There Is No Us was founded at the beginning of 2015 by former Marilyn Manson bassist and Ashes Divide guitarist Andy Gerold and longtime friend vocalist Jim Louvau. Their first EP “Farewell to Humanity” is out, the video for “In Violence We Trust” you can see here. The band is rounded out with Chicago native, bassist Amy Abramite and former New Year’s Day drummer Nick Rossi. We were able to get the ever busy Jim Louvau on the phone to talk about the band, photography and a little politics.
BT: What’s the earliest thing you remember where you said to yourself “I want to become a musician?”
Jim: I would say it’s a very easy memory for me. When I was three years old my mother took me to the state fair to see Cheap Trick, and that was the first sort of introduction to live music that I ever had. I remember now that it seemed like it was one two hour song. My memory wasn’t to awesome with that sort of thing yet. But I think that’s when I was introduced to concerts and live music. From that point on seeing people be entertained was really cool to me, so that’s when it started.
BT: You’ve evolved from there, you’re a musician, writer, photographer, radio host, and you’re fantastic at all of that, do you think seeing music, and the creative process from that side, helps you out as a musician?
Jim: Well, I would say that when I first started shooting music when I was in high school with local artists here in Phoenix. I would say the two compliment each other well. I don’t have a ton of formal training as a photographer, as a fan of music and being a musician, I was shooting people how I wanted to be shot. If someone was taking my photos that’s how I would want it to look. I really took that idea into shooting other peoples performances. The music, photography, writing they all totally go hand in hand. Some of them have open doors to the other side and vice versa. I just really like creating in general. Especially if I’m writing about a band or artist I like, there’s a good chance I know quite a bit about them. So that’s why I try not to write about bands or artists I don’t know a lot about because a lot of people can write. Not everyone can write good, but there’s a gazillion blogs and magazines in the world so I try to write only about things I’m personally passionate about.
BT: Does that help with the music side, when you’re writing there?
Jim: No, they’re really two separate worlds, the actual creative process is night and day. I don’t think that when I’m writing or recording music I think about writing as a journalist or obviously as a photographer. But like I said the two have helped each other open doors to other things. But when I’m in a specific head space when I’m writing its really focused on what that might be, whether it might be a review, interviewing, writing a feature or writing a song or recording it, I’m in a different head space for each of them.
BT: Speaking of writing, going through the EP “Farewell to Humanity” you don’t seem to shy away from any topic. Can you describe the song writing process and the message you’re trying to get out, because it’s pretty heavy at times.
Jim: Yeah, this band started as an experiment between Andy Gerold and myself. He called me right at the beginning of January of last year, I had sent him over some demos of another band I was in at the time. Some of the stuff was a little heavier, more aggressive screaming then I had done in the past. He called me and ask if I would be interested in working a metal project with him. I said sure, so it was really an experiment. So he sent over two or three songs that he had already recorded all the music for, all the instruments he played, he had some scratch vocals for a couple of songs. I thought wow, what he had written was really cool, and if it works out we throw my vocals over it and it’s even heavier. Heavy yet still audible where you can understand what I’m saying. That’s probably the most important thing about this bands music as opposed to other forms of metal, is that you can still for the most part understand what I’m saying. So we did the first few songs, then we went back out and did a couple more. So the first songs from the EP, Andy wrote about 95% of everything that you hear. We recently recorded another four songs that haven’t been released yet, and I’ve done a little more of the lyrics than the first EP. The challenge is that I live in Phoenix, he’s in Vegas. So when we record it’s not just like he sends me songs and I go scream over them. We’re in the studio recording and I hear something that I want to change, could be a lyric or synth line, or another guitar part or I’m hearing something that he’s not hearing. I think every suggestion I’ve made in the studio we’ve changed it too. Which is cool, we’ve been friends for years, and on the same page musically in what we’re looking for and we trust each other quite a bit.
As far as the content of the music, the whole band’s mission statement if you will, There Is No Us is a social movement exposing the failure of the human race, which is a pretty heavy statement. It could be through politics could be just by being a human being. Doctors are very happy to subscribe medications and drugs that aren’t necessarily good for people. Humans can become addicted to anything. You could be addicted to video games, addicted to drinking, to pain killers. But it’s just something that happens to a certain amount of humans. We talk about things in our songs that our ugly truths, of the world we live in. You don’t have to live in America, you don’t have to live in the same state. We’re doing these things just as human beings who are more than happy to destroy the planet. They don’t have the same sort of values or kind of looking out for each other, which might have happened more in the past than they do now. We just kind of want to maybe open peoples eyes up to things they might not think about. Especially in metal, metal is aggressive, everyone can scream really loud, but the message is a big part of it for us.
BT: Metal hasn’t always been known as a political message medium, there’s been a few bands that have done it, and done it well, but hows the audience response been to There Is No Us?
Jim: Incredible from the people that are finding out about the band for the first time. I know we didn’t expect to get the reaction we have so far. This wasn’t supposed to be a band. This was supposed to be a “hey lets get together record some songs and have fun.” It’s turned into a band, and a lot of people freaking out about what we’re doing. It’s still so new that it’s really exciting to see how many people want to reach out and talk about the band. Just in the same way you’re doing, we’ve been doing quite a bit of press for not having a publicist. We booked really good shows without having a booking agent. There’s a lot you can do in the music business on your own. In fact the more you can do on your own the better, but there comes a point where you gonna need more support from the people in the industry. We’re kind of at the point where reaction has been great, but we’re definitely looking to see this blossom into some something bigger than it is now.
BT: Speaking of this blossoming, you’ve recently played in Phoenix with Drowning Pool, you played The Roxy in LA, are you going to do more of the live thing together, is a tour in the works?
Jim: I’m sure as you’ve heard from other musicians, the idea of going on a tour sounds great but there’s so many parameters that go into pulling that off. I don’t want to go on tour and play in markets, where you show up and play in the same market for three months and hope you’re building something. I think that’s an old school mentality. I think for us, being very selective in what we’ll do has been beneficial to this point. I think it’s about making smart moves, making sure the shows you’re playing are the shows you should be on, it’s the right situation sort of thing.
BT: You mentioned new songs, is there a time frame for release or are you gonna sit on them for a bit and see how it shakes out?
Jim: That’s a great question. There’s a few things going on behind the scene right now, so it kind of depends on what happens with certain things. I get really bored with things in general, my attention span is very short, and it’s not like I don’t still love the songs on the EP, because I do, but I’m really excited about these last four songs we just finished. Andy just sent me the third of the four songs back today. I haven’t heard the mix, so I’m really excited to hear it. I really like the direction the band is going, it’s heavier than the first six songs. There’s so many different vibes going on in the way we evoke emotion. They’re going to come out in some form or other. But with some of the things going on, and some of the people we’re talking to, it can all change.