Exclusive Interview with Preston Lovinggood

Preston Lovinggood - Taken In The Night (Official Video)

You might remember Preston Lovinggood from his days as the vocalist for the indie rock band Wild Sweet Orange. After taking some time off to overcome mental health struggles and addiction and find a healthy and happy life, he’s back with a brand new album, Consequences.

I got the chance to talk with Preston about how he originally got into making music, his musical influences, why the album is called Consequences, his love of Harry Potter, and so much more! Keep reading to see what he had to say!

Tell me a little bit about how you first got into making and performing music.

It was challenge as a child to really get out of myself. I met this kid Chip when I was in 5th grade who pretty much took my hand and said, “Listen to this band, buy a bass, and lets eat Taco Bell and practice every Sunday night.”

Was there a specific moment or person that made you realize that music is what you wanted to pursue professionally?

I think in high school reading the classics and about the poets of the 19th century really inspired me to not look for approval from the white collar culture. I romanticized about surrendering to the muse of an artistic life and to be honest, I don’t think I’ve looked back since.

I’m always genuinely curious about what artists want to convey to listeners with their music. So, if you had to describe the music you create without using genre names, how would you describe it?

I think I’m so concerned about conveying something honest that I’m not really thinking about genre. It is really hard for me to not think about The Beatles and traditional songwriting structure when I’m putting something together though. I think I do really want to challenge people to think about something ordinary in their lives in an extraordinary way, so I think that’s more of a folk thing than a rock n’ roll thing?

Kind of going off that, who are some of your musical influences?

For sure 60s pop, 80s alternative and 90s singer songwriter stuff, and for sure the Laurel Canyon ballad stuff from the 70s. Again, I’m looking to be moved. I’m a lyric and melody guy.

Let’s talk about your new album, Consequences, which I know is also the name of one of the tracks on the album. Why did you want to name the album this?

Reflecting on the last decade of my life felt like I was coming out of a storm cellar. The wreckage of the past and the constant morbid reflection caused me to fall into a deep depression that knew no end. I felt a lot of resentment towards my parents and to myself, [but] realize now that we are all human and capable of grave mistakes but also great love. Seeing good and bad consequences became a theme of the songs and it just felt like everything I was trying to say.

What was the recording process like for this album? How long did it take for this to come together from start to finish?

Some of the songs sat around for 10 years and were finished that day in the studio. The recording process of this album could not have been more inspired. I was really hoping that spirit of calmness and letting go through simple love and loss songs could be heard in a new way to others.

The most recent single from the album is “Taken In the Night.” What’s the story behind that song?

That song was originally about loosing your mind after 3 months of touring. It turned into this “what happened to your childhood dream” kind of song, thinking about how not committing to a relationship and trying to be a “rock star” is a disgusting way to live.

I always love hearing about the songwriting process, so I was wondering if you could give me a glimpse into what it was like specifically for this song.

At first, I thought of the guitar lick that became the chorus, then came the melody for both verse and chorus. The first line —  “you were taken in the night” — came pretty naturally, which rarely happens for me. I just kept envisioning my band at the time driving from Alabama to Texas to LA over and over again with 11 songs and a longing to be heard. At first, the chorus was “put the gun down, put the gun down” but my co-writer wanted to make it something more chill, so we changed it to, “play it loose now, let your guard down, have some fun with it, and keep your head.” The Weezer-ish bridge finally came together like 5 years later in Nashville, writing with some friends.

Do you tend to write by yourselves or do you like collaborating with other writers and artists in co-writes?

I love for it to start alone in a quiet place and then call on my friends. Its like a movie to me. I like to describe a scene and then go from there. To be honest, I think I need to be in the film industry! 

Was there any major changes to “Taken In the Night” that happened once you got into the recording studio, whether it be in the lyrics or something sonically?

Juan Solorzano, who produced the record, was playing some licks that I think were even surprising him. It was a very Nels Cline kind of a day.

I know you also got to shoot a music video for this song. What was that experience like? Was that your first time shooting a music video?

I’ve been shooting videos with my friends since a very young age. So shooting this video I was having fun tapping into that inner drama kid. It felt like I was in middle school again listening to green day and singing into a mirror.

What do you hope people take away from this album and your music in general?

I truly hope it can have a calming effect. I was learning to lighten up and not take everything so seriously during the recording and I hope that comes through.

Last question — we’re called Talk Nerdy With Us because we all have an inner nerd so what is something that you’re currently “nerding” out about?

I’m completely nerding out on Harry Potter right now, combing through details I may have missed out on over the years. There are so many good podcast about this! [I’m] trying to remember all the history of Dumbledore’s family etc. and a continuing crush on Luna Lovegood. [I] really wish her and Harry would have gotten married or at least dated, no offense to Ginny.

Make sure you follow Preston on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. He’s got a few shows coming up, so make sure you go see him if he’s coming to a city near you:

June 20 – The Earl – Atlanta, GA

June 21 – The High Watt – Nashville, TN

June 22 – WorkPlay – Birmingham, AL

Photo Credit: Jay Gunning

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