Love Alive is one of the many unique acts Columbus has to offer. Their diverse sound, stemming from a diverse taste in music, blends into multiple instruments coming together to create something melodic and cohesive.
A catchy, pop backbone to their songs gives the different members a chance to embellish their hooks with violins and saxophones. An expansive touring history in just three years and led them to opening for bands like Zoo Trippin’ and their own EP release show at Woodlands Tavern.
I caught up with David Lurie, the guitarist, vocalist, and primary songwriter, to learn more about Love Alive’s history and influences.
TIS: What’s the history of the band and how did you get started?
David Lurie: I’m from Cleveland originally, and I started the band with someone I went to high school with. It was around 2014, right when I was moving to Columbus to get into the scene here. We were going to school and playing shows for a couple of years mostly as a rock group. About a year ago was when we started fresh with the lineup we have now and making the music we just released. It’s been about 3 years total, but about a year using this lineup.
TIS: The EP you just put out is your first release, and you had a show to celebrate it a few nights ago. How was it?
DL: Oh it was great! We were really pleased with the crowd that came out. Like I said, a lot of us aren’t from Columbus originally so it was really awesome to see that all the time we put into playing in the community was for a good cause. Great crowd, awesome support, and Woodlands Tavern is our favorite place to play. We sold a bunch of the CDs and t-shirts we just made, so it was a really good reception. It was a fantastic night.
TIS: Take me through the new EP – some of the major themes and how it came together musically.
DL: About two years ago was when my music taste evolved into listening to a lot of jazz. Previously I was into a lot of classic rock like Led Zeppelin or soul music like Marvin Gaye or Stevie Wonder. As I got older, I got more involved with jazz, and this record is a combination of all of those things we’ve gotten into as individuals. We’ve been working to put together all of these genres and interests, and therefore growing as musicians.
Jazz and blues music has been a huge part of our country’s roots. Whether people recognize it or not, it’s everywhere, in so many different songs and styles. It’s a huge foundation as what we’ve done as a country.
The first song, “What You Wish For”, I think is very recognizable for jazz fans as far as how it’s written. It’s still got those catchy pop melodies that you hear in modern music.
Our second song “Buried in the Sand” is our single, which has got a very melodic, pop feel. It’s a sing along, but it’s very emotional and comes from the heart. As a writer, I try to always be honest. It’s a very cathartic experience for me, so I try to always try to put myself into the song. It’s very open, and it’s got a jazz feel to it as well.
For the third track, “Mask”, we wanted to expand and try something completely different from anything we’ve ever done before. If you listen to it on the record, it’s got some synth stuff and a lot of electronic elements, which was a really fun part of making the whole thing. We were challenging ourselves with that song and I think it turned out really well. I think it still plays well with the rest of the EP, and it shows a little bit of a darker side as well.
The last song, “Paralyzed”, is showing true to our old roots as it’s a rock n’ roll song with some funk elements. It still has got the catchy hooks to sing along to.
TIS: There’s a diverse instrumentation throughout the band; I’ve heard horns, strings, and synths. What’s the inspiration behind doing that and how does it come together when you’re writing it?
DL: I think with Columbus being such a hotspot for diverse musicians, we really never want to just pin ourselves down to a style. We always want to be pushing the envelope and combining genres because that’s what modern music has to do. Now we all have this great history of music and it’s so accessible, so we don’t want to limit ourselves.
Kevin, who plays keyboards and violin, was someone that I met earlier on in my time in Columbus. He’s one of the most amazing young musicians as a violinist, and we thought he could play keys as well, even though he hadn’t done that in a group before. I think it fills out our sound really well.
Hayden, the saxophonist is another guy we met playing our shows, and we knew that with what we wanted to do on the record, he could help us get there. He added an element to the sound that could separate us from a lot of other bands.
I think in the process of making the album, the band had a coming of age with experiencing and recording it on our own. Everything we put out on the EP is what we’re able to do and just a glimpse of what we’ll do moving forward.
TIS: You mentioned the jazz influence being really strong, and we’ve seen movies like La La Land come out in the past year where everyone’s trying to “save jazz”. Where do you see the genre fitting into our society now?
DL: Jazz and blues music has been a huge part of our country’s roots. Whether people recognize it or not, it’s everywhere, in so many different songs and styles. It’s a huge foundation as what we’ve done as a country.
While jazz can scare the average listener away, a part of what we’ve doing is trying to show people that it is more accessible than they think. There are a lot of popular bands out there playing jazz elements in their music, even if people don’t realize it. I’ve been to countless jazz shows around Columbus and the jazz shows at the Woodlands Tavern are packed every time. It’s a white variety of ages, and it’s just these old ‘jazz heads’ who have been listening to Miles Davis and John Coltrane their whole lives.
I really hate classifying music one way or another, but I think jazz always will be apart of music, though people may not know it. On our record, it’s a little bit more prevalent, but I think we were still able to do it in a way that encompasses pop and rock, too.
TIS: Where do you see the band going?
DL: We named this EP Hold Your Tongue, which is a lyric from “What You Wish For”. But we also wanted to signal that this just a taste of what we want to do. We’re really focusing on writing new music and we hope to be a lot more material more often.
In the past we’ve been focusing on playing three shows a week, but we want to show people that we’re a band to write music and that’s what it’s all about. We’ll keep playing those shows around the country, but we want to put out another EP and an album within this year.
Our website is going up soon, so we can show ourselves to people who have or have not seen us live. We’re going to keep pushing the envelope and not try to repeat what’s been done.