Get To Know Love Spells [Interview]

Brooks Finby
Alexis Aguirre (@alexiszenith)

Love Spells should be on your radar. The nineteen-year-old from Houston, Texas channels an ethereal sound straight out of a hazy summer daydream. He’s the youngest artist selected to be a part of Pigeons & Planes’ See You Next Year 2 collaborative album, a testament to his artistic potential. His latest single “Dope Sick” showcases his silky smooth delivery, paired perfectly with a verse from the talented Deb Never over slick guitar licks. I spoke with Love Spells via Zoom to dig into his experience at Rick Rubin’s Shangri-La Studios and the evolution of his blossoming sound:

*This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

SHEESH: I want to start off our interview by asking about the story behind your latest single, “Dope Sick” with Deb Never. How did that track come into being?

Love Spells: It was such a random thing. I was walking around the studio shirtless, basically frolicking, and I saw Le’Roy talking to a woman. He tells me to come over, and I realize, “Holy shit, that’s Deb Never!” He introduces us and says we should go into the studio. In my head, I was screaming, “No fucking way this is actually happening.” But we ended up doing it and now we have the single!

My friend Jack [Laboz] was the producer, along with Teenage Priest. Jack was sitting at the table, ready with his equipment. I played him a few references for the vibe, and he immediately snapped. Jack is the reason the song is what it is. He’s great at his job. Everything clicked into place and came together so fast and easily. 

SHEESH: It’s such a catchy track. I saw that being at Shangri-La was your first time ever in a studio. Did you experience whiplash going from recording at home to recording at such a legendary spot?

Love Spells: It was literally insane! Chase Plato and I kept telling each other, “This does not feel real.” Like I met Mac DeMarco randomly—such a surreal experience. I was walking across the lawn and saw him just chilling on the porch. I was like, “Am I tripping?” It genuinely felt like an out-of-body experience. 

My first ever interview was in the Bob Dylan bus, and the interviewer—shoutout Isaac, he made me feel so comfortable—told me the last person he interviewed there was Dominic Fike. I’m a huge Dominic Fike fan so that meant a lot to me, like “I’m living out my dreams right now.”And after I left Shangri-La, Travis Scott went there to finish his album. Insane.

SHEESH: How did being at Shangri-La enhance your creative process? What did you learn and take away from the See You Next Year experience?

Love Spells: What I took from it was the love I felt from everyone around me. I felt so comfortable. Also, Shangri-La is such a beautiful space. It inspired a lot of the music I made. It made it easy to create. It wasn’t a conventional studio. We weren’t couped up in front of a computer the whole time. It was a whole house with studios in different rooms, so it felt like we were just hanging out at home together. It made it so natural to make music. I don’t like singing in front of people, but I did because of how comfortable I felt.

SHEESH: Who made the biggest impression on you during your time at Shangri-La? 

Love Spells: Honestly, Chase Plato. He and I were locked in. Skaiwater too. I met her lying on the grass, writing in a notebook. I got the closest to them during my time at Shangri-La. Chase and Skai made the experience so much more enjoyable. I was the youngest there, so they made it a lot less intimidating.

SHEESH: When did you first begin making music? What motivated you to pursue it as a career?

Love Spells: In middle school, I was in this joke music collective called 38mama with my friends. I don’t know if that counts, but I honestly miss it. We made joke music, and I didn’t do anything except rap badly. 

2021 was when I started taking music seriously. It was an awakening for me. I didn’t realize how deeply I loved music until around that time. It shifted everything in my life. 

SHEESH: And from 2021 to now, how has your sound evolved?

Love Spells: My sound has evolved in a crazy way. You can’t listen to my first demos because my SoundCloud got deleted, but if you scroll down to my first release on Spotify and then progressively listen until now, you can hear the evolution. It sounds vastly different from what I’m making now. 

SHEESH: Pigeons and Planes described your sound as “androgynous.” Would you say that’s an intentional choice to create a genderless vocal delivery? 

Love Spells: Honestly, no. It wasn’t intentional at all, but I thought that description was so hard. It wasn’t on purpose, but I wanted my voice to sound very intimate and soft. I wanted it to linger, especially in a higher tone that a lot of women stay in. Beabadoobee is an amazing example of that. I will never forget how her voice sounds in my whole life. I want people to think my voice sounds as sweet and soft as hers. 

SHEESH: Are people often surprised to learn that you’re a man? 

Love Spells: Oh my gosh, yeah everyone thought that I was either a woman or a woman in a band when I started releasing music. No one knew that I was a guy until they went to my Instagram. I still get emails where they speak of Love Spells as a woman. So yeah, it gets mixed up all the time.

SHEESH: I think that’s pretty cool though to create a sound that people can’t pin down gender-wise. 

Love Spells: No yeah, for sure, but I don’t want to be super mysterious. I want people to know me.

SHEESH: So you mentioned Beabadoobee as a creative influence on your sound, who else inspires and influences you?

Love Spells: Lorde, Radiohead—big on Radiohead, Mazzy Star, Clairo for sure, Childish Gambino too. 

SHEESH: How did you go from joke rap to Lorde, Clairo, and Radiohead? What drew you to that softer, more ethereal sound?

Love Spells: I’ll be honest, depression. I felt very sad and misunderstood. I got a lot of my music taste from my older sister—shoutout to my sister, I love you—but she introduced me to most of what I listen to now. Those artists helped me get through that dark period. I went from being angry to being appreciative, and I think you can hear that in my music. I learned to be more grateful of my life, the love I have, and the love I can give.

SHEESH: Outside of music, what are you into? What brings you joy?

Love Spells: I love picnics. That’s probably my favorite thing to do, along with cooking with my friends. I was actually doing that downstairs, right before this call. Those little intimate moments with friends make it so easy to enjoy life and feel more appreciative. 

SHEESH: What’s next for you? What are your goals for 2024?

Love Spells: I want to release music more and do so consistently. I’m hoping to tour by the end of the year. I also plan on starting constructing a project. I have it all down anyway—the look, the sound, the name, the song titles. I’m just waiting till I can take my shot. And I want to collaborate more, which is something I realized through making “Dope Sick” with Deb Never. The energy stayed with me and has really made an impact.

SHEESH: Is there anyone in particular you want to collaborate with?

Love Spells: I think the top of my list right now would be Omar Apollo, Jean Dawson, Night Tapes, and Kali Uchis. Lana Del Ray, Cigarettes After Sex, and Mac DeMarco too. 

SHEESH: I’m so excited to see what the future holds for you.

Listen to “Dope Sick” featuring Deb Never, available now on all streaming platforms.

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