Honestly the only kind of PDA we like matching cowboy hat wearing music duos, so naturally we’re obsessed with INVITATIONTOLOVE. Bursting on the scene with their debut single Hollywood Bowl Blue, INVITATIONTOLOVE are a music duo made up of fiancés Alana and Neave, making music, art and more from their home. Already having such a bold vibe and aesthetic, we caught up with the power couple to talk music, love and merging the two.
#1 You have the floor! Introduce yourselves.
Alana: We are Alana and Neave, we live together in Brighton, a stone’s throw from the sea. What we do has inevitably changed! Last year we loved being in music venues watching shows, having adventures in other cities, eating in our favourite places. We love to explore together.
Neave: We basically like all the same things. Now, since lockdown and post lockdown, we still enjoy the same things, but those things are more like documentaries, wine & nachos and listening to records.
#2 And how did you meet? Please share your romantic love story.
Neave: Alana asked for my help to find a synth
Alana: HIs brother SLASH my best friend suggested that I ask Neave for advice on getting my synth and it all unfolded from there!
Neave: We messaged back and forth about synths and analog drum machines which led to talking a lot about music and creativity Eventually we met in person. It was really surreal and amazing when romance started to blossom.
Alana: We knew each other in a very deep way from being friends, so we really had the time of our lives when we eventually started dating.
#3 Do you both have musical backgrounds and was music always something that flowed through your relationship?
Neave: Kate Bush’s ‘Wuthering Heights’ inspired me to start making music when I was young. I have been devoted to it since
Alana: I started much later!
Neave: Music has been in the centre of our relationship, always. We have shared so many demos, ideas, lyrics etc with each other
Alana: Neave made a cassette for me once with a ‘surprise song’. It turned out to be a beautifully strange and dreamy cover of one of my favourite songs, ‘The Crystal Ship’ by The Doors.
#4 Which artists bonded you?
Alana: Connan Mockasin, HOMESHAKE and MAC DEMARCO. We listened to Mac Demarco cassettes together lots in the early days!
Neave: We’ve seen these artists live together too and those shows were so memorable
Alana: We watched Mac Demarco from a Ferris wheel in Dreamland!
#5 And what were the first conversations like when you decided yeah we should make music together?
Neave: I had an idea for a project called INVITATIONTOLOVE. I knew it would be me and Alana working together but it wasn’t clear what it would be. When we decided to start a band, I knew that the time had come to grow the concept I had for INVITATIONTOLOVE
Alana: I really wanted to join a band and it was interesting how it suddenly clicked with both of us that we should start something together and really dedicate ourselves to it!
#6 Obviously culture is packed full of the incredible power and work created by some major literary and musical couples. Which couples/duos do you look to for inspiration in life, love and music?
Neave: Poison Ivy and Lux Interior
Alana: Debbie Harry and Chris Stein. We also love the creative partnership through the years of Cosey Fanni Tutti and Chris Carter. We are both intrigued by the journey and music of Throbbing Gristle.
Neave: We also love eccentric pairs in documentaries like Grey Gardens and Louis Theroux meets Paul and Debbie (although I haven’t gotten into magic yet)
#7 Do you think being a couple helps you make better music? Does your level of comfort with one another come in handy when you’re bouncing ideas back and forth?
Alana: It really took us a while to learn how to work together. Before you figure out how to work together, it’s easy to get frustrated and impatient with how songs are developing. Because we are a couple, we can candidly say ‘It’s not working! It’s not what I want!’ .
Neave: But we can then encourage each other to push past the frustration and uncover ideas much further below the surface.
Alana: Neave is always really enthusiast about my lyric ideas, even if I tell him at 7am and he’s half asleep
Neave: Over time, we have created a really natural and satisfying way of working together. We have fallen into roles where we can both bring what excites us to the table and combine them.
Alana: We found the INVITATIONTOLOVE formula
#8 You talk about INVITATIONTOLOVE being born out of a desire to play shows, when live music returns do you think your project will be very performance-led? What do you have planned for your first shows?
Alana: We can’t wait to play! In the early days of lockdown we spent weeks rehearsing every day. As the reality of the restrictions on live music set in, our plans for the show drifted into the background and we focused on new songs. But in recent weeks, we have started to re shape the set for the live show and even though it won’t happen any time soon, we want to have a dynamic and weird show ready for when the time comes.
#9 What are 3 things that have got you through these strange lockdown times?
Neave: Having so much time to read
Alana: Walks around the deserted streets listening to music
Neave: Making songs and videos for the band
#10 And what are the top 3 things that came together to inspire Hollywood Bowl Blues?
Alana: The chorus lyric came first and that was really powerful. Then, Neave started experimenting with melodies on the omnichord while I was paced the room excitedly developing the story of the lovers
Neave: The guitar parts really brought the song to life and from there, we played with it so much until we came to the finished song.