow it down to a single property, but there are some reeeeally cool houses in the neighborhoods down behind the strip.

Prior to releasing music written by you (as I Experienced Love), you were a member of Slow Hollows.

Austin (Anderson) transferred to my high school halfway through freshman year and started the band with a couple other people. They were looking for a 2nd guitarist, and it just sorta happened, since the only other guitar player we knew who lived around us at that time was a tooootal douche. I was in the band from 2013 to 2017. I learned a whole lot from that band, especially Austin and his creative drive. Thinking back to my experiences in that band is definitely part of what pushes me to create stuff in the way that I do, even though I’d consider their music exponentially more profound and developed than mine.

Any particularly notable experiences?

I definitely look back on all the tour hijinks and remember that in a positive light. It was really cool being able to see new places with my friends. My first performance with Slow Hollows was at Lot 1 Cafe in Echo Park - I’m pretty sure I came up on stage towards the end of the set and played like 3 songs. I was nervous as hell but it was the first time I actually felt rewarded with music. Like, a bunch of people were really enjoying the sounds that I was contributing to in a live setting. It was pretty surreal.

Do you have a dream venue for I Experienced Love?

Right now my only ideal prospective venue would literally be The Smell in Downtown LA. For as much as people like to make fun of the DIY music culture in Los Angeles, The Smell undoubtedly played a huge role in not only my development as a musician, but also as a person in general. I definitely want my first IEL set to be at The Smell, just not quite sure when I’ll feel ready to present this material live.

The first time I went to The Smell was for a breakfast show - the lineup was Palm Reader, Moses Campbell, Peter Pants (r.i.p.), Heller Keller, and Surf Curse. I probably look back on that as the most fun show I’d ever been to at that venue. It was my first of many times seeing those bands live, and I was just so excited to see these bands I admired in such an intimate setting. That’s what was great about that scene though: you could see all your favorite bands perform to a 150-cap room.

Would you say that your upbringing at The Smell helped to shape your interest in alternative music?

I’ve only ever really gravitated toward “alternative” music, so I can’t really imagine myself ever making music that isn’t alternative. Like, I’m definitely not going to evolve into a country artist or something, haha.

Is alternative also what you prefer to listen to?

Yeah, I mainly gravitate towards synth-driven stuff (Drab Majesty and Geneva Jacuzzi are a couple current favorites), as well as “emo rap” or whatever you’d want to call that (Wicca Phase, Bones, etc).

What do you tend to do on a day-to-day basis?

My daily routine is pretty mundane. For a while I was just working all day every day, but after recently quitting my job my days have felt a bit more unproductive. It’s hard to create music when you feel like you aren’t productive in other parts of your life, but I’ve gradually been sinking back into creativity.

Did you quit your job to focus more on music?

I actually quit my job because it was taking a huge mental toll on me. I was doing tech support for a large cell phone company. It started making me super anxious feeling like I had to completely fix problems for other people when I have my own stuff in my life that I

gotta deal with, if that makes sense.

I hope you’ve found some peace since leaving the position. Would you say you have some kind of dream job?

My dream job would definitely be in music (ideally being a musician). I wanted to be a cop when I was like 4, haha (obviously I didn’t understand the implications of that or what that actually entails. Definitely wouldn’t want any part of that as an adult). Besides that though, I’ve pretty much wanted to be a musician since the day I first picked up a guitar. Music has been a part of my life since I was a little kid, and I can’t really imagine a life where I’m not making music in some regard.

And when did you first pick up a guitar?

I took guitar lessons with my dad when I was 9 or 10. I think that’s what sparked my initial interest in music.

Did you ask for those guitar lessons with your dad, or did he offer them?

He actually offered them and if I remember correctly, I was a little resistant at first. I’m glad I ended up doing them though, because I probably wouldn’t be making music today if I hadn’t taken those lessons.

What other instruments do you both play?

My dad doesn’t really play any instruments anymore, but I dabble a little with the drums.

Why I Experienced Love? It’s a beautiful name.

I really appreciate that! I think it’s a pretty beautiful name too, hah. I’m a huge fan of an 80s pop artist named Virna Lindt, and she’s got a track called “I Experienced Love.” I was (and still am) into the general sentiment of that phrase. Beyond that it sort of just rolls off the tongue, at least in my opinion.

When did you first hear Lindt?

A friend of mine passed away and I was looking through all of his old Spotify playlists. I landed on a playlist where he added her album Play/Record and I was HOOKED as soon as I heard the first track.

I’m sorry for your loss. Any other love-at-first-listens that come to mind?

The first time I heard “Sappy” by Nirvana when I was like 11, definitely.

Is that around the age that you recorded your first song?

I think I was 14 when I recorded my first song. It actually wasn’t that bad, although the lyrics were vapid as hell and the instrumental could’ve used a little more than a single guitar track drowned in reverb.

Where did you record it?

I recorded that song on my laptop at my parents’ house.

And why?

I guess the only reason I really started recording stuff at that time was because I felt left out - everyone around me was making music, and I wanted to be creative too.

Do you mostly mean your classmates? Or peers from outside of school? Besides Slow Hollows, did you collaborate with any of them?

eah, I’m mostly referring to my peers from outside of school - the people I would hang out with at shows, yada yada. Nah, I’ve honestly never

collaborated with anyone aside from emotionull (Arizona-based hip hop artist who I reconnected with after 9 or 10 years; he was pretty much my best friend in 5th-6th grade), and Platform Visionary (who I also reconnected with after going to the same middle school). Oh, and P.H.F.

How would you describe the music you’ve made? Do you strive for a particular aesthetic or feeling?

Beyond the general sound of my music, I like to think that there’s a lot of variety between songs. This usually comes from my sporadic emotions. A lot of my songs follow a pretty simple major key progression, but I also have quite a few tracks that are a bit more experimental. The experimental shit tends to come to fruition when I’m angry or sad about something. If I had to boil down my music to a general emotional feeling, I think it’d be the feeling of not knowing exactly how you feel.

Do you have a set creative process to always arrive at this emotional state?

My creative process tends to vary a lot from song to song. I have some stuff that I busted out in an hour, while other songs of mine sat on my hard drive for months as instrumentals before I even knew how I wanted to incorporate lyrics into the song, and before I fine-tuned them in a way that I felt comfortable releasing. I talk a lot of shit in my lyrics, which I like because I feel like I get a total free pass to project my feelings about specific people and things as long as the vocals have enough reverb on them to the point where they’re pretty much unintelligible. If the lyrics in a song of mine are easily heard, that’s because I wanted it to be that way (and vice versa). I usually prioritize the sonic feeling that lyricism adds before I consider the actual content of those lyrics.

Why do you think you can bust some tracks out but need to sit on others for months? What is it that makes instrumentals that sit on your hard drive for months so hard to comfortably finetune?

The ones I bust out quickly tend to be the most honest tracks, if that makes sense. They’re more of a direct projection of my thoughts than some of the other ones. The ones that sit for longer are the ones that I really like the sound of, but just can’t decide on the direction in which I want to take them.

Are you into equipment in a big way? What’s your setup?

I’m chilling on a pretty modest setup at the moment. Currently working with a Roland JDXI and Shure SM57, both running through a cheapy interface. Sometimes I feel like I’m *cheating* or something when I see people with crazy expensive setups. At the same time, I feel a certain sense of pride for creating the sounds that I create without breaking the bank. I don’t even think I would buy much more equipment if I was filthy rich. (Maybe just a Linndrum LM-1). You don’t even WANT to know what digital audio workstation I primarily use, haha.

If presented with the opportunity, would you sign with a label?

If I reached a level of moderate success, I’d definitely love to stay independent through that. But if I were to be at a point where signing to a label could only help, then I definitely wouldn’t be opposed. It would just be about taking the right offer. Again though, I’m nowhere near that point.

You create (most of?) your own music videos/Instagram content/cover art.

I like to putt around in the world of videography, but at the same time I can acknowledge that I’m by no means a videographer. I feel like a lot of the videography/editing work for music videos turns into a pissing contest for who can, like, keyframe complicated elements the best. I’m just into making stuff that pleases my own eye.

Is the bubblegum Mercedes SL that almost appears to be an I Experienced Love mascot some kind of dream car?

I’ve always wanted a car like that for whatever reason. I just think they look tight, and cars like that sort of aesthetically connect with the music I make.

Are you working on anything now?

I am! I’m currently working on a full-length, slowly but surely. I’d say that’ll be out around December. Definitely going to be releasing one-off tracks between now and then, though.

Anything to say regarding the Internet? How has it helped I Experienced Love become the I Experienced Love we can listen to and experience love with today?

I think the Internet is the only place that can really accept music along the lines of what I create. For that reason, I’m definitely glad I was born in this generation where music is so easily shared and accessible. I love the Internet. I would love for the Internet to love me.

I Experienced Love is on Instagram, Twitter, SoundCloud, and BandCamp.

Show Internet Instrumentalists some love on Instagram and Facebook, or join the conversation on Reddit. Consider supporting AXON, the start-up behind Internet Instrumentalists, on Patreon. In the meantime, experience love.

By Cloude