Q&A with love+war

love+war is a Nashville, Tennessee based Electro-Pop duo comprised of writer-producer-guitarist team Coury Palermo and Ron Robinson who just released their debut EP "Hue".  The two began writing together in the fall of 2014 with no other intention but writing material for possible pitches in TV/Film.  In early 2015, the two-piece began working on a collection of covers and an EP of originals simultaneously. 

We linked up with Coury and Ron recently and asked them about their name and how they became a group, whether they're influenced by Country Music, their songwriting process and more. 

Carlton Boyd

I really like the name love+war; what does it mean and how did you guys come together to form a group? Coury: To me (the name) it symbolizes where we are as a society.  We live in a time of such immense hope and chaos - it's the collision of both mind sets.  
We began writing together last fall and realized how effortless the collaboration was.  We kind of stumbled onto "the duo thing" once the songs kept coming.  It is by far the easiest collaborative experience of my career.

Being that you guys are based in Nashville, which is largely known as the "home or center of Country Music", would you say that your music influenced by that genre at all? Coury:  I'm actually based out of East Nashville, which is a more fringe/non-traditional area of Nashville. Think "East Village" rather than "Upper Eastside" - in comparison.  I love Nashville and all of it's rich history - both country and other.  What may surprise people is the varied taste of the city.  I'm not sure I can say I'm influenced by country music, but I am influenced by the city and the people I live my life with.  It is a different pace than a New York or LA, which I appreciate.  I'm not much for the posturing that comes with being a musician, so I enjoy the freedom to be oneself that Nashville provides.

Ron: Nashville has always been known as the center of country music, but in the last decade or so it’s really held up to the name “Music City”. Everything is being recorded here now.  Artists and musicians are not going to LA or New York like they used to, they’re all coming here. 

Who are some of your musical influences? Coury: I grew up on blue-eyed soul, hip-hop and what I like to call "chick-rock".  Annie Lennox, Sade, George Michael - these were the records I cut my teeth on - the artists that made me fall in love with words and melody. They are the same artists I can still put on and get lost in.

Ron: Peter Gabriel, Tom Petty, Tears For Fears, The Cure, The Outfield, basically anything that’s 80’s pop.  That is my favorite era of music hands down. I pretty much like anything with a great track - solid hooks and melodies.

What's the songwriting process like for you guys? Coury: We usually set up some mics in the control room, grab a guitar and begin.  There's no big process.  It usually comes extremely fast. For me - I write a ton while I'm driving, so there's a plethora of ideas to pull from.

Ron: Yeah we’ll set up in the studio - both have headphones on with some effects we love - hit record and start experimenting. Sometimes the tracks (programming wise) start to take shape at that point. 
Its much more inspiring to hear an idea in the vein of a finished product “as” you’re working on it. Much more so than writing/playing “acoustically in the room” if you will.  We find that it really helps enhance the creative process.

The "Hue" EP is an incredible collection of songs to listen to with a quality set of headphones on but I am sure that seeing you guys perform these tracks live is a whole other experience. Will you guys be hitting the road to perform these songs on tour? Coury: Thank you.  Currently we are rehearsing a small set and would love to get out there and start playing.  We have a lot of new songs in the wheel house that we'd love to hash out live as well before recording the full-length album, so yes - touring is on the forefront.  

Ron: Thank you! Yes, I’m looking forward to it as well.  The process of working out the material outside of the studio is always fun.  Will it be more full sounding - like the record, or stripped back?  At this point that's still to be determined.  Either way we are super excited to get out there in front of an audience.

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