Love Fiend’s Interview: Synth-Punk on the Drizzled Highway

In conversation with Jesse Summers lead singer and guitarist for Love Fiend

Love Fiend is an American band from Los Angeles, California, originally formed in Oakland. The band comprises Owen Summers on bass, Owen Barrett on drums, and Raymond Schmidt on guitar and synthesizer. They are known for merging punk and 80s-inspired synth sounds, supported by a mix of guitars, synthesizers, and saxophones. “Hard Feelings.” is the first single of their upcoming 10-tracks album “Handle With Care,” set to be released on July 12, 2024, through In The Red Records.

Love Fiend’s Spotify , Bandcamp & Instagram

How did Love Fiend come to life? Was there a defining gig, jam session, or meeting that sparked the formation?

Since 2015, the band has consisted of myself, my brother Owen Summers on bass, and Owen Barrett on drums. We started out in Oakland playing shows and writing, and all of our current recordings were created with this trio. About 2 years ago, our buddy Raymond Schmidt joined the group on guitar and synthesizer once we moved to Los Angeles. Our new record “Handle With Care,” out July 12 on In the Red Records, was written by Raymond, Odie and I last spring. The name “Love Fiend” was a gift from a legendary drag queen named Cherry Poppins in Oakland who thought our band needed a spicier name.

Who were the major influences on your early music, and how do they echo in your sound today?

Really we all grew up on classic rock like The Who, the Stones, ACDC, etc. and for me it’s that boyish joy of rock and roll that motivates me. My brother and I watched a lot of concert films on VHS as kids like “Stop Making Sense,” and “Live at Donington,” which showed us how larger than life music could be. When Pete Townsend does the crazy windmill at the end of “A Quick One” in “Rock and Roll Circus,” that’s still the vibe. 

What were the major challenges you faced in the beginning?

Honestly, we still face the same challenges that we faced when we started out. Writing, rehearsing, recording, and playing is easy because we enjoy it. But having to be your own promoter, booking agent, manager, etc., will always be a pain in the ass. We are grateful to John Dwyer who was the first person to really lend a hand to us. He got us some money from In the Red (Thanks Larry!) to record our first LP, and he produced it at his studio. 

How do you decide on the themes for your albums? Is there a specific process or do they evolve naturally?

“Handle With Care,” is technically our first album. Themes evolve naturally, and there is never any planning out what we are going to write about. We start with the music and usually that informs where we want to go lyrically. 

Love Fiend interview
Love Fiend

How has the LA music scene influenced your style and approach?

LA is a huge melting pot of musical styles, so there is a lot to take inspiration from. I feel like the city itself is the biggest influence on our sound. Freeways, skyscrapers and helicopters are inspiring to me. We just try to create music that we would want to listen to.

What stories or moments inspired those first tracks you created?

Our songs generally reflect our opinions and experiences of the cities and scenes we inhabit. But I’ll say that the real rock and roll pizza man is still out there, burning out in cul-de-sacs, ass crack and all. 

What’s your favorite piece of equipment in the studio, and how does it impact your sound?

Every song I’ve ever done was written on the B. Toys Interactive Cat Piano. The other members are classically trained musicians. 

Love Fiend interview 3
Love Fiend

Now that “Singles 2020-2023” has been out for a few weeks, how has the reception been?

Singles 2020-2023 is just a repackaging of previously released songs on the internet, so there hasn’t been any reception. Not sure if anyone has even heard those songs ha! All the songs were self released. There wasn’t any selection process because we just took every single we had put out in that time onto one album. Easy.

What’s your next musical project?

“Handle With Care” is out July 12! The first single/video is called “Hard Feelings” and it’s out now! God bless

Photos courtesy of Love Fiend

Last Updated on May 24, 2024 by retrofuturista

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