Interviewed By: Gregory Ayers
While rock trio The Love Load has been officially together as a band for just a couple years, each member’s musical expertise spans longer than most artists currently performing in the area. After Ben Azzara, Blaine Misner, and Ted Watts spent several years performing under various projects both nationally and internationally, all three members joined forces to incarnate The Love Load and the band’s first debut album, The Human Resourceful. Encompassing a distinct mix of hard rock with a dash of punk, the release was unbashful at showcasing the creative abilities of the band-an avant-garde approach to rock that put a clear fingerprint to The Love Load’s identity. This month, the group has now released a new EP, Three on a Match, which is a continuation of the unique musical aesthetic presented in The Human Resourceful. DMD spoke with The Love Load more about the creative process behind the release, their journey as a band thus far, and what’s in store for their future.
D.C. Music Download: How do you feel about how the new EP? What were you trying to accomplish with this release, and do you think you achieved that goal?
Ted Watts: I wanted this record to sound more like a band, and less like “bass-player-makes-a-solo record,” which is kind of how I felt about our first record sometimes. I think we got the sound we were looking for in that regard. Blaine [Misner, The Love Load guitarist and producer] did a lot of heavy lifting, producing and playing guitar on the record.
Overall, this EP was a success. We had two main goals: release a follow-up to our first record, and release it in a special format, which we did by releasing the EP in the 33 RPM 7-inch format.
DMD: How did you approach crafting the songs on this EP?
TW: I wanted to pack as much of a story as I could into 3 ½ minutes. Each song is packed. Blaine participated in the writing and editing process, and challenged me to continually cut stuff down to the essentials.
Musically, this was a group process. This is a Love Load record. It sounds like a Love Load record. We were working towards the same goal, and it’s a better record because of that.
DMD: Was it hard to accept the pushback from Blaine?
TW: No. I enjoyed the challenge, the discipline of paring down the text. Blaine totally earned respect on this record. His contribution can’t be overstated. I love how with his guitar playing, he changes his tone to match my lyrical shifts in character perspective. He changes to match changes in vocals, moods, and characters.
DMD: What influenced your style of singing from the viewpoints of multiple characters within one song?
TW: I was an English literature major in college, so that provided the narrative influence you hear in our songs. One thing my professors always told me was “Show, don’t tell.” In a song, that’s important but hard to do, and the way you show a character in song is through dialogue. It’s important to slip into the character’s emotional skin and speak from their point of view, even if you find that character repellent.
DMD: How did you from being a literature major to being in the Love Load? What were the steps along that journey?
TW: There is a lot in between being a literature major and being in Love Load. I’ve been in many bands over the years, Ben’s been in many bands. We played together in a band called Pup Tent, which ended in 2009.
Love Load happened when I started working on a solo project. Ben was in New York, and I got in touch with him. I wanted a real ‘70s rock sound for that record, and a good friend of mine recommended Blaine as a producer. I sat down with Blaine and interviewed him and felt he was a good fit for what I wanted. He played guitar on a few tracks, too. That record became Love Load’s first record.
DMD: Ben, how did you go from being a jazz-trained drummer to being involved with Dischord Records? The two seem worlds apart.
Ben Azzara: I’ve been playing drums since I was seven, and performing live since the age of twelve. While I was jazz-trained, all the bands I played in were punk bands.
I’ll play with anyone I think is awesome. I was in six bands in 2008, though that was a bit much. Now I’m playing with the Love Load and the D.C. Improvisers Collective.
DMD: Now that you’ve released the new EP, what’s next for the Love Load?
BA: Ted is writing more material. We want to go through the same process we did for this new record. We want to keep making 7-inches, to make a product that is special. Having to keep the record to only a few songs also forces you to be judicious about the songs. Those four songs that made the new EP-they really have a lot of prominence. More so than if they were on a sixteen track album.
Being in a band is a continual process. We want to release more music with a shorter turnaround, to keep building up the really nice, dedicated fan base and build their enthusiasm and dedication, which we’re grateful for.
[originally for DC Music Download on 12 November 2012]
Listen to Three on a Match: