Nashville's LOYALS are a contagious fusion of alternative, pop, and a little R&B all rolled into one three piece band. Dane Allen (vocals, guitar), Evan Thon (bass), and Andrew Gomez (guitar) have been playing together since they were just teens. "We all grew up playing in different bands together so when it came time for Loyals to start, it just felt natural between the three of us," Allen explained. The trio just released their self-titled debut album on February 2nd via Tooth & Nail Records including tracks like "Hold On" and "IDC."
The album is bright and poppy with catchy hooks and relatable lyrics. The band draws inspiration from a wide array of musicians of "literally everyone" including The 1975, Anberlin, and even One Direction. The mix of sounds leaves Loyals somewhere not quite pop, not quite alt, not quite 90's R&B ballads, but it blends very well. "Hold On" is a melodic electronic sounding anthem while "Bail Out" is a get out on the dance floor hit that teeters heavily on pop-punk. According to Allen, it took some time to settle on the final twelve tracks, writing around one hundred songs through production of the album. After putting together a song Allen would head to Gomez and Thon. "If Gomez and Evan like it, then we eventually get together at Gomez’s studio and put all three of our brains on the song to flesh out musical parts and ideas."
Loyals hit the road with Emery the week of their album release, grabbing the attention of the hardcore crowd goers with their pop beats. "The crowds were super warm and welcoming, so sticking out like a sore thumb was actually really fun," Allen remarks. The lyrics on the album highlight the good and the bad points of life -- "life is never all sunshine and rainbows." If you weren't able to catch Loyals on their Florida/Atlanta run, there's talk of another tour this year, so keep an eye out for them coming to your town.
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Read our interview with vocalist Dane Allen in it's entirety below
You did a quick run with Emery through Florida (and Atlanta!) – how were the shows?
Great! The rest of the bands on the tour were hardcore/rock, so we kind of have to lean into that a little bit being a pop band. The crowds were super warm and welcoming, so sticking out like a sore thumb was actually really fun. We’re all fans of Emery and As Cities Burn too, so getting to see them play every night was a blast.
Give us the story of LOYALS. How did you guys start writing/performing together?
We all met when we were kids. We’ve got a lot of history together. We all grew up playing in different bands together so when it came time for Loyals to start, it just felt natural between the three of us.
Your music has an energetic bright sound with super catchy hooks, what bands influence your music style most?
Literally everything and we have no shame for the music we all love, but to name just a few:The 1975, Michael Jackson, Justin Bieber, Imagine Dragons, Paper Route, Cartel, Chris Brown, OneRepublic, Lydia, M83, Bryson Tiller, Anberlin, Post Malone, Tears for Fears, One Direction… the list goes on but I’ll spare you all of it!
Did you follow a specific formula when recording your debut album? Was it a complete group effort or do individuals bring ideas to the table and you work from those ideas?
Typically, I’ll write a song and demo it out. If Gomez and Evan like it, then we eventually get together at Gomez’s studio and put all three of our brains on the song to flesh out musical parts and ideas. I wrote around a hundred songs leading up to production on this, so once we all sifted through and found the best ones, we sat down with the label and producer, Matt Arcaini, and sifted again. We’ve been friends for a very long time, and we’ve kind of found a groove—been doing it this way for years.
What one word would you use to describe your debut album?
What themes and/or ideals can we expect to hear in LOYALS?
Our songs are about life and all it’s little nuances. I think that is pretty therapeutic to us. There’s a lot of cleaned-up, pretty sounding kind of lyrics on our record, but there’s also a deeper, more vulnerable aspect to a lot of our songs. Life is never all sunshine and rainbows. I think, lyrically, we wanted to create something that highlights the good times and the bad that everyone experiences.
Off the top of your head what's a highlighted lyrics from the album that you think will stand out to fans?
I think one of my favorite tracks on the album is IDC. The lyric for that song is very dark and paints the picture of a guy who keeps saying he doesn’t care, but clearly everything else he’s saying implies that he actually does, in fact, care. “It takes more than I’m trying, but baby I don’t care. You might think I’m a liar, but baby I don’t care. I think I thought about dying, but baby I don’t care. If you’re not part of my life, then baby I don’t care.”
What song do you remember most from your childhood?
I don’t know if I can pick just one, so here are a few: “Riverside” by Kirk Franklin, “Caroline, I See You” by James Taylor, and “A Thousand Years” by Sting.
What hobbies do you turn to when you're feeling "burnt out" or unmotivated to work on music - to help respark the passion?
Listening and studying other artists’ music is pretty fun for me. I love listening to a new record from start to finish, just as an artist intended it to be heard. I think that helps ignite inspiration for me when I need it.
What venue or city are you most looking forward to conquering in the future?
I don’t know anything about conquering cities, but I would love to tour in Japan. Always have.
If you could collaborate with any artist, living or dead, on a song who would it be and why?
I would love to collaborate with Bryson Tiller. I think writing something that sounds like our more vibey tracks with him would be super cool.
What can we expect from LOYALS in 2018?
There are talks of another tour coming up, and we can’t wait to hit the road again. Besides that, we continue to write and make more music.
photo provided by Big Picture Media