You might know lovelytheband from their 2018 debut single, “broken,” which spent a year-best six weeks at No. 1 on the Alternative Radio chart and reached more than a billion listeners by October. The smash hit, which is on their Christian Medice-produced album finding it hard to smile, touches on singer Mitchy Collins' struggles. Collins says the album name is “not really a comedic thing,” and that it “was just like a lot of struggles I was dealing with in my life, kinda rolled into 16 songs. I luckily had [guitarist] Jordan [Greenwald] and [drummer] Sam [Price] to help me bring it to life.”
Collins, 30, and Greenwald, 22, first met through a group of friends in 2016.
“[It was] kinda on an unexpected night out at our local dive On The Rocks in West Hollywood, and [Collins] mentioned that he had a couple of songs and wanted to start a band,” says Greenwald, retelling the tale he’s chiseled down into a perfect summary. “He's like, 'Hey man, you want to do this?' I'm like, 'Yeah, sure,' and that's how it happened. We kinda made it official the next day over wings, though. We're really professional about it.”
And did you hear his songs or did you just say let’s do it? I had to ask.
“Mainly he heard the music in my heart,” Collins says as I sit on the other end of the phone imagining the three of them, including Price, 23, on their tour bus in Boston surrounded by an array of empty Panera, Texas Roadhouse and other wing containers cradling to-go ranch dressing sides.
“No, he played me a few demos that he had,” Greenwald responds. “I knew he was a very nice gentleman, so I was kinda very down for this.”
“Sam came along a little later,” Collins adds.
“We saw his cute face with those wonderful glasses and puffy hair on Instagram and then Mitchy slid into his DMs,” Greenwald laughs, recalling how he first came to hear of Price through a friend showing him his social page. “That’s how that happened.”
The trio, who describe their sound as all their musical tastes rolled into one, quickly formed an intense friendship through touring and writing lyrics that leaned on vulnerability. They wanted to make things more permanent and to be able to carry around their shared sense of pride.
“We finished our first tour about this time last year. The venue was next door to a tattoo shop, and Mitchy was like, ‘We should get tattoos.’ We were like, ‘Okay,’” Greenwald shares. “And so we got the word ‘one’ to commemorate our first tour together.”
Did you all get the tattoo in the same place?
“Mitchy and I have it pretty much in the same place, like in the pit of our arms,” Price says.
“Not armpit,” Collins interjects.
“The inner pit,” Price clarifies.
“Like the mid elbow pit,” Collins refutes.
I think this moment of the conversation alone might best explain the inner workings of their friendships.
“The inner…,” Price tries to make his point.
“Elbow pit,” Collins interrupts with an all-knowing smirk that can be heard through the phone.
“The elbow crease. Inside,” Price budges.
“Elbow pit,” Collins stands his ground.
“Jordan has his on his ankle,” Price says, giving up on the debate.
As for band quirks, it’s evident they come equipped with them. Greenwald juggles, Price falls a lot—admits the drummer—and Collins' party trick is the claw game at the arcades. “No joke, that’s like my thing,” he says.
Do you guys have a tour ritual you do before you get on stage… or after?
“It’s top secret,” Greenwald says like a trained assassin in a if I tell you, I’ll have to kill you type of way.
“We do, but it’s very top secret,” Collins adds, quick to piggyback on the response, crumbling behind a borrowed tone of seriousness.
So everything’s top secret?
I press them, hoping they might budge, and let me peel away a layer or two.
“Everything!” Collins bursts out laughing. A part of me sympathizes with the way he's walking the line between feelings of extreme happiness and sadness.
Is there another band you guys compare yourself to?
“lovelytheband,” Collins states, and it’s not for nothing. The trio, who admit to balancing each other out in their own “fun crazy way,” are live-in-the-moment types of guys, and don't seem to be anyone but themselves. Talking openly about mental health struggles through their music, they hope their lyrics have helped fans understand parts of themselves or to verbalize their struggles if they weren’t able to before.
“That’s all we can ask for, you know?” Collins shares humbly without having to tell me that, in fact, his music is his best form of therapy.
When you guys find it hard to smile and get on with your day and just struggle with mental health in general, how do you deal with that? What helps you?
“Talking about it helps,” Greenwald shares.
“Something as small as calling a friend, or taking a walk, or what I find is... getting off your phone,” Collins goes a step further. “Getting off your phone, just like taking a break from that. Also, I find that, if something is really bugging me, writing it down and ripping up the piece of paper really helps.”
He says there’s a lot of what he writes down and then rips up, but sharing what he pens on the paper falls into the “top secret” category—without the added laughter. This is actually serious.
Beyond those self-help techniques, Collins shares that cannabidiol (CBD) has been a big help to him, in a calming sense, as he sometimes smokes heavily on his downtime while touring.
“I’m not the best when it comes to smoking weed and being creative because I just turn into a puddle. I just kind of melt into my couch, and…,” he drifts off. “But yeah, it definitely helps me calm down and just relax because I don’t really know how to do that otherwise.”
“I’ve used it to get creative sometimes,” Price jumps in, “and it does a good job of that for me. But, getting nit-picky, sometimes I’ll go back, listen to a mix or something, and it sounds awful.”
Tell me something exciting. I change the subject.
“Literally, our whole life right now is the most exciting thing we’ve ever experienced,” Collins says.
“This tour is for seven days, and we just took our tenth flight. That’s exciting, I guess,” Price adds.
“Yeah, in this three-week stretch, we’ll have been on 24 airplanes,” says Collins.
Is there something you hate about the aspect of fame that goes with doing the thing that you love?
“We don’t know what fame is like, to be fair,” Collins laughs. “It’s sweet you’ve asked that question, but we haven’t even scratched that surface.”
And they might be right. Their story has really only just begun, but it seems they're definitely onto something given the speed at which their music is traveling the globe right now.
Photo credit: Guerin Blask.