Fire Woman on the phone

It’s always good to catch up with old friends. One of Soundscraper’s earliest Vegas buds (she recruited me to play bass in her band when I first moved to town) is the lovely and talented Ann Yu.

In 2006, she moved to San Francisco to join indie-rockers LoveLikeFire, whose ferocious guitar-based attack, especially on the band’s 2009 full-length Tear Ourselves Away, for U.K. label Heist or Hit Records, made a big play for the mainstream. Now Yu has moved in a moodier direction with a forthcoming album on Heist or Hit later this year (and self-released in the States).

LoveLikeFire performs Sept. 18 at The Bunkhouse (as part of the Neon Reverb Music Festival). I had a chance to phone-chat with Yu about the challenges facing rock bands today—a still-stagnant economy and the Internet, and how they affect touring.

How has touring changed?

Bands like us can’t afford to do the kind of touring we’d done before. It’s hard to be on the road unless you have stable income. There seems to be no reason to go out and play shows. Seems like the trick is to become a blog darling. For us, it’s not a matter of wanting to tour, but being able to tour.

What about overseas? And do you pay for studio time?

We lost a little money on our U.K. tour last September. Since then, we’ve written our next record and recorded it in June at my bandmates’ warehouse. It was totally self-funded. The recording industry is on the way out. People don’t care how polished an album sounds. It’s the song that matters, which has always been the case. I’ve had the experience of not being happy with a super-produced recording. Doing it yourself, at least you know what you’re in for. Mixing and mastering was the only cost for us. Our friends did the artwork, and it was all done way faster and less expensively.

Gives a whole new meaning to the term “bedroom recording.”

Bedrooms are small! These days, artists can’t afford to have a band. They use recording software, make the album and find a band later. They put songs on the Internet, and if a song gets big, they hit the road.

LoveLikeFire’s new material sounds dreamier, darker. The song “Dust” possesses a lonely beauty, like the Vegas desert at night.

Being in San Francisco for so long, I see that it’s easy to get wrapped up in figuring out how to make things ironic and pop, to let your environment influence you. This record makes clear what my deeper influences are. Before, I strove to write songs everyone would like. I’m no longer looking to please everyone. “Dust” was inspired by the hazy mist of S.F. and how I wish I could experience it without the buildings. But you’re right about the lonely beauty, because that’s what the song’s trying to evoke.

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