Lowertown: “It’s nice to hear people who embrace a manic way of living”

In five short years, Atlanta’s Lowertown have graduated from high school classrooms to the Dirty Hit roster. On their debut album ‘I Love To Lie’, the duo are expanding their horizons even further.

Take one listen to the debut song from Atlanta’s Lowertown and it’s hard to comprehend the situation in which it was born. A warm but haunting track that, even with its rough-edged charm, feels accomplished in its own right, ‘George’ would be the first tentative step from a duo that five years on, are getting ready to release their first album proper. Rewind the clock back to its creation, when the pair had finally decided to give making music a go, however, and things were a little different.

“I’m really shy,” offers up one half of the band, Olivia Osby. Sat next to bandmate Avsha Weinberg, she’s detailing how it felt to first sing in his presence, back when the pair were just 16. Having met one another in a high school maths class, it then took them another seven months to finally decide on giving a band a go. “The idea of performing in front of someone literally scared the shit out of me! That first song we recorded together, we were in his studio in his basement and he was like, ‘We’re not leaving until you sing in front of me’. It took about three or four hours to get me to actually sing, and I was crying like, ‘I really can’t sing in front of you, this is too much!’ But eventually we did it and broke the ice,” she laughs. “No pain, no gain!”

Spurred on by a feeling that “whatever we were about to do was gonna be really good, it was gonna be really genuine,” Avsha’s gut instinct to push through was on the money. Since then, the duo have released three EPs (including last year’s ‘The Gaping Mouth’) and caught the attention of Dirty Hit, who signed them before they’d even graduated. And while their earlier work may be more closely tied to their experiences of youth, the end game’s always been to create something much wider.

“Our goal was never to convey this youthful nature, which was inevitably in our music at the beginning,” explains Avsha. “Each project is very much the closest we can get to reflecting what’s happening [in our lives] right then. The record we made when we were 16, we were young; our purpose was to figure out how to capture being young and intimidated and confused. We always try to be genuine to how we’re feeling when we’re writing a record. It’s trying to chronicle our lives a little bit.”

“Each project is very much the closest we can get to reflecting what’s happening [in our lives] right then.”

— Avsha Weinberg

Gaining experience and confidence - and ultimately just growing as people - the past five years have led to the pair opening themselves up even further on forthcoming debut full-length, ‘I Love To Lie’. Again aiming to chronicle their lives and mood, it was a move to New York that first propelled the duo to expand their sonic palette, before a recording trip to London where they worked with producer Catherine Marks turned the tables again.

“I knew we wanted to write some heavier music, because we were both really angry at that time in our lives, especially living in New York,” Olivia offers up. “Then a lot of the quieter stuff came when we were actually in London recording, and we got really sad.” What did London do to you?! “Oh my god, what did London not do to us!” Avsha quips.

“I had just gone through a break up, so I was really in my feels,” Olivia notes, “and we had both just turned 20 so we were contemplating our mortality as people, not being teenagers anymore. It was just a lot of existential feelings I guess.” “We were also there in the dead winter, in the middle of the [pandemic] tier stuff,” adds Avsha, “and then we got COVID…”

A melding pot of differing styles, ‘I Love To Lie’ acts as a potent journey through the band’s psyche, hung together by the vulnerable lyricism that Olivia has become known for. The likes of opener ‘My Friends’, with its breakneck punk spirit, and the frenetic spiralling of ‘I’m Not’ - Avsha’s first time singing lead vocals - sit shoulder-to-shoulder with the dark reflection of ‘It’s It’s It’s’ and the gorgeous swoon of ‘Waltz in Ab’, an ode to a friend of Olivia’s who was sucked into drug addiction, that also saw Avsha use his classical piano background to stunning effect. “We’ve ne ver made anything like that before,” Olivia nods, “so I’m very proud of that one specifically.”

As for what they’d hope listeners might take away from the album, in reflection of the eclecticism that runs through it sonically, they hope it encourages people to embrace their multitudes. “I always feel like it’s nice to hear people who embrace a manic way of living,” Avsha says. “You know, it’s OK if you’re not stable; that’s what makes you unique and gives you your own voice. It’s about embracing the manic nature of being alive and being a person.”

‘I Love To Lie’ is out now via Dirty Hit.

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