Been Hit Before is the first release where singer and guitarist Dustin Lovelis was able to sit in the producer’s seat. Recorded in various studios in Southern California and at home in Long Beach, Dustin’s newfound confidence in his songs and his ability to capture the ideal performances have landed him his best release to date.
“This is the first album where I played the early demos to people and didn’t feel a need to make excuses for missing parts,” he says. “I just laid them out there and stood by my decisions. It was the first time I was able to write music without any self-doubt.” He also added, “I came to this realization that most of my favorite songwriters are underdogs and that’s ok. There is no need for hanging on to that childhood dream of ‘making it’ or whatever. It’s been a slow process over the years, but completely letting that idea go was so freeing artistically.”
Been Hit Before draws from a wide variety of influences—most notably, his underdogs. “I really love that ’70s-’80s golden era of weirdo pop songwriters. Artists like Dukes Of Stratosphear and R. Stevie Moore were making these brilliant records. I feel a real connection with that type of songwriting. It’s the only thing that comes naturally to me.” Tracks like “My Replacement,” “Either Way,” and “Abyss” are blissed-out masterpieces that provide an aural roller coaster ride.
“There’s really no formula for me,” Dustin says of his process. “It’s just chaos in my head that sometimes makes enough sense to grab words and a melody. Sometimes it starts with a phrase and me humming something on a walk home. Sometimes it starts with guitar or piano. Sometimes it writes itself before I can even finish playing the song. It’s a pretty mysterious thing”.
And with confidence comes a voice that feels comfortable expressing opinions and exposing your history. “A lot of shitty things were happening around the time of writing, both in my personal life and the world. But it was a period of rediscovery for me. Great things were happening too. That juxtaposition was partially responsible for the feel of the whole record. It’s the weirdest record I’ve ever made, but it’s also got the most pop sensibility. I like that battle of pop music being suffocated by weird chords and recording tricks.” That battle certainly shows on Been Hit Before.
The next 18 months are going to be interesting and busy times for Dustin Lovelis. A new record, new places to see, new people to wow. “I am just excited to get Been Hit Before out. It’s my favorite record I’ve done so far. I have a bunch of brand new songs, so hopefully I’ll be recording again in 6 months. I just want to keep playing and recording. It keeps my brain balanced.”
Been Hit Before comes out on August 25, 2017 on Friendship Fever.
“An impressive debut album that makes its way from Donovan to Mikal Cronin in one fell psych-rock swoop”
“Lovelis has a gift for making melodies sound effortlessly spontaneous, and songs like ‘My Replacement’ or ‘Poor You’ flow like Bandwagonesque meets The Beatles, while single ‘Tompkinsville’ surrounds Byrds-ian guitar tangle with just a hint (or a halo) of shoegazey noise.”
“More than just mining the sonic oeuvre, Lovelis has authored an album that addresses struggles both personal and societal. Floating beneath the jangling, twinkling bliss of ‘Tompkinsville’ is a meditation on Eric Garner.”
—Buzz Bands LA