What happens when you combine the raw talent of two vocalists, a drummer, a trumpeter, a keyboardist, a bassist, and a guitarist? In addition to a very crowded stage, you also get Columbia-based band loose loose. With a powerful presence from each of the seven band members, the conglomerate produces an explosive yet technically skilled sound. Loose loose released their first EP, sanguine, last month and just snagged a coveted spot on the Summer Camp Music Festival lineup, so it's not too soon to say they're on the brink of something big. Vox grabbed a few minutes with guitarist Zach Zito and bassist Isaac Vandyne before the crew busts out of Columbia.
What’s the meaning behind the name loose loose?
Isaac: We like to say that we’re both loose in terms of what we play and how we play it. We like to pull from a lot of different genre spaces and styles and musical cultures and traditions. We’re not really tight in terms of a specific style. Throughout our sets, we like to have a lot of improvisational freedom throughout the performance, so it’s loose in the live setting as well.
How would you describe your sound to someone who’s never heard it?
Zach: We call ourselves “future soul,” so we don’t really confine ourselves in one genre because it’s hard to really pick something that is obvious. We initially threw around R&B, and there are a lot of elements of R&B, but we’re so much more than just that. “Future soul” kind of implies a more soulful performance; it doesn’t necessarily need to be that specific genre. And “future” implies just forward thinking.
Who are some of your musical influences?
Isaac: Hiatus Kaiyote is definitely the number one for all of us. After that, it’s pretty eclectic. Some people are more into the instrumental and jazz side of things; some people are more into the R&B and vocals stuff.
Zach: Right, and it’s not just R&B and jazz. Like, I’m definitely really influenced by singers and songwriters; I like Andrew Bird a lot. There’s a lot of different stuff.
There are seven of you. How does your song creation process work?
Isaac: Very organic, very much jam-based. We just sit down, and sometimes, one person will come to the table with an idea that they’ve made already. A lot of times, though, you just sit down and start playing whatever comes to mind, and then somebody else starts to build on that. Because we’ve got seven people, there’s usually a massive ball of sound happening
Zach: Our song “Convenience” started from a simple chord progression. I brought it to them, and it became something completely new that I hadn’t expected it to be.
Isaac: We each kind of write our own instrument’s part, and then there’s a little bit of negotiation and conversation that happens that’s like, “Okay, how do we actually structure this?” Usually the core of an idea for a song happens in a 20- or 30-minute jam session where we just keep building and keep modulating and changing stuff and recording all of it until we feel like we’ve taken that idea as far as it can go. Then we go back and do some post-mortem on it and figure out which bits and pieces we can slice together and put back together in a shorter, more concise structure.
What are your live shows like?
Zach: Improv. Energy.
Isaac: Definitely a lot of emotional interplay between not only just the band members on stage — there’s a lot of communication happening between us — but also between the band and the audience. We really try to vibe with the room, and if they’re giving us love and good energy and listening intently and dancing, that definitely feeds back into us. You can tell when people are connecting with the audience, and we feel more good pressure to perform well and put on a good show. Unfortunately, that sometimes can go the other way as well; if we don’t have a good room, or we’re not having a good connection with the audience, we can kind of stagnate a little bit and not put on the best show we’re capable of.
How has Columbia influenced the band’s path?
Isaac: One of the few advantages of being based in a smaller college town is that, because it’s a smaller pond, it’s easier to get traction and recognition faster than in a massive market like New York or Chicago.
You guys just won the Battle of the Bands competition to get a slot on the Summer Camp Music Festival lineup — how do you feel about that?
Isaac: Relieved. Honestly, that was one of the most stressful events we’ve ever performed. Literally an hour before we went on, the show sold out, and they started turning away people at the door. We obviously still had a bunch of our fans still coming, so we were freaking out at first. We got them to reopen the door and start allowing people to vote for us, and we ended up pulling through there, and we’re going to Summer Camp in May.
What’s next for you guys, and what’s the ultimate goal?
Zach: Next would just be playing festivals since we’ve kind of got a foot in the door. Because those are huge in terms of getting ourselves out there in front of thousands of people and just making a career for ourselves.
Isaac: Yeah, we’re trying to make connections. Beyond that, we’re definitely trying to move out of Columbia into a bigger market where we can reach more people with our music and collaborate with other highly motivated and driven musicians. I love Columbia, but it definitely has its bounds, and we want to go somewhere we don’t feel constrained at all by the place we’re at.
Zach: We’re trying to make the most of it while we’re here because there is always more than you think, but that can obviously come to a certain point.