Fresh off her North American tour with pop-punk gods New Found Glory and Less Than Jake, LØLØ had just slept in her own bed in Toronto for the first time in two months. How she slept, I’m not sure, because she had a lot to be excited about. The tour was a smash – as you’ll find out shortly – leading us to today, where she releases her debut EP overkill. It’s a record full of infectious hooks, candid lyricism and chant-worthy melodies that you’ll have an impossible time listening to just once. You can learn more about the 24-year-old, soon-to-be-superstar via our chat below, and then spend the rest of your day learning every word to her songs. It’s the most fun you’ll have all day, seriously.
So, you just wrapped up a tour with two of my favourite bands, New Found Glory and Less Than Jake. How’d it all go?
The tour was amazing! Honestly, I was really scared that I wouldn’t like touring. I’ve never toured before. I’ve only performed around Toronto – that was when I first started putting out music. I played in local venues here and then when COVID happened, I couldn’t tour; I couldn’t even perform in Toronto. And then this opportunity came up and I was like, “Holy shit, yes I have to go!” Then I started getting anxious. But it was honestly the best experience of my life, I absolutely loved it. Everyone was so nice. All the bands shared their wisdom on touring. I signed to Hopeless [Records] while I was on tour, and when New Found Glory found out, they were super sweet. Kind of like really cool mentors.
That’s so cool. They’re certainly not bad mentors to have!
It was sic. They brought me up every night to sing “Vicious Love” – I sang Hayley’s part.
As an opener on a higher-profile tour, I’m sure there’s some pressure there in terms of winning over an audience who’s not necessarily familiar with your music. How did you find crowd reception in general?
When I originally agreed to go on the tour, it was Simple Plan and New Found Glory. Obviously Simple Plan is a lot more “pop”, so when they pulled out, I’m not going to lie, I was nervous. “Are these hardcore punk fans going to like my songs?” I actually had a moment where my manager told me I maybe shouldn’t go on this tour. “It’s a long time to not be writing, is it going to be worth it?” And I didn’t know.
Before I even knew Chad [Gilbert], he reached out to me and asked if I was still going to do it. And I asked, “are your fans going to like me?” He said, “our fans are fans of music, your songs are catchy. Come on the tour, they’re going to love you.” And I’m so glad I did. Whenever I think about how I almost didn’t go, I kind of want to jump in front a truck because that would’ve been the worst decision of my life.
The crowds were awesome – so receptive and nice to me. I was worried it was going to be less busy at the beginning because I was the first opener of four bands. There were probably three nights out of 36 that were a little bit thin, but mostly it was packed and the crowds were super into my set. Near the end of the tour, I ran into people outside who came up to me and said, “We had no idea who the fuck you were, but we saw you [the other night] and drove four hours just to catch your set again….”
I said things that people wouldn’t normally say…
Wow. That’s got to make it all worthwhile for sure. What about in between shows – I’m sure you had some downtime… This being your first tour, did you have any memorable experiences on your days off?
It’s a little bit different for us because we weren’t on a tour bus, we were in a van. So, a lot of our days off were filled with driving, whereas on a tour bus, the driver drives overnight. We had to go to a hotel so our tour manager could sleep and then drive the next day. The best place we went… we were driving through Illinois and we saw signs on the side of the road that said “World’s Biggest Rocking Chair,” “World’s Biggest Sewing Machine,” “World’s Biggest Mailbox”… We like swerved off the road onto the exit, into this town called Casey, IL. Its slogan was like “small town, big things”. It had the world’s biggest everything. You walk around this town and it’s like a museum. You could actually mail a letter in the world’s biggest mailbox. And we were actually the first people from Toronto to ever drive through there, so I thought that was really cool.
I mean yeah, if you get the chance to sit in the world’s biggest rocking chair, you take it. It probably just felt great to get out of isolation and see anything at that point though.
Yeah, we were super locked up for months. I think the total was nine months or something… The first song on the EP – ‘Lonely and Pathetic’ – that was literally the pandemic getting to me. I was just sitting on my bed with nothing else to do – it’s freezing here. Even if Canada had less numbers, we were even more locked up than you guys. But, since no one was doing anything it pushed me to write songs.
I got together with my two producers and we locked ourselves up in a studio for the months of November and December – we were even working on Christmas Eve. It was a long, cold winter so we were able to work on the production of a lot of songs. Normally, I’d put out songs and then perform them. But at that point, I was just putting out songs and not [able to] perform them. So this tour was the first time I got to.
The songs you’re talking about are all on your EP, overkill. I know that comes out November 12th, but you’ve released most of the songs as one-off singles already. That seems to be the approach nowadays, which is still strange for an “album purist” like myself. How do you feel about that strategy?
Honestly, in a perfect world, I wish that I could just release EPs. But I feel like in the current climate, you can’t anymore. I mean you can if you’re like Taylor Swift. But for a smaller artist trying to come up and make a name, the best strategy that I’ve seen is it’s a singles game now. I’m dying to release more songs at a time, but it’s kind of the game you’ve got to play these days.
My favorite song on the EP is one you actually haven’t released yet, called ‘Hurt Less’. I just love how in your face it is lyrically, and the chorus is so catchy I had to play it like three or four times in a row.
Oh my god, thank you so much! Yeah, I would close my set with that every night, and I’ve gotten so many messages like “when are you releasing ‘kick me in the face?’” Haha.
It feels weird to ask, since this record isn’t technically even out yet, but with the signing to Hopeless, are there any writing plans already in place?
I’m already writing for the next project, yeah. Either a full length, or an EP and a full length is what we spoke about. I’m not 100% sure. For me, I kind of like grouping things together in smaller pieces, like in EPs of six songs. I’m big on storytelling and themes and stuff, and I feel like putting things in smaller packages like that is cool because you can really get a better story.
What would you say the theme of overkill is?
I guess the theme is like navigating relationships and growing up. The reason I called it overkill is because I feel like that a lot of the songs on the EP are me oversharing almost. A few times, I’d put out a song and people would ask if I was okay. I feel like I said things that people wouldn’t normally say. Like “sometimes I wanna hit you with my car…” But for me, it’s the only way I know how to express myself. I just say what I’m thinking and put it in lyric form.
I definitely noticed that while listening – the songs are all very blunt and even brash at times. You’re not sugarcoating anything, which I love.
I’m definitely overexposing myself and just putting it all out there – I feel like a lot of people will be able to relate. As a young songwriter, I used to always write about things that I thought people wanted to hear or that I thought people could relate to but I’ve learned as I’ve been writing more that if you just write about your own life – however specifically detailed – I feel like more people relate to that because, even though it’s so specific to your own life, people hear that and feel that it’s authentic and not just like you’re trying to do something.
It’s not forced.
One thing I learned is that you had some viral success on TikTok by reimagining other artists’ songs from different points of view. How did that come about?
I guess TikTok is another pandemic plus for me. When the pandemic started, I had nothing else to do and at the time everyone was just doing those dances and stuff. And let me just put this out there: I am a horrible dancer. But I was doing the dances and trying to follow all the trends and then [I found] this girl who rewrote ‘Hey There Delilah’ from the point of view of Delilah. And I saw a bunch of people were doing that. I thought that was such a good idea so I did it too, and my video got a lot of love and blew up way more than all my dancing videos. So I thought maybe I should do this! It got some attention from Buzzfeed and Plain White Tees even reached out to me.
From there I got more followers and so I started rewriting a bunch of songs from the other perspective and just focusing on whatever the most tragic, sad thing would have been. If the song was about a guy thinking that a girl didn’t want him, I made the other perspective that the girl actually does want him and he just doesn’t know it. I just love that shit – that whole Romeo and Juliet, tragic love story. So that became my page for a while.
I did one in particular – ‘Betty’ by Taylor Swift – from Betty’s perspective and that was my most viewed and they actually ended up playing my version on Sirius XM. I recorded a version for the Coffeehouse. I felt like that was a cool way to not just do a boring old cover on TikTok – I actually got to show what I’m good at in terms of writing.
Over the last couple years, I’ve developed a lot of respect for TikTok. I always stuck my nose up because it was just these silly dances, but then elements of social justice kept popping up more and more and I really appreciated that. But – and this is going to make me sound so old – no matter how much I try, I can’t figure it out. My band has tried to utilize it – we’re all Dads so we have some pretty funny ideas for “Dads in a punk band” type stuff – but it’s so daunting, we don’t even know where to start.
You guys got this! I believe in you. The thing with TikTok is – once you figure out how to make a video, I mean – you have to just make a hundred. One of them will get views.
Since you seem to have mastered it, do you have any awesome tips for me?
Firstly, I feel they no one has even mastered it because it’s so random. Haha. But that would be my main tip: just make a ton of videos because it’s a numbers game. One of them will work and once it does, just ask yourselves, “what about this video is different from our other ones?” And then just try doing that again. Besides that, people love authenticity. I feel like it’s a very different app than Instagram which is very curated, whereas on TikTok, people don’t like to see a video where you’re being fake. They can tell.
Before I let you go, I need you to settle something once and for all. People claim that pop punk is dead… what do you think?
Haha. Definitely not dead. And for me, I honestly don’t think punk is a sound. I think punk is an attitude. It’s in the voice and the lyrics and production. So, with that being said – punk will never die.
Overkill is out today on Hopeless Records. Stream it on Spotify, Apple Music, or on TikTok (probably).