One Outta Ten is the L.A. Garage-Pop passion project between brothers Joshua and David de Leon.
The pair have been hammering-out infection tunes since their high school years of aspiring to become a rock-stars, playing concerts out of their garage for friends, and nourishing their fantasies. Their latest single, "The Only Lovers Left Alive," feels like a scheme split between Albert Hammond Jr. and an adolescent Alex Turner in a bid to imbue these five hopeful post-punk minds with some carbonated flare and hopeless romance.
Though Joshua's lyrics are swoony and stimulating—"please forgive me, baby, you're everything I need, I need a reality check because loving you will make me bleed"—his carbonated yearning vocals make it clear that the band is having a blast, buzzing over the standard convivial sonics pumping from their well-worn amps.
Though the song oozes with the tension of romantic turbulence, it still sustains the band's eminent sonic stratagems, keeping things cheerful despite the underlining melancholic core. They do this utilizing Dustin Hunt's lo-fi keys, Tyler Lofftus's polished, melodic guitar solos, James Gill's rounded low-end, and the jaunty spirited cadence you can anticipate when David de Leon plies apart drumkit.
The simultaneously carefree, as it is invigorating, dispensing danceable rhythm from verse to the chorus as the band members—who are best friends by now—jute out garage-pop driving verses and wavy ska and soca-inspired breakdowns amidst whisky obliging top-lines.
On "The Only Lovers Left Alive," One Outta Ten makes the variety of eccentric garage party music that perfectly surfeits the morsel of sour taste a bad-romance can leave behind in your mouth, making it a passionate declaration to the fact that their music can gladden anyone's day.
Can you run us through how you produced "The Only Lovers Left Alive," amidst the pandemic? Where do you record, write, and collude over your instrumental orchestrations for this track?
I wrote "The Only Lovers" around February/March of last year, but it was super stripped down and nowhere near the final version. Pretty much just vocals and a basic guitar progression. After the pandemic happened, I had the rest of the band layer the parts on it. Tyler wrote out an amazing lead guitar for the song, much better than anything I made up. James came into the garage where we do all our recording in and laid down a bass track. Our keyboardist Dustin worked hard at making a really sick organ line and a piano line, and you can hear them hard-panned left and right in the final mix. Finally, my brother, David, does all the drumming, and this is the first track we made that uses more than two microphones to get the whole kit. It sounds a lot better, in my opinion, and I'm really glad I picked those mics up. Recording actually took some troubleshooting, just because of the different nature that the pandemic has brought upon us, and we're all a little tired of it but we worked around each other's schedules in order to make sure it was only like two people recording at a time in the garage. This all happened in summer, in a garage with no air conditioning, so we were all a little out of our minds, but I think the finished album will be worth it.
What were some of the emotions you found yourselves channeling into for the live performances you've captured on "The Only Lovers Left Alive?"
Well, we haven't exactly had a live performance of the song yet, because we haven't had any practices altogether. The song will be a little tough to pull off life, mostly because of all the layers we added in the studio, but I think with some practice we'll be able to pull it off. I will say that in past live performances we all get into the groove, especially when the crowd is jumping to some of our other songs like "Living Together" and "What Would I Do Without You?". I got a little crazy at one of the house parties we played last year, just acting a fool in my friend's garage back in college. It was a great time for everyone, and I think the best way to chalk up our live performances is that everyone is friendly with each other when we play our loud stuff, and everyone can get a little sad when we play our sad stuff. It all comes down to having a great time with friends and as long as the crowd is having a blast watching us look like idiots on stage, it's a job well done. Our next project is centered around how important it is to have people you can rely on, and I hope the message I'm putting out of "don't reject help when you need it!" reaches our listeners.
What were some of the most memorable experiences behind "The Only Lovers Left Alive" production process? Does this particular song hold any sentimental value in your hearts regarding personal experiences?
One of the biggest differences when making "The Only Lovers Left Alive" was that all the band was isolated when writing their parts, but sometimes the guys would come over to flesh out an idea in the garage with me. It was a really nice time collaborating because sometimes I'd go up to weeks without seeing my bandmates and it really sucked. Friends are super important during this time and it was just nice having some dudes to talk to, and not even just make music with, but just to check up on my friends and make sure they're handling this very drastic situation well. Recording the keyboard parts was very memorable to me, mostly because I had no input and it was up to Dustin to make a kickass organ line and piano part to go along with what was already recorded. When I put the tracks on what we had already recorded, it blew me away and I think it really made a difference to the final product. Regarding the song, I had written it after a pretty bad spot in life where I was emotionally drained and really reaching for human contact, and part of that shines through, especially in the lyrics. Our main character in the song is super desperate for attention from the object of his desires, but when the full album we have planned comes out the full story of our protagonist will be clear(er). I remember I was really doing some soul-searching, and maybe I put a little too much personal stock into someone I knew and when nothing came out of it, I ended up writing this song to vent my frustration. And it really hurt, but it was self-therapeutic and helped me get my life into perspective that I'm doing everything I want for ME, and not someone who won't matter to me if they won't treat me the way I want to be treated.
If you could give your listeners a few words that would stand as the prologue to the emotional experience behind "The Only Lovers Left Alive," what would you say, and why?
To the listener: This song will take you through a wide range of emotions, from a longing hope that someone is thinking about you to the crushing realization that they won't come for you. But if you ever feel lonely like in the song, just reach out to someone! Hell, you can even reach out to me. You are not alone :)
What has been keeping you inspired in 2020?
It's really hard for me to stay focused right now. There's a lot of nasty stuff happening right now, and I won't get into it because there's already a lot of negativity in the world. I just miss my friends so much and going out and being normal like before. But I feel like if I stop writing music I'll go back down a hole that's hard to come out of, so out of self-preservation I feel like this is the only option. And it's great timing, because there's nothing to do, and I feel no pressure to write as I please. It's just weird having an open schedule and a garage full of instruments that I can finally get back to making music with, but there's no live music and that's what's really getting to my head. I have to remember this is all temporary, and the music will reach new people as time goes on. Hopefully, that'll be enough for me to keep making some sad, angsty, post-teen-but-pre-adult rock music.