Slanted Press had a chat with Mercedes Arn-Horn, Phoenix Arn-Horn, and Brandon Lockwood of Courage My Love.
Courage My Love returned to Birmingham in late November as a support act for As It Is. Despite the grim weather, the band seemed geared up for the interview. To start off, I ask the band if they've been enjoying their tour. â€œItâ€™s been going really good!â€ Mercedes, lead vocalist and drummer, tells me, â€œIt was only a 2-week run, so you know those 2-weeks go by really quickly, especially when theyâ€™re really fun big shows, and As It Is, Trash Boat, and Holding Absence have been a delight to tour with.â€
While on tour, Courage My Love released a brand-new single, â€˜Remissionâ€™, to great acclaim. I asked the band about the inspiration and direction behind the track. â€œThat song really does mean a lot to us. We tend to write a lot about heartache, we write a lot of sad songs,â€ Mercedes says. â€œThis song is along that vein but itâ€™s more about the aftermath of something like that happening. Itâ€™s about growing and trying to heal from it and thatâ€™s why itâ€™s called â€˜Remissionâ€™. Weâ€™re equating it to this person that was like this disease bringing you down â€“ youâ€™re trying to go into remission from this person. Find your inner strength afterwards and strength to move on.â€
The single had me wondering whether a new full-length was in the works. â€œWeâ€™re basically writing, writing, writing and trying to put as many songs out as we canâ€ Mercedes tells me. Phoenix also adds to this, â€œWeâ€™ll write a bunch of stuff that weâ€™re really stoked on and then we end up sitting on it for so long because we have to get everything together to make a full album.â€ Nothing concrete yet, but theyâ€™ve taken the new approach of releasing singles first and working as they go along.
Many of Courage My Loveâ€™s previous works have been metaphor-heavy or conceptual. I ask if theyâ€™re planning to tackle their new music this way too. Mercedes explains: â€œWhat I love about this process (their new style of writing) is that the songs are going to evolve as we evolve, since weâ€™re writing them and releasing them as we go. Itâ€™ll feel a lot more current to where we are in our lives and I guess if youâ€™re looking for a concept it might be that growing throughout.â€ Phoenix elaborates on her sisterâ€™s point, â€œItâ€™s funny because sometimes we donâ€™t try to write concepts, but then they end up becoming that after a while because all the songs are written around the same time. It sort of just happens after the fact.â€
We just donâ€™t want to be the kind of band that writes the same album twice.
With the band releasing new music, I wanted to know if they felt like their direction in music had organically changed. â€œDefinitely!â€ Mercedes agrees, â€œbetween Becoming and Synesthesia it was probably a very big leap for a lot of our fans because we hadnâ€™t put music out for a while. I think it was a natural evolution, but we did make a conscious decision to evolve and not stay in the same genre and not re-write something weâ€™d already put out.â€ Phoenix also agreed, â€œa lot of people want that nostalgia, they want that same thing over and over again, but weâ€™re definitely not like that,â€ she tells me, â€œweâ€™d get bored if we just kept trying to re-write the same vibes as when we were 17. Iâ€™m glad that, hopefully, the fans that stick with us are the ones that grow with us and are more open minded and experience new things along with us.â€ For the first time in the interview, Brandon also agreed with his bandmates â€“ â€œthe influence has changed. Life just changes.â€ He might not say much, but it was aptly timed.
When Courage My Love were last in Birmingham, they were playing small venues like The Flapper, but now theyâ€™ve upgraded. I ask if they feel optimistic about the future. â€œWeâ€™re obviously feeling good, playing these O2 venues and we are opening so itâ€™s not like weâ€™re bringing the whole crowd, but itâ€™s just great to reach that point. These are the biggest shows weâ€™ve played in the UK, yet,â€ she says, emphasising the yet. â€œWeâ€™re all really excited. Itâ€™s just great to see an upward growth, you know, after we worked really hard and dedicated our lives to this. Hopefully, we can keep trucking and keep on it.â€
I also had the privilege of catching the band's set after the interview, and if you needed a reason to see Courage My Love live, here it is â€“ their stage presence is contagious. The venue was packed, but they easily captivated the crowd throughout their set. Courage My Love's energy alone was worth seeing, and Mercedesâ€™ live vocal quality was just a bonus. They may be a small Canadian band, but theyâ€™re the underdogs worth checking out.