Since the age of thirteen, Calvin Love has been playing music in his hometown of Edmonton, Canada. Beginning his career in the punk scene, Love’s interest in new wave sprouted with age, as did his urge to start a solo endeavor.
In the past few years, the young multi-instrumentalist gave into his desires and started writing music under his name. The result came in a debut full-length, New Radar, which dropped on November 6 via Aquarium Drunkard’s label, Autumn Tone Records. Amidst the chaos of releasing an album, Love was nice enough to chat with us about how living in Edmonton helped his music writing, the life of a nomad, and how New Radar came to be.
I read that in your younger years, you started a punk band. How did you go from this to your current new wave sound?
Well my influences have always been drawn from a broad spectrum of sounds. Punk has become a pretty general term. In my case it was the way we did things and first way we learned how to play—fast, loud, energetic. I guess as I get older maybe all the other influences started coming out.
You are from Edmonton, Canada, a place with long, cold winters and beautiful summers. How do you feel growing up there has influenced your music?
I’m not sure if it has really influenced my music, but more so offered me a chill place to work on the craft. The long cold winters make it really hard to do anything but stay inside and just work on music. And when the summer hits you get out and play shows, letting everyone know what you were working on while in hibernation.
In the last few years, you’ve become somewhat nomadic, touring with various bands in Los Angeles and elsewhere. How did it feel to basically live on the road for the past five years?
The tour life is the best. You make friends all over the place, and you get really good at living on the go always. But, it's also fucking tough and insane at time—lonely, no sleep, road food sucks. It's definitely not for everyone. But once you get the bug, you can’t shake it. I prefer to spend the majority of my time on the road and leave home time for recording and down time.
Are you more settled now?
A little more settled yes, for now, but my status is still “in transit” until the road calls me out again.
You have been playing in bands your whole life, what made you decide to start a solo project?
It's something I've always wanted to do—an idea knocking in the back of my mind—it just took me a little longer to make the jump. I've played in bands all my life and love doing it, but right now at this time in my life it feels right to do it myself. Give it a shot. Because at the end of the day doesn't everyone just want to do their own thing?
You just released your debut record, New Radar. Did you begin writing these songs while you were on the road with other bands?
Yes and no. There were definitely a few older ideas that I had mapped out in my head and put aside for later, which I then sifted through for New Radar and worked out into full songs. But for the rest of it I wrote all the songs in about three weeks at my studio in Edmonton.
You have a background in punk and D.I.Y., and there are glimpses of these in your record, but what would you say were your largest influences on this album?
The largest influence on this record was D.I.Y. I pushed myself to the limits to put it all together and use what I had, finding cheap gear in the classifieds or in the alley behind my apartment. But most of all I pulled from life experiences that I had prior to the New Radar record. That combined with some pop hooks, melodies and minimal song arrangement and BAM! New Radar was made! There you have it.
Autumn Tone Records, Aquarium Drunkard’s label, is releasing you debut. How did you get connected with them?
I lived in Los Angeles for five years, and I made some good friends, especially one good friend Erica Fairchild who is my manager now. She got hold of it and put it out there to the powers, which was important. If it wasn't for her bridging the gap between artist and business/exposure, New Radar might still be on my shelf in the studio.
Do you plan on going on tour soon?
Yep if all goes according to plan I will be on the road early 2013. Look out!
What’s next for Calvin Love?
Make more records and tour.