lovetempo, founded by The Rapture bassist Mattie Safer, melds nostalgic sounds of disco and jazz. The project recently rolled out a new collaborative single, and we had a chance to talk about the track and more below.
Thanks for taking some time to talk with us! You’re on the heels of a new collaborative single/cover release. That’s a mouthful in itself, but there’s probably a lot to unpack with that. Where does collaboration fit into the lovetempo ecosystem? Are there future plans for more collaborations?
This cover happened somewhat accidentally, I was messing around in the studio and found myself playing something on bass that followed the same chord progression as the chorus of “Same Ole Love,” so I decided to just dive all the way in and make it a cover. The most difficult thing about doing a cover is finding a way to put your own signature on it, so l, having stumbled into one accidentally, it seemed foolish not to. And I love Anita Baker! Prince Terrence has such a beautiful singing voice, I thought he would be a better fit for the song than me, and it was nice to have a reason to work with a good friend. I love collaborating and certainly hope to do more of it.
You’ve been in the scene for a while now, from the pre-streaming days to the more content-driven era of TikTok. What excites you most about this present stage in your career? What do you find is most challenging?
Things are quite different than they were when I started out in music. The thing I miss about the pre-social media era is that there used to be significant time in my life when I didn’t feel like I was performing or curating an image. Now it’s something that I think about almost every day during a release cycle, or even when I’m on vacation. There were shows and photos and press, but that was all confined to specific moments, and the rest of the time I could work on music, or relax and just be. I think for musicians who came of age in an Instagram/TikTok world it comes a little more naturally and feels normal, but creating content exclusively for social media still feels like a thing I have to step outside of my normal flow to do.
That said, I discover and connect with a lot of new music, musicians, and friends through social media, so I do value that aspect of it. I like that it can offer a platform to artists that are just starting out and don’t have as many resources, or perhaps make music that isn’t easily translated to a live performance/club situation. So I think there are positives to it.
Streaming has made it affordable to have a much shallower relationship with a much broader range of music, I don’t know if that’s good or bad.
What’s it been like to take the reins on this project? How has that impacted the songwriting process?
The Rapture was a band that, at its best, was deeply grounded in collaboration and compromise, and the band’s best work reflected that. But it did mean that a certain amount of good ideas just fell through the cracks because one or more people just couldn’t find a way in. This project has been more about a singular vision, but I still try to work with musicians who can bring their own ideas and personality into the music. Musicians like Morgan Wiley (who has played keys on the majority of the music) Alberto Lopez (the percussionist on many lovetempo songs) and Grant Zubritsky (who played sax on a song and offered up a lot of production ideas) have been great collaborators who have really elevated the sound with their talents and enhanced the music in ways that I couldn’t have imagined on my own.
It’s always to hear what inspires artists – some draw more from books or movies than other musicians. Is there anything particularly surprising that helps guide your creative process?
I just try to turn the things that I hear in my head into music. The influences and references come into play more when I am trying to communicate ideas with collaborators, the actual creation of an idea is a very mysterious and beautiful thing that I wouldn’t know how to explain, and I love that about it.
Lovetempo’s style is groove-heavy and seems to borrow heavily from Latin jazz. Many genres tend to get a comeback, but I’m not sure we’ve seen a resurgence of this just yet. What have you noticed on this front?
I think that for me a lot of that influence comes a little indirectly, through the way that music influenced and shaped soul jazz and disco in the 70s, and New York house music in the 90s/00s. I think a lot of jazz (and jazz-influenced) artists have moved away from swing feel, and Afro-Latin music is a great way to bring both complexity and fun to more straight ahead rhythms. A lot of the inspiration for lovetempo’s sound came from how playing in Poolside and seeing how Brijean’s playing could really excite and move the crowd.
You released your self-titled debut earlier this year. How has reception been so far?
It’s been great! It’s always a good sign when your friends tell you that they’ve listened to and likes your music without being prompted. And it’s been great to have the opportunity to take the show on the road a bit.
You’ve got a lot of experience across different projects. What’s the top piece of advice you’d give to a new band or someone considering taking music more seriously?
Take the time to figure out what you truly love and vibrate with, but don’t be afraid to put out “imperfect” work and grow through the experience of performing and releasing music along the way.
What are some of your favorite modern albums? Are there any highlights from 2023 you’d suggest?
I really loved the record that 79.5 put out earlier this year, as well as Madison McFerrin’s latest release. Meerna’s new album is delightful. I played bass for an artist called Hnry Flwr that released an album that I think is masterful. Dougie Stu’s ‘Familiar Future’ is great. Brijean’s ‘Feelings’ is fantastic. Adi Oasis’ ‘Lotus Glow’ has a great feeling. And the new Andre 3000 is kinda my shit!
I recorded a bunch of new music this summer, that should be coming out in one form or another in 2024.
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Thank you for taking the time to ask such thoughtful questions!