HomeInterviewsHappy Mondays Interview Series: Those Looks

Happy Mondays Interview Series: Those Looks

Those Looks
Photo Courtesy of Embrace DIY Productions

“A Velvet wave of slow jams from the wilds of New Jersey” might be one of the best descriptions of a band I’ve read in the 10 years of this site. While it might seem like a hyperbolic description, this is actually the perfect description of Those Looks out of Lambertville. The velveteen smoothness of the band’s slow jams — underscored by moody surf guitars and distortion — evoke imagery of a David Lynch thriller. Relatively new to the scene, Those Looks is definitely a band to keep a sharp eye out for.

We caught up with lead singer Kelly Bolding as they prepare to play Happy Mondays at Wonder Bar tonight.

Those Looks Are (Band Members & Instruments They Play): Kelly Bolding (lead vocals, guitar), Sylvia Barrantes (lead guitar, vocals), Randall Newman (bass, vocals), Shaun Ellis (drums).

Year We Formed In: 2019

We’re Based Out Of: Lambertville, NJ

The Story Behind Our Name: The four of us started playing together informally last year with another friend under the name Big Muff. Once we were ready to release some songs, we decided to change our name so as not to offend Electro-Harmonix and Kelly’s mom. We threw out a bunch of ideas and settled on Those Looks. It’s fitting because several of us are known for giving “looks,” such as when someone throws a drumstick.

Our Sound Has Been Likened To: Julia Jacklin, Sharon Van Etten, Crumb, Chris Isaak.

You’ve Seen Us in Other Bands Before Such As: Shaun plays the mandolin in a band called High Hearts that he’s been in since 2005 (also formerly of Artstar). Randy’s other band is called Creeping Charlie. Kelly and Sylvia also played together in Forty Winks.

Famous/Cool Bands We’ve Shared the Stage With: We’re lucky to live in an area with so many really talented musicians. Spider Lily, Sugar Cicadas, The Swiss Guard, Our Bodies Themselves, and Rachel Rosemarie are all awesome local acts we’ve played with recently. Our new favorite is Kova Tova, who we just played a show with at Barca City in New Brunswick. They rock.

You might have one of the best descriptions of all-time when you say you guys sound like, “Velvet wave of slow jams from the wilds of NJ.” Can you talk about how you came up with this description?

When we were first starting out, we weren’t super proficient on our instruments so we played everything really slowly. ALL our songs were slow jams. But it’s amazing how a slow song can have so much space and groove to it. And Lambertville is an urban island in the middle of a very rural, bucolic section of New Jersey. When we were putting our Bandcamp description together, we were listening to Chill Wave and Retro Wave. Our music could just as easily appear in a David Lynch movie as a soundtrack for watching surfers on a breezy beach, so Velvet Wave seemed appropriate.

Can you talk about how you guys go together?

We started off playing some covers together by bands whose sound we liked and then eventually found a spot where that converged with our own abilities and playing styles. Sylvia transitioned from the nyckelharpa (a Swedish keyed fiddle) to guitar for this band, so that informs the way she plays. She comes up with these tasteful surfy lead parts that give us a coherent sound. Pair that with melodic basslines, moody vocals, and some minimalist drum parts, and that’s basically it. We also try to throw some harmonies in there.

You dropped an EP in July — will we be seeing any releases coming up in the future?

Our EP started as a demo to get some local shows. But we were pretty happy with how it came out, so we decided to release it as an EP. Then we started booking a few shows to promote it, and suddenly it snowballed into our “fall tour.” We also just recorded a song for a Kinks compilation that Riverdog Recording Studio in Lambertville is putting together and should be coming out soon. Then we’re looking forward to taking a three to four month break starting in December to write and record some new material.

What do you love about being in this band?

We’re all close friends, so we really like hanging out and working on songs together. Our writing process is also very collaborative — no one person is the primary songwriter. Some of us are newer to our instruments, which brings with it some limitations, but it gives us a unique sound.

What’s a definitive goal you have for this band in the next year?

We’d like to make a few videos for the songs on the EP, as well as write enough new songs for a full-length album.

What are you most excited for in 2019 (and early 2020)?

We’re pretty pumped for our last few shows in November. We’ll be playing NJ Weedman’s Joint in Trenton on the 22nd and the Chubby Pickle in Atlantic Highlands on the 23rd. After that, we’re excited to get back to writing new songs. Randy lives in a converted church up in Hampton, NJ, so we picture ourselves spending the winter camped out there working on new tunes in front of the wood stove.

Those Looks performs tonight at Happy Mondays at Wonder Bar in Asbury Park, NJ with The Extensions.

Bill Bodkin
Bill Bodkinhttps://thepopbreak.com
Bill Bodkin is the editor-in-chief and co-founder of Pop Break, and most importantly a husband, and father. Ol' Graybeard writes way too much about wrestling, jam bands, Asbury Park music, HBO shows, and can often be seen under his season DJ alias, DJ Father Christmas. He is the co-host of the Socially Distanced Podcast (w/Al Mannarino) which drops weekly on Apple, Google, Anchor & Spotify. He is the co-host of the monthly podcasts -- Anchored in Asbury, TV Break and Bill vs. The MCU.

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