Up Close and Personal with Mariel Loveland of Best Ex

By contributing writer/photographer: Song River

Many times our success is heavily dependent upon our willingness to be brave and take a leap of faith. Never an easy task to step out of our comfort zone and create new patterns. 

So, the new pattern has been put into motion for Mariel Loveland with her new band, new band name, and new sound as it all fits neatly it is befitting to the name 'Best Ex' along with the album title ICE CREAM ANTI-SOCIAL.

Currently out on tour with Promise of Redemption through July, the new fit... fits! Although, one who might have been a fan of the former band Candy Hearts might say they still see the true soulful songwriting heart of their beloved artist Mariel Loveland. And that is certainly okay after all ice cream is best eaten alone and adding a new flavor every now and again makes the process even sweeter.

Song River: Change is a part of living. Can an artist truly be an artist in their soul if they are not challenging themselves to evolve? 

Mariel Loveland: I don't think you necessarily need to change to be an artist, but I do think you need to grow and learn to be a good human. I can't imagine my life without switching up my art, but if some people want to create the same thing over and over again, I get it.

Song River: Would you say the move from pop-punk to more indie-pop was expected by others who know you? Was there an internal or external struggle- or did this go off without a hitch?

Mariel Loveland: It was completely expected by everyone who knows me. They know that's the kind of music I tend to identify more with, even though I really do like playing pop punk. I think I always have some sort of an internal struggle when I want to change anything. I'm not very good with change.

Song River: Were you surprised when you came to this conclusion yourself or was it more of an "it's time to change clothes to my age and maturity?"

Mariel Loveland: I was pretty surprised I actually followed through with it. I'm typically way too afraid to do stuff like that that I think it got to a point where I really, really just couldn't continue as I was going. I reached a breaking point and it was like either quit or reinvent you.

Song River: Moving from one genre to another is good as it shows an artist's diversity, much like David Bowie did all through his career. Not that we are saying Mariel has to live up to those same standards but do you see yourself as more of a progression than a stalwart standing puddle?

Mariel Loveland: I definitely see myself continue to reinvent our sound over and over again. I like so many different kinds of music, I can't see not incorporating all those things or growing with my tastes. 

Song River: You latest EP Ice Cream Anti-Social a bit of a play on words there... talk about the title and the songs you have included on this release.

Mariel Loveland: I really liked the title. It just came to me one day when I was eating ice cream, as I do most days. I spent a whole lot of time alone when I'm at home, and I think the theme fit the songs. 

The songs to me seemed really introspective like I was sitting around watching things happen to myself and others and then writing about it when everything was quiet and settled down. I think the songs are pretty diverse, too and I'm excited to have a record that shows so many parts of myself.


Song River: Where do you sense this gift for creativity came from? Parents? Friends? 

Mariel Loveland: I think it was something I was born with. I've always been the type of person I am, so I guess it's genetics or a higher power or both.

Song River: What do you fancy Mariel when you are developing your song lyrics? Any certain types of bits that have to be in order so that the free flow of thought sails smoothly?

Mariel Loveland: I can't be really sad when I write. I have to be in a pretty okay, relaxed mood. Sometimes things will just come to me, but I know a lot of artists say they write great stuff when they're sad, but for me, it's just a wall where I can't do much of anything, much less create. As long as I'm in an okay mood, if I'm ever stuck, a walk around the block seems to help!

Song River: When you write/sing/perform, who is it for, to begin with (self, a person in particular?) and as it develops does it open itself up to take in multiple parts of inclusion?

Mariel Loveland: I think it's different every time! Sometimes I write a song for myself, sometimes I write for people I think may like it. Sometimes I want to write about a certain event for another person (even though I'd never say that to them out loud). 

Song River: In songwriting for you personally Mariel what has to be found in the lyrics or melody somewhere?

Mariel Loveland: I think lyrics are the most important to me. It has to tell a good story and make me look at things from a different perspective. I like bands who focus on every day, specific stuff in their lyrics vs. generalized things. I like lyrics to paint really great stories which is why I love The Weakerthans and Bright Eyes. Sometimes though, a fun pop song with a good melody does the trick, but I always, always go back to stuff with deep meaning.

Song River: Are you one of those types of songwriters that have a favorite pen/pencil/cell phone/ magic crayon that they have to use?

Mariel Loveland: Nope! I'll write wherever whenever. I usually need to save stuff into my phone though so I don't lose it!

Song River: When you envision the path you are creating, what do you see?

Mariel Loveland: When I write a song, I tend to hear it all at once. Not necessarily the lyrics, but the music. It's like a full picture. Like you opened a door and just walked right into a fully furnished room.

Song River: Your influences are wide and varied- yet they all have compared you from Taylor Swift and her pop to The Lemonheads. You seem to have a punk heart still beating in there, even a Lemonhead t-shirt. If we were allowed a day to spend hanging out what adventures might be included?

Mariel Loveland: I hate to say I'm quite boring. I rarely have adventures. We'd probably spend 2 hours trying to figure out what to watch on Netflix before we choose wrong and have to spend 2 more hours picking out something brand new to watch instead.

Song River: Aside from the music you love and share, what are some of the outside music pleasures you seek out and enjoy?

Mariel Loveland: I like to write. I really like makeup. I love experimenting with new eyeshadow and lip looks. I also feel like I'm one of the few adults still playing Pokemon Go all the time! I can't help it. I just love Pokemon.

Website: https://www.bestexnj.com/home
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/bestexnj/