New York-based band East Love cuts right to the chase. Undeniably culled from pop and rock influences, their catchy choruses find a home between infectious riffs and pleasant crescendos.
The six friends and bandmates write in singer-songwriter style, with soft and sweet lyrics at the forefront of their endeavors. Behind their delightful harmonies, a powerful set of instruments underlay their melodious voices for a full sound that is reminiscent of Mumford and Sons.
East Love consists of Robbie Fink, Lukas Effman, Alex Goldstein, Alex Utay, Andy Koehler, and David Berliner. BTR chatted with Fink, Effman, and Goldstein to spiel about the band’s creative process and their future plans.
BreakThru Radio (BTR): Why don’t we start with how the band formed?
Alex Goldstein (AG): A few of us all went to high school together and we’ve been playing together for a long time. In high school, our senior project was to actually make original music together. We all went to different colleges and I played in another band with Alex Utay, who is currently East Love’s electric guitarist. After moving back to the city after graduating from college, we started playing together again. Over time we went through different phases of what we were doing musically. At first we were purely acoustic, then we added more instruments like a drum set, keys, and electric guitar. Now you have us today as a six-piece band.
BTR: As you were adding more instruments, were you listening to anything in particular that was influencing that transition in your sound?
Lukas Effman (LE): One of the big points of emphasis for us was that we were starting to play on bigger stages. As we went to a lot more live shows, we realized that you don’t want to get drowned up on stage and you don’t want to feel small. Naturally, the more depth you add to a band and the more instruments you add, the bigger the sound becomes. That’s something that became incredibly appealing to us. Alex Utay was the first real move in that direction because of his electric guitar. He was a great stepping point. We used to have a beat boxer, which is cool, but if you’re on stage and you don’t have drums, the sound gets swallowed up a bit.
AG: At the heart of it, a lot of our songs are very singer-songwriter driven. A lot of the guys we listen to, like John Mayer for instance, have super strong solo acts, but hit the stage with big bands that create an intricate take on a song played by one person. In our group, a lot of the individual musicians are so talented at their instruments. They add a ton to our sound.
Robbie Fink (RF): It was less about a change in our musical influences, because at the core of what we’re doing, nothing has really changed. We still write the same types of songs and build them around the same fundamentals. We were adapting to a bigger, more energetic sound for bigger audiences.
BTR: With six of you in the band, how do the songs come together?
LE: This question is so relevant right now. Initially, someone would bring an idea, whether it was fully baked or not, to the rest of the band. What we’ve been doing now, which honestly is incredibly exciting, is we literally sit down together to write. An idea for a song title or a certain jingle or riff will come to us. We write down ideas and literally write out a story collaboratively. If it sounds like it’s hard to do, it totally is. [Laughs] Honestly, we have gotten a lot better at it, but it’s really such an awesome thing to be a part of. Having any amount of opinions in a small space is tough, but it’s really unique when it comes to something like art and writing songs.
RF: It’s really been a positive experience. Before, it was one person writing the songs and the rest of us learned them. But in the past month, we’ve written three songs. We are in song-writing mode. We hash it out together from start to finish. I hope people will hear these songs and agree that they have matured. It’s much more interesting, and overall they are better songs, melodically and lyrically.
BTR: So where will all of these songs fit?
AG: We’re working on an EP. It’s certainly evolving on it’s own right now. We are writing new music as we are recording, so we’re kind of still discussing how many songs we want it to be and how we want to release it. Creatively, we are in a really good place. But it’s going to be out soon and there is going to be new material on it that people haven’t heard yet.
RF: We are working on a bunch of other stuff, too. We just finished recording a cover mash-up. We are filming a video and we’re also planning another original video for the last single that we released. We currently have four released songs and two other that are in various stages of recording right now. We’re looking forward to the next year and we’ll definitely continue moving forward with recording new music.
BTR: In the meantime, do you plan on playing live shows?
LE: Yes! We have a show at Brooklyn Bowl which is really exciting. It’s such a humbling thing to be able to perform at a venue that we’ve been to so often. It’s such an awesome place to go see a show and it’s so awesome to have the opportunity to play there. That’s the big show we have coming up and we are doing everything we can to make sure that when we get on stage, we are brining new songs. We owe it to our fans and we owe it to ourselves, because we are working at this all the time. We are so, so excited.
BTR: You clearly love Brooklyn Bowl. How do you feel about being a part of the New York scene?
RF: We really like to go out and see unknown bands as much as possible. I wouldn’t say it’s overwhelming, it’s the complete opposite. It’s a great thing and it’s an encouraging thing. I love to support people who I may know personally, but I like to hear new music and check out what people are doing. There are a lot of venues that have different artists from different genres play regularly. It’s a great scene to be a part of.
AG: We love New York, but we hope to play shows out of the state soon. We have been concentrated here. When we get through some stuff on our plate right now, we want to venture off and play in places that have never necessarily gotten a taste of East Love yet.
Photo courtesy of East Love.