For decades there was a detailed set of instructions a band would have to follow in order to make it big. It basically went form a band: Pay your dues at small clubs, start playing some bigger shows, sign a record deal, release a single and then maybe, MAYBE, get famous. As the music industry has changed, so too have the rules, and no band exemplifies this more than indie pop sensations lovelytheband. They didn’t just skip a step or two in the expected progression, they went and had a hit single before they even fully formed the band. “I met Jordan [Greenwald, guitarist] just by happenstance and I was like, you wanna write some songs and do this thing with me?” vocalist Mitchy Collins explains. “Luckily he was down, and we put out the first song, ‘Broken,’ on April 14, 2017. Then we signed with Another Century in June, I believe, and Sam [Price, drums] joined July 1.” Not only did they have a single starting to rise the charts before they had a drummer, they hadn’t even met their drummer! Collins and Greenwald found Price on Instagram after playing a show with one of their buddies filling in on the drums. “I joined and then a week later we were off to the races,” Price says with a chuckle. “I think I really only had maybe two conversations with Jordan and I was like, cool, we’re going to be on flights together for the rest of our lives. In vans and mud and all of it.”
This situation could have easily devolved into a living hell if the three guys didn’t mesh perfectly together. But, on the other hand, it was also a way to know very early on if the band would be able to handle the long haul. “That’s a very quick way to force yourself to learn other people,” Price says. “I think if any one of us didn’t want to do it, or it didn’t work out for some reason, it would have been quick. We had to learn each other and grow very quickly. We became brothers.”Each time the band would return home from a tour supporting another band, they would quickly do some laundry, repack and hit the road in support of another group. In short order they saw most of the United States and a pretty big chunk of Europe. All the while, “Broken” kept climbing the charts. The single hit number one on the Billboard Alternative Songs chart (where it spent a record 66 weeks on the chart) and the Rock Airplay chart. It also appeared on the Radio Songs, Mainstream Top 40 and Hot 100 charts. The single was very much the definition of crossover success, and soon they weren’t touring in support of other bands, they were the headliners.
While he was confident after recording “Broken,” Collins never expected the reaction the song received. “I feel like if you go into a situation and you have a song that you think is special, and you’re like, ‘this just has got to be going huge,’ then you’re probably an asshole,” Collins laughs. “We knew we had something special that we cared about. Even if you’re the biggest artist in the world, you never really know how something’s going to [be received].” It’s easy to understand why the song resonates with so many people. For beginners, the hook is an absolute earworm. While that’s not the only requirement for a hit song, it certainly helps. But the thing that really connects to people when they listen to “Broken” is the lyrical content. “Everyone’s got some shit going on,” Collins says. “Everyone’s got broken pieces. Everyone’s got pieces and parts of themselves that they care about, or that they wish could be different or have bad parts of their lives that they’ve overcome.”
Often people connect to a song specifically because it sounds like the songwriter has been through the exact same experience that they are experiencing at the time. It makes the song go from being a nice melody to have stuck in one’s head to a place where listening to it is almost a form of therapy. As they tour constantly, all the members of lovelytheband have had the experience of fans not only saying they love the music, but that it has helped them get through some troubling times. “It’s amazing, hearing stories from people,” Collins explains. “Sometimes I don’t know how to handle it and get awkward. As beautiful as the stories are, and I love hearing them, I get awkward because it’s crazy to me.“That something we did, and lyrics I wrote in a time of desperation, resonate with a complete stranger,” he continues, “I think that’s the most beautiful part about this.” Hearing people share stories is one thing; seeing them showing off their lovelytheband tattoos is something else all together. “It’s crazy,” Collins says. “That’s never going to not be crazy. Then we get some when fans come back with stuff I’ve written out. Seeing my handwriting on people is wild.”
Oddly enough, fans aren’t the only people walking around with tattoos of Collins’ handwriting— he also has some tattoos in his own hand. It all came from a trip to the tattooer, when, after looking at all of the different fonts the artist offered up, none of them quite worked for the singer. So he wrote the tattoo out himself. “I have pretty fucking cool handwriting,” Collins jokes. “I’m pretty confident in that.” Collins is the most covered member of the band, as he’s been getting tattooed since he was 18. It shouldn’t be that big of a surprise given the time 1 they’ve all spent together that the singer ended up influencing the rest of his band in this department. “I would say that Mitchy was my gateway drug into getting tattooed,” Greenwald laughs. “Jordan and I got our first tattoos with Mitchy, a matching kind of thing,” Price explains. “We all got the word ‘one’ to commemorate our first tour together.” “It’s funny, cause when we all got that first one [Mitchy] made it a filler on his arm,” Greenwald says. “Sam got it on his arm, but I still hadn’t committed. So I put it on my ankle because I didn’t know if I wanted any more. But then, eight or nine tattoos later, here I am.” While the boys haven’t gotten any other matching tattoos, they do tend to hit the tattoo shops together while they’re out on tour. Most recently, they all added to their collection while in Stockholm.
The downside of having an album as massive as “Finding It Hard to Smile” is that expectations for the follow-up are already through the roof. In order to plot their next move, the band took some time off the road (finally) and holed up in a house together. “We all got to know each other literally on the road for a couple of years,” Greenwald says. “So the fact that we got to be in a house and write all of this new music together, the sound definitely captured the time where we are all living together and having a good time.” You can hear the fruits of these efforts by checking out their new single “Loneliness for Love,” which should be coming out on January 31. A new single can only mean one thing: lovelytheband will once again be hitting the road on a major headlining tour, so keep an eye out for that. The band may have taken an unexpected route to reach the heights of fame, but now that they’re here, expect this tight-knit trio to keep on rolling.