Interview: The Love Language Discusses New Raleigh Music Scene
Old Raleigh and New Raleigh have some debates about the best potential for our city’s future–but since when do different generations agree on important things like music and art?
Granted, the 1970’s generation was spoiled by a massively cool underground, housing multiple music venues and a turntable of traveling musicians. Many people weep for Raleigh’s modern music scene, as the closure of places like The Brewery symbolically usher in an era foretold in “American Pie.”
But if you ask today’s college students where Raleigh’s great music is, they can show it to you. It may not be conveniently packed in one location anymore; no, it’s scattered across the city like staccato across sheet music: Sharp, edgy, vivid bursts of emotion and melody, sustained by the love and passion of the fans.
The Love Language, brought together by Stuart McLamb, is a band that’s risen from this tumble of raw emotion. Indie and energetic, its popularity grew from the ashes of loss and earned them a label with Merge Records and some stellar gigs.
Their latest gig is part of Cameron Village’s upcoming event, The Underground Rises, which aims to bring back a little piece of that old-music-scene nostalgia by infusing Daniels Street with new, indie, local music.
Being a fan of The Love Language’s music, I was excited for the chance to interview Stuart McLamb and get his insight into the current state of the Raleigh music scene, as well as some of his personal favorite hang outs for hearing new sounds in our city.
- The Village Subway (or Raleigh Underground) was a mecca for punk bands before they became famous, and it’s existence has become a popular topic of conversation and nostalgia in Raleigh. So how do you guys feel about being the headliners for the Underground Rises, filling the shoes of the old music scene? Had you heard about the Underground before this event?
- I had heard about it but I must admit I’m not that familiar with the scene or bands during that time. I personally have deep roots in Raleigh as well as some of the current band members. I didn’t consider filling any old shoes for this gig but we’re going to have a good time and sweat a bunch which is what I’d imagine happened back then.
- Some people have complained that Raleigh’s musical glory days are past, particularly with the closure of some favorite local venues. How do you feel about the vibrancy of our music scene? What would you love to see happen to bolster the work of local bands?
- There’s most definitely still a vibrancy to the scene. You’ve got Slims that books a lot of new bands and first gigs. Kings is great at doing the same and then hosting bigger shows for local bands to open for since they have a larger capacity. I also think Kings is staying true to their old roots by hosting more experimental/outsider acts as well. Also, Nice Price books next to Cup-A-Joe that has been hosting shows at night and they’ve been a blast. I know there’s a few houses that have a lot of shows but probably shouldn’t list those… And then there’s 88.1 WKNC that’s been doing a lot for local music. Maybe more so recently than ever. If anything, maybe all these college students could start eating more ramen and budgeting to spend money at all these shows.
- I recognized a few of the places in the “Calm Down” music video. Where did you film? Did those places have any special meaning to you? Like, are there particular downtown hangouts you enjoy or venues you just love playing?
- For the video (which was shot by Raleigh native Jonny Gillette) we shot in both Raleigh and Chapel Hill. The Raleigh locations were mainly Pullen Park, Father and Sons, Party Beverage, a Yoga studio, indoor skate park. The bar/venue shots were actually in Chapel Hill. But in Raleigh I’d say my favorite venue is Kings and my favorite hang out spot is Slims. I love Mecca too. They should start booking shows!
- A lot of major musicians got their start right here beneath Cameron Village. You’ll be headlining a major event, symbolic of the Underground coming to the surface. You’re making history. So are there any bands that used to play in the Village Subway that you really relate to or would have loved to see before they became famous?
- As I said earlier, I didn’t know a lot about the old scene but I’m listening the Th’ Cigaretz “Apartamentalivin'” right now. RAD. There’s so many great bands on that list. I’d say it’s a tie between Jimmy Buffet and Ramones. What the hell was Jimmy Buffet doing playing a show w/ no sunlight? Hopefully we’ll have some for The Underground Rises.
Still not sure if you want to come hear them play on April 25th? Check out their spiffy music video, filmed in locations all around Raleigh. I definitely see someone riding on the Pullen Park carousel. Yeah. You know you want to come out. And dance.