An interview with Love Inks’ Sherry LaBlanc
Love Inks have been making waves over the past few weeks with their fresh, infectious pop-rock sound. I recently had the pleasure of chatting with vocalist Sherry LaBlanc – who was extremely pleasant and noticeably excited about their upcoming debut full-length – about the band’s formation, their newly-released single “Blackeye”, and their plans for the future.
MVRemix: To start, how about you give us a little introduction to who you are?
Sherry LaBlanc: Sure! I’m Sherry and I’m part of a band called Love Inks. We’re a three-piece minimalist pop band from Austin, Texas. The three of us are best friends; we started playing music together about a year and a half ago, but we’ve all known each other since we were teenagers or early college and have played music in different bands together in that time.
MVRemix: So you’ve been in other bands with them before?
Sherry LaBlanc: Yeah! Adam and Kevin are the other two guys in the band. Kevin is the primary songwriter and bassist, and Adam is the guitarist. The two of them have never played in a band without the other one. They’ve been in a bunch of bands and I’ve been in and out of a few bands with them before.
MVRemix: Do you just sing in the band or do you play an instrument too?
Sherry LaBlanc: I play a little bit of synthesizer with the band, but I’m CAPABLE of playing guitar, bass, synth….Anything! But for some reason I’m just dabbling a bit on the synthesizer.
MVRemix: You guys don’t have an album out yet right?
Sherry LaBlanc: Right, it comes out on May 10th!
MVRemix: I’m a little bit curious actually, because you guys have seen some pretty decent fame over the past little bit! You’ve released two singles now, “Blackeye” and “Skeleton Key”.
Sherry LaBlanc: Yeah, “Skeleton Key”, oddly enough, was only posted on Stereogum. We just put that one right up on Stereogum, they offered it as a download. “Blackeye” is our official single. That was just released on Monday on 7”. It’s this really beautiful, white vinyl, 7” single.
MVRemix: Is there any new material on that? A b-side or anything?
Sherry LaBlanc: Yeah, the B-side is a song called…I think it’s “Don’t Go” [laughs]. I actually have to grab the 7” to see which one we put on, I’m gonna go look at it [laughs]. But yeah, the 7” is so freaking gorgeous! It was put out by a label called Hell Yes! who are in Venice, and they just do the most beautiful work. They hand screen-print all their covers and it’s always on coloured vinyl…just really good stuff.
MVRemix: That’s awesome! Coloured vinyl is amazing.
Sherry LaBlanc: Our actual album is going to be on hot pink vinyl! I’m really stoked about that. I can’t find my 7”! But I think the B-side is “Don’t Go”. That makes me sound like such a flake [laughs].
MVRemix: So clearly, you’ve got a bunch of songs in the bank, right?
Sherry LaBlanc: Yeah! Our album is gonna have 10 songs on it, but we already have a library of music we’ve been working on. That’s what we do every day: write music and try to filter it down to the best songs. We have a ton of stuff and we’re really excited to get these 10 songs out.
MVRemix: You guys just got back from South by Southwest right?
Sherry LaBlanc: We got to play three shows at SXSW, and we got to into the actual festival. It was funny because the festival shows are usually the least-attended ones, so we had two non-festival shows that were really well attended and really fun. But it was cool to be in the festival either way!
MVRemix: You’ve been getting a bit of steam, fame-wise; you’ve been making the rounds on blogs over the past few months, playing this big festival, and such. How have you guys had so much fame before you even put an album out?
Sherry LaBlanc: [laughs] I think (not to sound too much like a snob) that the album’s just really good! It’s a really good record! I hope that’s why at least.
MVRemix: Oh, so the record’s done already?
Sherry LaBlanc: Yeah, the record’s done. Here’s how everything sort of fell together: it was about a year ago that we finished recording the album, and we started sending a few songs out to a few labels that we really loved. Hell Yes! got back to us right away and said they’d like to put out a 7” for us, which is really all we were looking for. But they’re just really incredible people. Marco Rapisarda, who owns the label, decided he wanted to put out a full-length and…that’s it [laughs]! We’ve been sending our stuff out to blogs and from there other blogs have picked it up. I’m not really sure how it all happened, but it’s really exciting! I think it all started with getting Hell Yes! interested in us though.
MVRemix: Did you record the album yourselves? Did you have a producer or was it just you three?
Sherry LaBlanc: It was just us three. I guess if anything, Kevin was the “producer” on the album. We live in this really old house that was built in 1917 and it has great acoustics. We have an old analog reel-to-reel tape machine and we just recorded it ourselves! It was mixed my Marco in Italy. We had done the mix ourselves, but once he picked us up he wanted to remix the album.
MVRemix: You said you get together to write music every day; so is the band a full-time thing now or are you still slaving away with day jobs?
Sherry LaBlanc: We have day jobs. Adam works at a local grocery store called Fresh Plus, he’s a cashier there, and both Kevin and I work for Kevin’s family. Before working for them I was the director of a non-profit organization here in town called the Capital Area Food Bank, and I did that for years and years. Then his family said that I could go work for them to give us more freedom to focus on the band.
MVRemix: Obviously you guys are really tight with each other.
Yeah, definitely. We’re a trio of best friends, which is really cool! It’s the best way to be in a band.
MVRemix: Have you been touring heavily these days?
Sherry LaBlanc: No, but we’re leaving for tour on May 17th, and that’s when it all really starts. We’re doing a big West Coast Tour that’ll last for about three weeks, and then we’re heading over to New York and playing a bunch of shows there. Then from there we’re heading over to Europe.
MVRemix: Have you all been to Europe before or is it your first time?
Sherry LaBlanc: We all went as teenagers, but this will be our first time as adults. We’re really excited. And it seems like there’s more interest over there, especially in France and the UK, than there currently is in the US. Hopefully we’ll generate some interest with the tour.
MVRemix: Considering you seem to do everything yourselves, is there ever any desire for an outside opinion or influence?
Sherry LaBlanc: We never thought about going to an outside person, but I think the three of us are open to anything. Generally we like to do everything with our friends; all of our album art was shot by friends. So if we had a friend who was like “man, I really want to record you”, I could see us going there, but otherwise, we have the equipment at home and we can just be chill and record on our own time. We haven’t thought about it, but I think we’d be open to anything.
MVRemix: So the album’s going to be 10 tracks; do you have a lot of other material written besides those tracks?
Sherry LaBlanc: Yeah, we have a lot of material backed up. It’s usually Kevin who writes every day; he stays up until the wee hours of the morning geeking out on his synthesizer. Then he’ll bring the stuff to Adam and I and we’ll pare it down from there. Adam’s writes a lot on his own as well, but Kevin’s got a huge back catalogue of songs for us to work on and hopefully start forming the next album. It was such a long process from recording this album to getting it out; I never would have imagined! We want to get started on the next one as soon as possible.
MVRemix: Yeah, you said you recorded the album last year, so it’s been, what, longer than a year since you’ve had it done?
We started recording it last March during SXSW, so yeah, it’ll be over a year by the time it’s released.
MVRemix: That must make you pretty anxious!
Sherry LaBlanc: Yeah! I just want to people to hear these songs so bad! It’s worth the wait though; I just heard the full album, finished, mastered, and on vinyl last week. Hell Yes! came in from Italy and brought us sneak preview copies and it sounds so good! I’m so proud of it. Definitely worth the wait.
MVRemix: With Kevin writing most of the songs, is there ever any hesitation when you add your parts to them? What’s the writing dynamic like?
Sherry LaBlanc: Usually, either Kevin or Adam will bring in a guitar or synth part, and sometimes Kevin comes in with a melody already put to it; sometimes a melody and lyrics. But I’d say about 50 percent of the time I put the melody and lyrics to the songs. We all hammer it out together; it’s a really collaborative process. It’s up to one of us to come up with the basic structure of the song, but from there it’s kind of a democracy of how the song plays out. And Adam’s the drum machine master; he’s a badass on the drum machine! So even if Kevin is writing the song, the beats have a lot of influence on how the song turns out.
MVRemix: What band have you had the most fun playing with over the past little bit?
Sherry LaBlanc: I don’t know who’ll know these people, but everyone should know them because they tour a lot and they’re really great. The best show we’ve had so far is with Soft Healer; they’re another Austin band and they’re some of our best friends. Like I said, it’s just always more fun when you do things with your friends! We played a weekend show in town with them, a band called Silent Diane, and another band called Black Gum. Us and those three other bands are really good friends, and we sold out the venue, which doesn’t happen a lot in Austin with local bands. It was just really fun and it had a big family atmosphere. In second place to Soft Healer, we just played with the Dum Dum Girls at SXSW; one of them is also a really close friend of mine, she was a bridesmaid at my wedding. So finally getting to play with her was really fun too. Also, they’re super-tight and professional; it was weird to see a band that had a sound guy go up and check everything, and do everything beforehand. He jumped in and helped us when we started playing, which was cool too.
MVRemix: Before we wrap this up, is there anything you want to get out there?
Sherry LaBlanc: I think I already got it out, but we’re going to be on tour starting in late May, and I hope people come see our shows! The album’s going to come out and then we’re gonna hit the ground running, so it would be good to have people come out to our shows and see us. We’re really stoked to travel around the US and meet people who dig our music!
MVRemix: Good luck with everything! Come to Canada sometime!
Sherry LaBlanc: We will! We’re going as far north as Portland, which isn’t anywhere close, but hopefully we’ll be in Canada soon!
Upcoming Tour Dates:
April 8, 2011: Dallas, Texas at Club Da Da with Real Estate
April 10, 2011: Austin, Texas at the Parish with Real Estate and Pure X
May 13, 2011: Austin, Texas – Record Release Party with Boyfriend (venue TBA)
April 15, 2011: Austin, Texas at Beerland with Soft Healer
May 19, 2011: San Diego, California at Tin Can Alehouse with Ale Mania
June 2, 2011: Brooklyn, New York at Glasslands Gallery