Signed to one of the buzziest record labels around, Lowertown are 19-year-old Atlanta duo, Avsha Weinberg and Olivia Osby. We fell in love with recent single, ‘Best Person You Know’ and its kooky video, their lo-fi indie sound nestling somewhere between Alex G and Kimya Dawson. With the Dirty Hit machine behind them – a label that’s home to Beabadoobee, Rina Sawayama, and The 1975 – we are predicting big things for the pair in 2021. Check out their newest EP ‘Honeycomb, Bedbug’ as we get to know them a little better.
You are part of our Future Five for 2021. Are you excited about the year ahead?
Olivia: Yeah we definitely are! If the situation with Corona becomes much more controlled, we’re looking forward to a return to a sort of normalcy, and we’re also hoping to be able to play shows and to be within the presence of other people outside our bubble. We’re also super excited to release another Lowertown EP and more music through our respective solo projects.
Tell us about how you started making music together?
Avsha: Olivia and I actually first met in our sophomore year math class in high school. We sort of began our friendship by showing each other songs that we liked during class. We ended up becoming really close friends before we even thought about doing music together. The summer of that year, we went to Canada to visit Olivia’s grandmother. One night, after going to a Lebanese Culture Festival, we sat down and I showed Olivia the demos of some of the songs that I had written for my solo project. I already knew about her solo work, and I loved her voice, so we agreed that we should try to make some music together. Once we got back to Atlanta, we immediately began working on our first album ‘Friends’, which we dropped in our junior year of high school.
How has being from Atlanta influenced your music?
Olivia: Growing up around an active music scene definitely inspired both of us at a young age to start making music and playing shows. I first played live at 16 and Avsha played his first live show at 13. In sophomore and junior year of high school we both loved going to DIY shows where we got to meet other musicians and see them perform. I looked up to the older musicians who would host and play the shows, and I definitely think being involved with this community gave me the push I needed to find the confidence to start playing and openly sharing my music. Most of the friends I have now back at home, I met through going to these shows. So I guess you could say growing up in the local scene was the spark I needed to start taking music more seriously.
Do you write the story/lyrics before the music? Tell us about your process.
Avsha: It doesn’t usually all happen in the same way. It’s not a very formulaic process. Writing music with Olivia can sometimes be sporadic and pretty random. On some occasions, I will have written the instrumentals for a song with guitar, drums, and bass, and Olivia will then write the melody based on that. In other cases, Olivia will write a rhythm guitar demo with lyrics and melody written for it, then I will sometimes restructure it, write the drums, bass, and lead guitar parts to accompany it. We both write music in our spare time, and we’ll be sharing different song, vocal, and instrumental ideas all the time.
There are a lot of characters in your songs. Are they based on real people?
Olivia: Yes, all of them are rooted in real people I have had in my life and experiences I have had. I will sometimes personify certain traits I’ve found in a few different people to create a character based on how these characteristics have positively or negatively affected me and my relationship with these people. I will also write about myself from another person’s point of view. I will take parts of myself and create a character to write the song about as a way to objectively view or criticise myself for how I think or act.
What type of dog is Randy? And why is he worthy of a song?
Olivia: Randy is not a real dog. He’s more of a metaphor for the people and (sometimes the animals) in my life who I’ve had to support me through difficult times.
You shot the video for ‘Best Person You Know’ on Super 8! Bold move! Tell us about making that video.
Avsha: Yeah! So Olivia and I had come up with the idea of the video a year prior to filming. We were at the location that we shot the stabbing scene, and we had a toy cap gun that we got from a dollar store. We took some videos for fun, and ended up arriving at the idea of a super stylised and goofy video where Olivia would kill me a bunch of crazy and unbelievable ways. We both were really excited about portraying our musical personality, which is quite stylised but also we don’t try to take it too seriously. We worked together with our friend we met from high school, Michael Cully, who is a photographer and videographer and just the three of us created the project together in the summer of 2020.
You joined the Dirty Hit family and recently shared a photo with Matty Healy. Have you been working together?
Olivia: No, we were just recording our different projects in a shared studio space. We hung a little bit while there and took that picture the last day of recording.
If people are just getting to know you – what song should they listen to first?
Olivia: We think ‘Praise that Shitty House’ from ‘Honeycomb, Bedbug’ is a good song to start!
And what is one thing you’d like them to know about you?
Avsha: We love video games and we love you for being interested in our music!
Lowertown are part of The Future Five, created in association with Clarks Originals. Check back all this week to meet a new member of the gang.