It’s hard to believe, but summer is right around the corner—and that means it’s almost time to strut down the street in your cutoff shorts, ice cream cone in hand, with some fresh tunes blasting from your headphones. If you're in need of some new music inspiration, look no further than rad Brooklynite Lane Moore’s band: It Was Romance. Brilliantly brooding vocals and killer dance beats combine on the record (which is officially out today!). We've got all the tracks loaded up in the player below—and trust us, you're going to want to give them a listen (and won't be able to get them out of your head, we swear).
We caught up with Moore to talk inspiration, how she got started singing, and her pre-show jitter banishing rituals below. If you like what you see (and hear!) check out It Was Romance at Brooklyn's Knitting Factory later this month, on May 22nd. We'll see you there!
Your sound is highly original, but it's clear from your covers and your voice that you've drawn inspiration from a range of female artists—Stevie Nicks, Lucinda Williams, and even Tegan & Sara come to mind. Can you share anyone else who has inspired you?
Oh, man I could list these forever. As a kid, all I cared about was Diana Ross, 1960s girl groups, and 1960s soul. Then when I was a teenager, I'd lock myself in my room and do nothing but sing along to Nina Simone, Ella Fitzgerald, Fiona Apple, Selena, Bic Runga, The Cranberries, The Cure, The Cramps, Letters To Cleo, Neko Case, Kathleen Edwards, Mazzy Star, Sam Phillips. I'm really never not listening to music or singing or dancing. I had a psychic once who told me music was my sanity, which is absolutely true.
It Was Romance is an interesting band name. What made you choose it?
It was actually pretty random. Long story short, I found this Boston musician's MySpace music page and loved her music so much and one day I messaged her and said, "I love your music so much! I'm kind of a musician too."
I was just so nervous and I'd been making music since I was around five, but I'd never shown it to anyone and was so afraid to for some reason. And she, god bless her, was like, "That's awesome! Send me your music!" and I sent her this song, "Keeping the City" that was just me and a synth, recorded on my laptop, and she wrote back and said, "Oh my god this is the best song I've ever heard. You need to make a MySpace music page right now and if you do, I'll put you in my top friends!" That was big shit because she had like 5,000 MySpace friends. It sounds so silly because MySpace was silly, but I'm so grateful for her. I was reading a Miranda July book at the time, No One Belongs Here More Than You, and I just flipped through the chapters and one was called "It Was Romance." I didn't over think it and just went with that. I go on instinct with pretty much everything in life, so it's not surprising that's how that happened. It was just the perfect fit. Those three words just evoked so much for me and seemed to reflect the kinds of songs I was writing at the time.
What have been some of the top moments of this musical journey, and what's been the greatest challenge along the way?
Things were so hard for such a long time. I'd been trying to put together the band of my dreams since I was a kid. I tried to hard to find band mates in high school, but no bands wanted a female lead singer or I'd just find people who weren't the right fit. I always say it's like finding your musical soul mates; it's really hard to find someone who checks every box.
I've had so many backing musicians in this band, so many setbacks and stops and starts. I knew I could have continued to have It Was Romance be a solo act, but I really wanted someone who could play my songs with me and add something extra to them. Then a few years ago, I met my guitarist Alejandro and I just knew. We just had a great connection and he's so talented and completely gets everything I bring to him, same with Angel and Jeff who I met years later. Finally meeting them was such a "finally!" moment. Finding your people.
Another huge one was a few summers ago Luscious Jackson emailed me because they'd heard my songs and loved them and wanted me to sing back-up and play in their band, so then I ended up at Jill's apartment singing harmonies with her and hanging out with her and Gabby, two people I grew up idolizing, and hearing their drummer Kate Schellenbach, who was still in LA at the time, was into my music as well. That was a huge moment for me because I was finally able to tell myself, "You're a musician. You don't 'kind of' do this. These people who are idols of yours view you as a fellow musician and think you're great at what you do. So you are." And then now, releasing the record and directing and starring in my first music video, which is a lifelong dream of mine, so many great parts.
What's your writing process like? Do you work collaboratively with the band or are you bringing the lyrics and music in and then you all take it from there?
I write all our songs, so I usually come in with the music and lyrics and my guitarist will start playing something similar to what I brought in and I'll say, "Yes, I love this one part. Put that in here and then stop it here and come back here and change to this chord and add this." And same with the other band members. Every time I bring in a song, I already hear all the instruments in my head, so it's kind of a "I'll know it when I hear it" thing with my band mates. I write constantly, about 2-3 songs per week. It's kind of insane, I know, but I'm glad it's like that.
What do you think the number one thing women trying to break into the music business are up against?
For me, it's recognition of everything we actually do. A lot of times when there's a female-fronted band, it's assumed that the girl just sits there looking cute and singing and the guys write all the songs, which is bullshit. Every lyric is insanely personal, I write every inch of every song, even what the guys play is meticulously curated by me in terms of what they're playing, when they're playing it, how they're playing it. I mixed the record with Jeff, I do all the work on the business end. It sucks that I have to even say things like this, because it's not a knock to my band mates at all or some kind of power grab. I'm so grateful for them and they're so talented and bring so much to the table, but it's really important to me that people know how much I do in this band because otherwise people just assume that since you're a women, you didn't do anything, and I literally do everything. And I think that happens to a lot of women in music and always has. Hopefully the more we speak up, the less that'll happen.
Could you share your pre-show ritual and one thing that you say to yourself when you need to take a big breath and pull it together?
A lot of times I just lock myself in the bathroom with headphones and dance. Like, really fucking go for it. And then I remember to open my eyes and really be here. Because it's the only place I've ever wanted to be and I don't want to miss it.
Follow Lane on Twitter @hellolanemoore to keep up with her and the band — and don't forget to check'em out later this month in Brooklyn. Details here.