Deli Magazine

Love It Or Leave It
- by Jenna Putnam


Lovett plays clean-sounding, well-rounded rock music with a Southern twist. Composer, producer, and frontman Ben Lovett is renowned for writing award-winning scores for films like "The Signal" and "The Last Lullaby", but has been focusing on the band's personal work as of late. "Highway Collection" is a dynamic compilation that is much different from Lovett's former releases. "Eye of The Storm" is full of acoustic guitar, haunting violins, the weeping cello, and eerie falsettos, creating a dark atmosphere much like the music video itself. The video, full of impressive and out-of-this-world special effects, was Lovett's first experience with acting in front of a blue screen. Directed by Chris Alender and shot by Craig Kief, the video tells a story of a lone skycaptain letting go of the things he loves and driving his ship straight into the eye of a destructive storm. The fast-paced and even danceable track "Heartattack" is full of trumpets, trumbones, tambourines and hand clapping, giving it a  1920's swing feel with a rock 'n' roll edge. It's safe to say that Lovett doesn't lack diversity. The highly anticipated album "Highway Collection" debuts March 15th, just in time for SXSW, and should be nothing short of a modern-day masterpiece.


The Deli L.A.: How does your writing process differ as far as scores vs. your songs for "Highway Collection"? 

Ben Lovett:The material for “Highway Collection” was recorded in about 15 different places, whereas the scores are typically done in one concentrated location.  With respects to the writing process, the film scores are about focus and investigation on something very specific.  Highway Collection was meant to be more dynamic and unpredictable, and was a commitment to form and context more than mood and tone.  I was on a mission to write songs, pieces with a journey of their own, and to open up that process to allow anything to happen along the way. 

Deli: Being a musician, composer, and producer, is it more rewarding doing all these things on your own? Does it get overwhelming at times?

 BL: Some of us are very adept at finding ways to get overwhelmed with the things we love and I’m no exception.  Perspective becomes difficult to maintain when trying to juggle those roles simultaneously.  I’ve found that each of those hats fit best when only one is on your head at a time. 

Deli: What are you looking forward to most at SXSW this year? Any certain bands, artists, or films you are particularly excited to see?

 BL: I’m really looking forward to seeing “No Matter What”, “Silver Bullets”, and “Dish And The Spoon” at the film festival.  Amy Seimetz made a cameo in our video for “Heartattack”, she’s an actor and producer in all 3 films and one of the most diversely talented people I know. 

Lovett is actually throwing our own party at SXSW, on Thursday 3/17.  It’s going to be like a house party in the middle of downtown, no stage, all rage.  Should be pretty wild. 

Deli: What was it like making the video for "Eye of The storm" and working with Alender and Kief? Would you say you identify with the lone skycaptain? 

BL: Certainly.  The captain struggles with the sacrifices necessary to continue on his path despite their cost.  I can relate to that.  I think the dimension of the metaphor inherent in the film is broad enough to include relationships, addictions, and life’s journey in general.  Essentially what we see is someone making a single decision and preparing himself for the outcome, knowing much of it is ultimately beyond his control.

 Eye Of The Storm has been a unique experience for me throughout.  It’s been a reversal of my role making music for movies, this time we got to do it in reverse.  I’d never done any blue screen acting, or any another for that matter.  We shot everything in one very long day on borrowed equipment, and then it took a year of postproduction work to finish.  Craig Kief is an immense talent behind the camera, it’s a pleasure to see my song through his lens.  It was the vision of director Chris Alender that made it all happen.  Despite the tremendous ambition of what we were attempting, he got this film made with love and favors from folks all around the world.  It’s a hell of a thing really.  It’s truly satisfying to finish something that looked many times like it may never be. 

Deli: Who are some of your favorite modern day artists? Classic artists? (Can be music, art, writers, etc) 

BL: Miro.  Picasso.  Bukowski.  Hemmingway.  Dave Eggers is good.  Alain de Botton.  Krishnamurti.  Howlin’ Wolf.  Leonard Cohen.  Dylan.  I used to read Al Burian’s stuff, not sure what he’s up to these days.  Check out old issues of Burn Collector. 

Deli: What are some of your favorite things about making "Highway Collection"? Any favorite songs? 

BL: Whichever one playing is usually my favorite.  The thing most satisfying about making Highway Collection has been the variety of people involved in its continued evolution.  There are friends and lovers and strangers on the album; there’s a 100 kids singing on “The Fear”; there’s old friends and new friends and random people we drug into the studio from the bar across the street, things like that.  They’re all part of the record, part of the experience.  Now each song has become the catalyst for an entirely new piece of art in different mediums, expanding into a variety of visual art pieces, films, and paintings by other artists, and so the number of individuals involved keeps growing.  When a song goes out into the world it is no longer the property of its creator, that bird flies away and belongs to the sky. 







Highway Collections