Using nothing more than superfuzz bass, drums and rigidly deadpan vocals, Self Love mix high-speed clattering riffs with highly self-aware delivery to create short, sharp slices of utterly engaging, nuanced, thrash pop. How to categorise them? That’s pretty tough, but you’ll find them somewhere between the riotous fun of Deerhoof and the heavy gloom of The Body.
Self Love’s amazing debut album, “no”, came out at the end of October, yet only now have they been able to fix some kind of “release” gig. On Saturday 20th Self Love will headline the NCI venue on Holland Street (info here) and in anticipation we caught up with Joshua and Luke to find out more about each track on their debut. You can download a copy of the record right here.
‘I Have No Mouth and I Must Complain’
Joshua: I had pretty much given up on Self Love ever becoming a thing by the time I first started talking to Luke, but I thought I’d have a practice with him anyway for a last try. By the end I was still kind of on the fence about it, but I thought I’d show him one last riff I had, which was I Have No Mouth and I Must Complain. If you listen to the track you’ll know why that changed my mind.
Luke: I always enjoy playing this song because it vividly brings to mind our first time playing together.
‘I Am Your Girlfriend’
Luke: We’re both quite into thrash and punk, and songs like this reflect that quite clearly.
Joshua: The lead single that never was.
‘I Don’t Care’
Joshua: For a number of tracks I originally used filler lyrics that I was intending to change later, but in some cases they stuck, which is what happened with this one.
‘No Friends, No Future’
Joshua: University anxiety has been cropping up in my writing a lot recently; this would be an early case of that. I started university a couple of months ago and dropped out after a couple of weeks, so this feels more relevant than ever.
Joshua: I called this one ‘Chair’ because all I can think of when listening to it is an image of a chair. Weird but true.
Joshua: I love thrash. I think it’s great. You don’t get enough thrash songs these days. Lyrically I think this and I Am Your Girlfriend are the only songs on the album referencing the experience of being trans. To be fair I don’t like writing about it that much.
‘Kiss Me, Cop’
Joshua: I’ve only ever written two politically motivated songs in my life, including this one. Specifically it’s about the inclusion of the police in pride, of which I am clearly not a fan. I wrote this quite a while before Self Love was a thing, so it’s surprising how well it fits with the rest of the album.
Luke: This song is just me trying to drum like Brian Chippendale from Lightning Bolt.
Joshua: Lyrically and thematically this is about the frantic-nervous side of anxiety issues that accompanies just being outside and around other people, hence the title.
‘I’m Gonna Kill You as Soon as I Get out of Prison’
Joshua: This is from way back in 2015 and was actually the first Self Love song ever. I recorded a very lo-fi version but I felt it didn’t really fit well with my solo stuff, so I put it out as Self Love and I ended up doing a weird little demo EP with ‘Kiss Me, Cop’, ‘Love Yrself’, and ‘I Hate Living’ as those were the only ones I could drum well enough to record. I’ll probably bring it back at some point.
Joshua: Bubblegum is probably the best example of the Self Love aesthetic, which is this juxtaposition between the brutal, fast music and the pretty, flowery lyrics and imagery. Hence why all the pink.
‘I Hate Living (Pts. 1-4)’
Joshua: I found that I had written four different songs with the same chord shape, so it just made sense to stick them all together and make it into one long song. Lyrically this is also about the anxiety disorder experience, but less of the frantic nervousness and more of the crushing sense of being incapable of normal social interaction. It’s great fun to play live.
Joshua: The original lyrics to this were just the words ‘flat earth’ repeated a bunch of times, but I later swapped them out for this weird-sexy apocalypse imagery. Also great fun to play live.
‘hi honey im hi’
Joshua: This is half filler lyrics and half actual lyrics. It’s a sort of companion piece to I Don’t Care. It’s probably also the riff that’s the most fun to play.
Luke: This is one of my favourite songs to play live, since we added a little slow bit at the start where I can just mess about. I think its one of the most straight forward tracks so there’s a lot of space to change things.
Joshua: I like to do whiny Max Levy vocals for this one.
Joshua: According to my editing files this went through seven different versions. I have no idea how that happened.
Joshua: I think this is the only song on the album I wrote after meeting Luke. He suggested we do another thrash song, so this is what I came up with. We’ve only played it live once before because it’s so physically exhausting, but it’s definitely my favourite track on the album.
‘I’ll Be Around’
Joshua: This was always meant to be the closing track. It’s a breakup song of sorts. If you want me, I’ll be around.
‘no’ is out now and Self Love play the NCI on January 20th