Shocked to life by pummeling riffs, menacing electronics, venomous lyrical vitriol, and a dystopic vision, the Phoenix, AZ industrial punk rock band There Is No Us featuring Jim Louvau (vocalist/director/photographer), Andy Gerold (guitar/production) Jared Bakin, (guitar), and Eddie Lopez (bass) -engaged a sensory onslaught steeped in sonic futurism, yet anchored by a tried-and-true commitment to sharp songcraft. In 2015, Louvau and Gerold introduced There Is No Us with the Farewell to Humanity EP. Two years later, they joined forces with the iconic producer, Terry Date (Deftones, Pantera, White Zombie) on the follow-up EP, Generation of Failure. The band recently released the new singles “Fame Whore” and “The Proposal” from their 2023 album, ‘Feed The Monkeys’ (Cleopatra Records). Sunray Magazine recently caught up with TINU vocalist Jim Louvau to discuss the band’s new record, their roots, and their message.
SUNRAY: How did you originally start There Is No Us?
Jim Louvau: My pre-TINU music project was at a point where it had run its course and before it came to an end I had sent Andy some demos that we had been working on with the band before we disbanded. Andy and I had played in bands together when we were kids and basically cut our teeth together as young musicians and he’s been my best friend since we met in highschool though we went to different schools. So anytime I had something new going on he was a good ear to share with because he’s brutally honest just like I am. He heard the way I was screaming on these demos and he asked me if I was interested in recording some heavy music with the screaming in the same vein as what he had heard. The project was not originally intended to become a traditional band initially and we were just trying to record a couple songs. The theme or mission statement of the band was to expose the failure of the human race and the band name is reflective of the idea that we are truly alone as humans and that the powers that be are out for themselves and we are pawns in their game of chess.
SUNRAY: Who do you consider to be some of your biggest influences?
Jim Louvau: While we have many influences musically there is none greater than Trent Reznor and Nine Inch Nails. After I saw them play on The Downward Spiral tour as a kid my mind was blown with the chaos that ensued on stage and the songs that would really become the soundtrack to my life in a live concert setting. The aggression and sonic wall of sound was unlike everything I’d ever seen and Robin Finck played the guitar in a way I’d never seen. When I saw that show in 1994 I hadn’t met Andy or yet but Andy’s brother thought that he and I would get along well since we liked a bunch of the same music. We both loved bands like Guns N’ Roses and Metallica but after we discovered NIN we knew the path we wanted to go down. The disgusting world we live in is also an easy place to find daily influence from, it’s rough out there.
SUNRAY: Your first single “Fame Whore” from your forthcoming 2023 album ‘Feed the Monkeys’ is powered by fierce, sharp lyrical verses. What do you admire about the creation of this song?
Jim Louvau: Fame Whore was the first song that we recorded for the new album and it felt like the right way to re-introduce the band back into the world. It had been five years since we had released music and the world was a different place due to the pandemic and the ongoing political division we were experiencing. In a world of social media influencers, reality television personalities, and rock n’ roll burnouts we wanted to make a powerful statement musically and visually. I think we accomplished what we set out to do with that song and it was a nice way to relaunch the band and it definitely helped get us a record deal.
SUNRAY: Recently the band just released the new single “The Proposal”. The thrilling screams, powerful guitar riffs, and high energetic musical elements throughout the course of this song shows its dynamic. Can you talk about this single?
Jim Louvau: The Proposal is an anthem and it was born out of frustration and was written during the pandemic when writing and recording music was the only activities we could really do. I would take later afternoon walks to pass the time and I’d walk through areas where people were rioting outside the state capital, looting, and starting fires. The people had finally got to the point where they were ready to make their voices heard and express their frustration with the police brutality and lack of ownership or consequence in our country.
SUNRAY: What steps do you take for the best outcome in songwriting? What is your process when creating music?
Jim Louvau: The songs start and end with Andy Gerold, he’s the primary songwriter in the band, sometimes he will come in with nearly completed ideas. If something he writes doesn’t connect with me or the other guys in the band he just writes something new and he just moves on.
This time Jared Bakin and Eddie Lopez were also part of the writing this time around for the first time which really opened things up creatively. When you’re creating art in any medium you are essentially putting together a puzzle and the pieces have to fit together the right way or it doesn’t work. When you’ve solved that puzzle you feel a sense of accomplishment that can be addictive.
SUNRAY: What song from any of your albums is your favored choice performing live and what elements make the experience?
Jim Louvau: We’ve been testing new material in the set since we’ve returned to playing live and shifting the order of the songs so I’m not sure if I have a favorite just yet. My favorite part of playing live right now is watching the crowd sing along to songs they’ve never heard before by the time we get to the second chorus of something new, they know what the words are and the reaction has been incredible. The challenge of playing in front of people who have no idea who you are and winning them over is my favorite part of playing shows right now.
SUNRAY: Who is your ideal musician choice to collaborate with? What makes this collaboration valuable and important to you?
Jim Louvau: Right now I feel like we are in a place where collaborations aren’t necessary for the most part because the material on the record stands on its own. I do like the idea of collaborating with a female vocalist on something to break up the boys club a little bit. Obviously a NIN collab would be exciting down the line somewhere.
SUNRAY: What’s coming up next for There Is No Us?
Jim Louvau: We are wrapping up the last couple songs for the record this month and then we can turn it into the record company. We are planning the next single, video, merch line, live shows, and release date for the record.
Interview by Aryzona Faith Kurtz
Photos by Tony Aguilera