New Brunswick’s Lost Romance is equal parts grunge, punk, pop and rock. From poetic ballads and regretful tales of heartbreak to upbeat, urgent punk songs, they craft their music with a rawness that’s hard to duplicate. The exigency in the rhythm of each song, the vulnerability of their lyrics and their unique chord progressions define their sound and make them who they are. The Pop Break had the opportunity to speak with Gerald Perlinski of Lost Romance about the attributes of their sound, a rundown of all the cool places they’ve toured, their single “Heart on a Wire” and favorite memories.
Who is a part of Lost Romance? (Band members and the instruments you play): For the past three years, the lineup in Lost Romance has consisted of myself (Gerald Perlinski) on lead vocals and guitar, Dan Haag on bass and backing vocals, and drummers David Harman and Amine Smires respectively. That being said, we’ve become more of a collective over the years with live performers for the rhythm section including on bass, my good friend Anthony Kroposky, and Marty O’Kane, who’s played with everyone from Debbie Harry to Fun. and Alex Grippo who currently plays with Frank Iero And The Patience. It’s been a great ride so far and I’m thankful to everyone who’s been a part of the journey.
I see that you are based in New Brunswick, which is just a couple minutes away from me. Where are you favorite places to play in Hub City? Apart from NB, where do you tend to play shows: We are a touring band and have played every state on the East Coast from Maine to Florida with stints in the South (Nashville, Memphis) and the rock hubs of Cleveland and Detroit. We’ve done full band as well as solo acoustic tours. Some of our favorite places to play include Portland, Maine, Boston and Philly. Locally, of course, The Court Tavern is always a good time. We’re currently looking into the Scarlet Pub and getting into playing more of the basement scene in New Brunswick. We also play regularly at Maxwell’s and are part of both the Jersey City and Asbury Park scenes. Some notable festivals we’ve done are CMJ Music Marathon, CBGB Music Festival, Asbury Underground and Light Of Day.
What genres do you draw from the most in your music? If you could create your own genre name to describe your music, what would you call it: In general, I would say that we draw mostly from late 70’s/early 80’s punk, 90’s alternative rock and power pop. Somewhere in between Husker Du, Nirvana, The Smithereens and The Replacements, with a modern twist.
Creating our own genre? Hmmm… that’s an interesting question. Grunge-A-Punk Pop? Minneapolis Grunge? Something that combines all of our influences into one genre.
What elements make up the signature sound of Lost Romance? What makes your songs so recognizable to listeners: Our drummer Amine says it’s the chord progressions, aggressive guitars and melodic vocals. I think it’s a combination of those things, but I think what makes our songs recognizable are the sense of urgency in the rhythms, an honesty and vulnerability in the lyrics and a raw directness in the production style. We want people to relate to the music on a visceral level. We’re also not trying to be anyone else but us.
From your 2013 EP The Light and the Dark to your most recent single “Heart on a Wire,” how has your music evolved over the past couple years: I would say the music has become even more raw than when it started. We recorded The Light And The Dark in a studio in Brooklyn and we recorded the single “Heart On A Wire” at bassist Dan Haag’s basement studio on a four-track cassette. I love limitations. I think that helps spawn creativity big time. When you have too many choices, things can get muddy and sometimes sound overproduced. I write the majority of our songs on an acoustic guitar and use effects sparingly live and on recordings. When you have less options, it forces you to dig deeper within yourself to experiment and be creative.
Speaking of “Heart on a Wire,” it’s easy to tell that this track is about heartbreak, especially from the chorus “it tears you apart from the inside.” (Side note: the guitar solo at the end is pretty awesome.) What sounds are explored on this track, and how would you describe its message: The basic tracks were done on a four-track cassette recorder, giving it that (literal) basement vibe. We were definitely going for a Husker Du punk feel on this recording. This was one of many songs we recorded at Dan’s basement studio. Glad you dug the guitar solo! For that part, I wanted a bit of a lift to the song so we use a half-time rhythm and added a touch of delay to the guitar to give it more of an airy feel.
The message of the song is about putting your heart on the line, but not being afraid to do so. When you are in a relationship, like Rob Base said, “it takes two to make a thing go right.” The song is about putting your feelings out there, but also asking the other person not to be afraid to put theirs out there too.
I also really like your song “Top of the World” because there are a lot of heavy emotions packed into it. To me, it’s about longing for someone you can’t have and the sadness of accepting that. It’s relatable to a lot of people. Is this accurate at all? What does this song mean to you: Not every relationship is or can be reciprocal. Even when it may start out that way or you think it is that way, situations change, people change and eventually things fall apart. You can try all you want, but if the other person is not willing to make concessions to make it work, there’s not much you can do about it. I think everyone has gone through a situation like that, so yes, I think it’s very relatable to a lot of people. So the meaning can be taken that way, but I leave it up to the listener ultimately to find out what it means to them.
Currently, what song of yours do you connect with the most? Why is it that you relate to this track so strongly now: I would have to say one of our newest songs, “We’re In Love.” It’s a ballad, but with a big chorus. I recently recorded a live version of it at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, TN, which we have available for free download on NoiseTrade.com. It was recorded solo acoustic at their small recording studio, right in the venue itself. It was a great experience to record at the original Grand Ole Opry with all its rich musical history and vibes. You just can’t beat it.
This song is about overcoming obstacles and being a team in a relationship. It’s about how no matter what life throws at you, love comes above everything. I think it’s a good way to live. No matter what the question, love is always the answer.
Out of all of your experiences creating and performing music as Lost Romance, what is one of your favorite memories: Wow, there are so many! One of my favorite memories was playing a show in Portland, Maine in the middle of a blizzard one winter. We were on the road heading up just past the border from New Hampshire to Maine and as if on cue, this wall of snow began to fall. We wondered if anyone would actually show up to the gig during a snowstorm. Well, that’s the difference between playing in New Jersey and playing in Maine. In New Jersey, you can get an inch of snow on the ground and people freak out and don’t go to shows. Unless there’s four feet of snow in Maine, people will come to your show. Even if there’s four feet, you might still have a crowd! We had a packed house with people coming up to the stage singing right along with us. They were incredibly enthusiastic and welcoming.
What are you looking forward to the most for the rest of 2017: Since it’s already December, I’m looking forward to the holidays and the opportunity to spend time with my family and friends. I also have a ton of new songs I’m working on so I’m looking forward to completing those. And of course, I always wish for snow so I can hit the slopes and go skiing!