Words by Matthew Spence:
Welcome to tonights’ presentation of “The Nerd Goes Out at Night: Electric Boogaloo Remix”. To get the true experience you must: have amp feedback blaring as if you’re signaling the village of danger among us (remember Amp Feedback is more sonically holy than church organs), make sure you’re mentally tuned to E-Flat (I call it “Dookie Tuning”, if you know, you know) and play in the key of A (“Kid A” that is) [also technically A-Flat but you get the point].
Act 1. Scene 1.
It’s the end of the night at Gather East in New Haven, CT. The night is gearing up to end with a bang, emotions have been on shuffle all night. My introverted ass enjoyed the great acts who performed but I’m feeling ready to go. HOWEVER! everyone is complimenting my outfit, so it makes me wanna stay a bit longer…plus I remembered I didn’t drive there so I have no choice (Fuck Me Right?!?!?). Some of my friends are vibing to the acts and the environment, while one friend is drunk to where he makes Randy from South Park and Rick from Rick and Morty look….well…. halfway decent.
While upfront, I see a group of individuals dressed up in suits like it’s an MTV New Year’s Celebration, but my interest is peaked, I’m a sucker for band coordination and aesthetic. Rigs are set, shit is getting tuned and the frontman introduces himself and the rest of the band then BAM! Proceeds to causally play kick-ass, fast-paced music. Kinda on some Alex Turner shit
After the show and witnessing my friend almost get crucified in the moshpit, we all walked away thinking: “Well damn, I got Whiplash”. That frontman: Miguel Ángel Loor. Some may have known him as a RETROSOLO, others know him now as Ángel Loor and others call him Strawberry Slacker Son Lazy Eyed Baby Love [shout-out to the Slacker Son EP]. What’s the 411? There’s always a beginning, before being a shining star in the CT Music Scene (which is full of stars might I add), he was just writing songs (I wonder what those songs were like… I probably should’ve asked…. damn). While balancing, out the typical adolescent stuff. You know, stuff like rolling down the car window while laying your face on it and homework and shit, however, his right brain would reach its moment to flesh out his capabilities truly.
2020. Pandemic.[Dude, unless you were in a comma from sometime before 2020 to now just recently waking up, I’m not giving context to what that is]
He recorded and released his first EP, Wolfcat, why not? In a year, where everyone got screwed out of happiness and sanity, might as well use the time to create your own. In good old Rat Pack fashion, he did it in “Steve Lacy” style. A phone and Garageband.
Now, with 2 EPS in (under his former project name RETROSOLO), a few singles, and an anticipated debut LP, Ángel is becoming a masterclass of “Working on exciting shit’. It’s only the beginning, he’s not even 20 yet and as he grows his art does as well. His first two projects are melodic bedroom pop ear-pleasers to make you musically blush like 2000s pop hits. His latest single SIDEWALK entails a remodeled project, a new era for him. The spirit is punk, the music is raw, and the opening feedback gave me nam flashbacks of “New York City Cops” by The Strokes and… I’m not complaining. While the outro fulfills a main character moment. It’s a musical pinpoint for a journey of building a globe for his musical world. What should we call this sound? Ahh, I wonder [foreshadowing like it’s a David Fincher film]. [Timestamp- 2:04 >]
However, his journey needed to be halted because my nerdy ass wanted to ask him questions. One particular day, I got to email Ángel some questions about stuff, and on another day he responded about the stuff! So here’s the result of the stuff and stuff
I moved to the US when I was about 11, it’s been 7 years now. I honestly don’t have many direct Spaniard influences within my music, though the isolation of first moving to a country where I didn’t speak the language was the main reason I found music. I couldn’t talk to anyone or socialize so I picked up a guitar every day and THAT was my best friend for a while haha.
It’s getting hard nowadays if I’m being honest, I started off with many bedroom and synth-pop influences and live shows really turned me to re-compose my songs in a very punk way. I personally call it “gunk pop”. Just a gunky jumble of punk, bedroom pop, and synthwave.
This one is also very spread out
Jean Dawson, Dominic Fike, EKKSTACY, Mochat Doma, and Backseat Lovers just to name a few.
I feel so many different types of connections to the DIY scene, especially in New Haven County. As a performer, it’s really shown me an untethered, reckless, and free attitude that has really inspired me to go and do whatever I want. As an 18-year-old kid, it’s also where I’ve met some of my closest friends, both musician friends and best friends alike.
My approach to songwriting has always been very undefined to date, sometimes I’m with my guitarist Izzy who I produce a lot with and he’ll show me something he made and we work with that, sometimes I’m just in my home studio and I’ll build something from scratch, and more often than not I’ll start songs on my acoustic guitar and move from there.
The sort of “reinvention” and name change came about at the tail end of some really big shows as RETROSOLO, I started to feel like the identity of the project just didn’t connect with me anymore, things were very calculated and the music was very synth-bedroom pop-inspired and from 16 to 18 I naturally developed a lot of punk and rock affluence. I realized it’s not the best idea to base the name of your own project off a certain vibe like “retro”. I always liked my middle name Ángel so I just went with it, I’m loving it so far as it also has solidified my identity as a solo artist.
My favorite season is definitely summer, and that definitely fits with the backbone of my music. I would love to have a lot more songs out that fit with fall and winter, a lot of the new stuff coming out soon definitely does. I tend to get really sad during the colder seasons though, plus the fact I’m still in high school, really tends to slow me down during the colder seasons, I’m trying hard to balance things better now!
Hmmm, that’s a tough one, I love boy pablo because they’re one of the first artists that I saw come up using the internet AND look like me, just a Hispanic kid. In the long run, I’ve definitely grown to stick with Surf Curse a lot more, I’m seeing Current Joys (Nick Rattigans Solo Project) in New York in November. His solo stuff I really connect with, he’s definitely a big influence in that rawness and harsh sound.
These are really amazing questions. I’ve felt Imposter Syndrome a couple of times and it’s awful, I recognize it’s such a ridiculous thing. I think people belong wherever it is they want to be. Creative Burnout has always been my silent killer, I’m still a teenager and both in my personal life and musical career I can be a trailblazer when it comes to doing things playing shows, and writing songs. I’ll have two months intervals where I’ll be going non-stop with shows, studio sessions, and content making. But before I know it, I’m mentally exhausted and I very much start feeling like a passenger in my mind. Eventually, I take a break and I reconnect with myself but I’m truly trying to strive for a more sustainable way of doing things in life, I mean I think a lot of people are.
Man I know ZERO music theory, I had to look up the names to see which one I use most. This is SO hard because I love me some power chords, but I’m always always using maj7s in my songs. I’m going with that, sorry E5
Seeing people during sets connecting with my songs, you don’t have to know all the lyrics or even know any of them. But if you’re using your phone flash during the slow songs and going insane and moshing during the harsh ones, that’s really all I can ask for.
It’s coming 100%, I have like half of the project done, but in order to write good songs, you need to live life and make experiences to write about. I think I need a little more of that before I can wrap up the project. I genuinely have no clue what you should expect, I don’t know what to expect. I haven’t really let one sound define me while making the first half of it, and so far I’m doing a lot of styles and sounds I’ve never done before. So expect nothing and everything 🙂 Jokes aside, I’m working really really hard to make the most authentic music for myself, I’ve come into the process with no expectations so it’ll be good for people to approach it the same way.
I’m gonna be moving into a lot of content-making avenues soon, there was a point when I first started out when I was just releasing cute acoustic covers on YouTube and some scrappy releases. I really would love to have some semblance of that back into my artist identity.
Thank you Matthew for starters, giving a platform for emerging artists and bringing a spotlight to the DIY is a goal for all of us you’re the best you’re the best. I wanna highlight all the work that also goes behind the scene, I wouldn’t be anywhere where I am now without my live band who also serves as part of the directive team behind my project. My bassist, Gem, has worked endlessly as creative director alongside myself and really turned this little music project into something that I’ll have the chance to do my entire life. My drummer, Kevin, has really kept me sane and has always guided me and the entire band towards self and personal growth, we would all go crazy without him. My guitarist, Izzy, with whom I’ve been recording the new project with an amazing producer and engineer I wouldn’t have found this artistic freedom without him. Lastly, my lovely girlfriend Brooke, as for my personal growth nobody has helped me more than her. I’m beyond thankful to have someone that always motivates me to be better.