By Nicholas Jason Lopez
Nowadays, the walking “scroll zombies” have been so inundated with useless information, it can be hard to determine the fake from the real.
This was the sentiment that compelled indie rock/electronic project friend slash lover to return from a seven-year hiatus with a catchy, synth-filled new single “The Memory Hole.”
80’s pioneers like David Bowie and Tears For Fears have helped mold the friend slash lover sound – nostalgic, yet modern.
“The Memory Hole” will serve as a glimpse of what’s to come from the concept EP slated to drop later this year named ‘Mugged On Memory Lane,’ which will cover themes of “displacement and disillusionment in Los Angeles.”
The Music Bugle had a chance to talk with the artist about “The Memory Hole” and more.
Music Bugle – How did you decide the name “friend slash lover”?
friend slash lover – Well, at the time, I had a bandmate who hated the name “Stupid Human,” so I kept pitching new name ideas to him for over a year. I had written “friend slash lover” in my notebook, spelling out the “slash” part and I thought it came to life as a play on words. It’s sort of a noun and/or a verb.
Music Bugle – What did you focus on primarily during your seven-year hiatus?
friend slash lover – I launched an entertainment ad agency in Hollywood with my best friend. I sacrificed everything to get it off the ground, living on his sofa and starting the business from his kitchen for a year. Now, we have a gorgeous office in mid-city and an amazing team, so…
Music Bugle – What excites you the most about your style of music?
friend slash lover – I love combining live recordings with electronic elements, reworking it in Logic Pro and giving it back to my producers. We have a new process where we go back and forth, sending each other stems and I just love it. I go nuts trying out ideas, experimenting with the structure and sounds. Most of what I try doesn’t work, but hey, at least I saved them lots of headaches.
Music Bugle – What made you want to release “The Memory Hole” as a single?
friend slash lover – I made a demo of “The Memory Hole” years ago and always thought it had potential, but I sort of forgot about it. A few months ago, I asked my producer to send me stems from some demos we had done and he opened that session and made me an MP3. There were a few layers turned off by accident – most notably, the lead guitar – and we both said, “Weird, it sounds cooler now, let’s use it.” Lyrically, it seemed like a good song to use as a way of saying, “Hey, friend slash lover is climbing out of the memory hole and making new music.”
Music Bugle – How important should mental health be in today’s society?
friend slash lover – Hmm, that’s tough. I’m actually not sure how to answer that.
Music Bugle – Who are you listening to right now, music-wise?
friend slash lover – Royal Blood.
Music Bugle – What has it been like working on your concept EP ‘Mugged On Memory Lane’?
friend slash lover – It’s been really interesting because it has led to a whole new creative process that I am really enjoying. I thought the songs were basically done a few months ago, but then every time we would make one change to a song, it would cause us to reevaluate the sound of the other songs and change them accordingly… over and over and over again. No matter how hard I try to work in the computer, I always come back around to using live instruments. Why fight it?
Music Bugle – How have you been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic?
friend slash lover – Yeah, it nearly destroyed my business, since Hollywood shut down for a long time.
Music Bugle – Where do you go when you need a break?
friend slash lover – The beach, either here in Los Angeles or in Cabo.
Music Bugle – What’s a quote that motivates you to keep doing what you do?
friend slash lover – I have a piece of paper that says, “What is the minimal effective dose?” taped to my computer.