The two Los Angeles musical miscreants La Bouquet carve out “emotional songs you can dance to” on their debut EP, Heavy Sunshine [Razor & Tie/Washington Square Music]. Siphoning bedroom-rattling R&B falsetto through post-punk soundscapes, the duo—Bryan Sammis and Jake Lopez —exist between two worlds. “Obviously, there’s an eighties influence, but there’s also a big R&B influence,” says Bryan. “At the same time, we also come from a punk ethos. We don’t want everything to sound too perfect. We just want every note to evoke some sort of emotion.
The seeds for La Bouquet became planted when Bryan and Jake met at their Los Angeles high school. The two kept up over the years while Bryan joined The Neighbourhood on drums, performing, writing and touring on the group’s gold-selling “I Love You.” Splitting from The Neighbourhood in 2015, he turned his attention towards the indie-pop solo project Olivver The Kid. Bryan tapped Jake as a touring guitar player/writing partner, and they supported Halsey throughout North America in addition to a jaunt across Russia. Along the way, the longtime friends discussed launching a new band together. “On tour, we started talking about doing something for real,” recalls Bryan. “We wanted to make music that was fun to play live together and that would be very collaborative between us. We’re both ‘lifers’ in this game. We’ve honed our skills through touring and playing with different bands. So, we just began writing together and it all came together pretty quick”.
Between building a local buzz around L.A., they hit the studio for the recording of Heavy Sunshine as well as their forthcoming LP. Musically, each song had to pass what they referred to as “The Night Drive Test.” “If you can drive to a track late at night with the windows down smoking a cigarette, it passes the test,” he goes on. “These felt right.”
The boys introduce the EP with the single “Loveless.” Chiming guitars bleed into lyrics of “roses in the graveyard” before an echo-y solo and lovelorn cinematic chant, “Maybe I’m just loveless.” “It was written after my ex had broken up with me,” he admits. “I was contemplating proposing to her, but it didn’t work out.” Then, there’s “Kiss Me, Kill Me.” Driven by propulsive percussion, a danceable groove, and six-string delay, Bryan cathartically croons about heartbreak and somebody who has so much power over you that you’re begging to be hurt, to feel anything at all. Sonically and visually, Heavy Sunshine figures into a much larger vision for La Bouquet. “The art, aesthetic and tone are integral to our band. We pay close attention to every detail. It’s all a part of who we are.”
Ultimately, Heavy Sunshine and their forthcoming LP represent the perfect soundtrack for drunken nights dancing pain away and pondering lost love. That said, they’ll undeniably make you think and feel. “I just want people to feel something,” Bryan leaves off. “In many ways, like most people, we’re just winging it, but it’s all about bringing people together. I feel alive when I sing these songs.”