For this issue, we talked with Eden and Ariela of one of our current favorite bands: The Love-Inns. Comprised of Eden Hain, Eric Martinez, and Ariela Barer, this not-a-girl-band’s punchy, heartfelt lyrics and indie/alternative style will definitely make you want to download their latest album, Split Lip, immediately.
Although Split Lip was just released last year, it’s been a long time in the making. Ariela and Eden actually grew up surrounded by music. As Eden tells it, “Ariela’s dad is literally a composer. He’s a very talented person. We grew up together, and we would always listen to her dad composing in the living room. It engenders a work ethic when someone older than you is still practising scales and finger work.” Eden’s home was similarly musically focused, with their dad constantly talking to them about music, while their mom regaled them with tales of hanging out with famous artists in their home city of Los Angeles.
Given this upbringing, it isn’t surprising that the two were both young music lovers. Ariela’s mother remembers how the two girls, “were raising money to buy a tour bus when we were 6 years old. We wanted to tour as babies!” But, before the two could tour the world, they had to form a band. Ariela knew how to play piano and guitar and sing from a young age and told us how “around that Dust Factory song [more on that song later] phase for me when I had no idea what I was going to do, I decided to start a band. We talked to friends in bands and said let’s start a band. Eden kept talking to me about wanting to start a band and needing a bass – it never registered that you were asking me.”
As for Split Lip, the group names Mitski, Elliott Smith, and Tegan and Sara as their primary inspirations for this album, as well as life in general. They told us that “Mitski has been one of our most constant inspirations, given the depth in her lyrics” and went on to describe how they, “listen to a lot of of Tegan and Sara - they’re the perfect little rock duo in every way. In a way, they were the most formative thing to me, with their poignant lyrics, when I was 12 years old and didn’t realize that I was queer and depressed.”
Some of our favorite songs on the album are “Don’t Hit on Me,” “Split Lip,” and “Dust Factory.” So, we chatted with the group about the process and meaning behind those songs:
On “Don’t Hit on Me,” The Love-Inns say that, “It’s extremely relevant, especially to the #metoo movement. I wrote it about a guy I was working with at the time who was very awful – he luckily doesn’t have a career anymore… It’s a bittersweet thing because when girls tell me they relate to the song I’m like ‘I’m sorry’ but also ‘yay, we’re doing something.’”
On Split Lip, they also explored the theme of writing what they know, explaining how they, “really admire artists who can write about things that don’t exist in their day to day lives. The beginning of the Split Lip music video is about conversations we’ve had almost verbatim, actually.”
Discussing the powerhouse “Dust Factory,” the Ariela explained the significance behind the song’s complex and poignant lyrics saying that “This was written after I had sort of come to the realization that I was so depressed in high school that I could not imagine going to college. Neither of my parents went to college immediately after high school either. About the dust part – my dad was working as a carpenter and was inhaling so much dust and he felt like he was living in a dust factory, not doing anything productive towards his future, not learning anything. This song is about that feeling of being stuck somewhere not doing anything productive.”
As for their image as a band, the Love-Inns make it very clear that they’re anything but a girl band. They make the convincing argument that “putting the gender of a band as a pre-moniker to the word band serves to infantilize [it] – One Direction is called a boyband, while the Beatles are not. It delegitimizes the band’s message.” In fact, Eden explains, “I identify as nonbinary so only ⅓ of our band is female. Calling us a girlband pinpoints us for something that we’re actually really not.” They laughed and finished, “It would be more accurate to call us a hispanic band.”
Along the same vein, we asked them if they’d experienced examples of gender based discrimination in the music industry. Eden told us the following: “When Ariela was buying a bass, despite her years and years of experience, an employee checked on us constantly. It really showed how girls are thought of as not belonging in the music industry. In fact, this guy - who was completely clueless - wasn’t asked if he needed help once.”
Finally, we asked Ariela and Eden what they’d be doing if they weren’t in The Love-Inns. Ariela is actually an actor and, with more than 50,000 followers on Instagram and a verified status, she’s definitely an up and coming star. She currently stars in Marvel’s Runaways and the new Netflix original series, One Day at a Time. Eden, on the other hand, thinks they would be a novelist or biographer.
For teenagers who are struggling in their own “Dust Factories,” unsure where to go with themselves, The Love-Inns suggest reading Anne Frank, Gloria Steinem, and Bell Hooks. And, they say, “Work to create opportunities. Work so hard that no matter what happens, you can rely on yourself.”