Lovelorn Dolls are a gothic / metal / electronic band from Belgium comprised of vocalist Ladyhell and musician Corpus Christi. After forming in 2010 they quickly put out an EP, “An Intense Feeling Of Affection,” and started touring. Their debut full-length album, “The House of Wonders,” came out earlier this year on Alfa Matrix. In the following email interview, the duo discusses the history of the band, their working process, and more.
Having initially put out an ep and toured, did you have any particular goals when you started work on “The House of Wonders”?
Corpus Christi: Of course, we wanted to make the best album possible. The songs on the EP were in our opinions pretty good but we needed an extra-eye to improve the sound, the arrangements so we contacted Victor Love and he accepted to produce our album. I liked very much his work on the album Dreams in Formaline from Omega Lithium.
Ladyhell: We wanted to create a strong identity, musically and image speaking. There are so many bands out there. I think we achieved something interesting.
Creatively, do you continue to work exclusively as a duo, or do the other musicians you work with have input during the songwriting/composition process?
Corpus Christi: Well, we stay open to external ideas but we write everything as a duo. Of course the other musicians will bring their sensitivity about their own instruments.
Would you say that you have any general creative process within the band, in terms of how you work together, how songs are generally started, etc.
Corpus Christi: Sometimes I have an idea at work… so I take my IPhone, go to the toilet and record the idea. Then I listen to it once at home. Sometimes not directly, days or weeks after. Then I decide if it’s cool or crappy. If I think it is cool I check if it works with guitar/voice. Then I begin to record all the stuff in Logic and send it to Ladyhell. I hate to compose during rehearsals. I did it with my previous band : took 6 months to achieve something.
Ladyhell: I work the same way. I have an idea, I record it immediately on my mobile (thanks technology!) and I try to reproduce what’s in my head, in Logic, or with a synthetizer. Sometimes it works great … sometimes not.
How did the group initially come together, and what had you both been previously doing musically?
Corpus Christi: I’ve been playing in a band called Free Launch for 15 years. We had no ambition but we made some cool stages in Belgium. In 2004 I discovered the band Skeptical Minds and the voice of Kris (ladyhell). I really liked what I heard. The first song I went into was “Treasured Felony”. I liked how the voices were layered and I thought “with that kind of singer it would be great to work”.
In 2010 I felt some Arjen Lucassen feelings and started a rock opera called Road to Consciousness (do not hesitate to check it . It was the opportunity to work with Kris and she was the first singer I contacted.
Ladyhell: After that rock opera experience, Corpus and I decided to found our own band, Lovelorn Dolls.
When creating music, do you think about what other bands with similar sounds are doing, in terms of trying to stand out as well as satisfying fans of this general style?
Corpus Christi: The first thing we try to do is to satisfy ourselves. Because when we write a song, we are obliged to listen to it over and over… So if it sucks it could become a hell
Ladyhell: When I’m composing, if I do not have ideas, I go listen to other artists in our style. It sometimes gives me the trick, the hint, the energy, the idea I needed. But it has nothing to do with satisfying the fans. I’m sorry but I first want to enjoy the songs myself. If I’m sure about the greatness of a song, I will have no problem to expose it to the world. I will be proud.
Most of the lyrics on “The House of Wonders” are English but there is some French. What determines which language a song will be in?
Corpus Christi: We prefere to write lyrics in English but since our mother tongue is French we gave a try. Since there are 3 official languages in Belgium maybe we can consider to write something in Dutch or in German.
Ladyhell: in Dutch or German ? my accent is terrible !! lol !! Are you sure …?
How did you come to cover “In Your Room”?
Corpus Christi: Depeche Mode is a band who has been covered very often and you can find tons of covers of “Enjoy the Silence” on Youtube. “In your Room” is less known by the audience. Some people even thought it was an original composition. We decided to pick this one and give it a more rock feel with higher tempo and heavy guitars. It is also shorter than the original.
Ladyhell: I’m a fan of Depeche Mode. I proposed that song to Corpus. He didn’t know it. But he made something fantastic with it. And I really enjoyed to sing it my way. We decided to put it on the album, because it’s an interesting version.
There are quite a few remixes of your music. Are there any that you feel stand out in terms of taking a song in new / unexpected directions?
Ladyhell: Our label Alfa Matrix has a tradition of making a second CD with remixes only. It’s a way to connect their artists together. Indeed the remixes are done by artists from the label. Alfa Matrix asked them if they wanted to remix a song, they could choose what they liked, and they send their remixes to us later.
I can tell you this is a fantastic experience. To hear your song reworked by someone else, it gives an unexpected feeling.
In particular, the ‘Jazz Version’ of “After Dark” made me realize that you truly have the vocal and songwriting talents to transcend genres (it made me think that my mp3 player had jumped to a different artist!). Do you feel any temptation to move towards more of a mainstream sound (where you might appeal to wider audiences but not necessarily with the style you like)?
Corpus Christi: The temptation is great of course… I received “advices” from my girlfriend to make our music more mainstream, like removing the heavy guitars that I like so much But as I said before, the main audience is ourselves so even if it breaks the ears of my GF, I’ll stuck in what I do. I begin to receive comments from people telling me that they recognize my style in the music. That’s the best compliment I could get.
Ladyhell: I already worked in different genre. I sang for Psy’Aviah, an electro band from Belgium, on a very trip hop song. And I also like to work in my free time on my own songs, which have nothing to do with Lovelorn Dolls’ style. I am very versatile when it comes to music, I listen to loads of different genres, I have no boundaries. But I don’t think that Lovelorn Dolls’ style will change. We already found our style.
How did you come to release on Alfa Matrix? Were you always sure that you wanted a label to release “The House of Wonders” or did you consider self-release?
Corpus Christi: It was a big subject of discussion. I was anti-label. Because of a bad experience, because of the recent changes in the music industry. We had received some propositions from labels but the conditions were veeeery bad. Some asked money to be featured on their catalogue. I know some bands who signed but this does not mean that they are huge now… Also Victor (Love) told us to resist the sirens.
However with AM it’s very different. They make a veeery good job and are always looking for opportunities. So we’ve been featured on compilations along with legendary bands… That’s really cool!
The band was originally called just Lovelorn, correct? If so, what was the reason for the name change?
Corpus Christi: We discovered that there is already a band called Lovelorn in Italy. To avoid confusion we decided to change the name. We had some drastic change ideas but finally we picked “Lovelorn Dolls”.
Ladyhell: It also gives us more visibility on the net and social networks. “Lovelorn” is a common name; but the association of “lovelorn” and “dolls” was new, so we are very visible. It’s important for a new band !
Are either of you currently involved with any other projects?
Corpus Christi: Maybe I’ll record a sequel to Road to Consciousness but for now I concentrate my energy on LD.
Ladyhell: As I previously said, I’m working on a solo project. I don’t know if it will ever be released, I do this only for fun at the moment. I sometimes agree to put my voice on other projects if they are worth it.
What’s in the immediate future for the Lovelorn Dolls?
Corpus Christi: We are focused on composing new stuff. We have already some songs in the box. Also we have received a proposition from a producer to work on it with us so we’ll also check with the label if we go for an EP or directly to a second album.
We have also some gigs in Belgium, France, The Netherlands and UK.
Ladyhell: Thanks for reading us !
For more info, visit lovelorndolls.com.