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THE HIGH PLAINS DRIFTERS | TUGGING AT THE HEARTSTRINGS WITH NEW EP ‘SONGS OF LOVE AND LOSS’

June 28, 2021

Read the full article on Flaunt.com!

The High Plains Drifters have an innate ability to create earworm melodies that send us down memory lane, revisiting every feeling we felt along the way. The indie band is best known for their tongue-in-cheek love ballads that are reminiscent of the music of the 80s, telling vivid stories of romance, heartbreak, and everything in between that are as relatable as they are catchy. Following their last release with the “Since You’ve Been Gone” lyric video (which was premiered exclusively on Flaunt), The guys are back with their debut EP titled Songs of Love and Loss.

The EP contains roughly half the songs that will live on the second album from The High Plains Drifters, which they began working on a year ago. An idea that came to fruition the first three months of quarantine, Larry Studnicky came to the realization that the COVID-19 pandemic was not going to kill him, thus getting back to doing normal things again like returning to making music.

Flaunt caught up with Studnicky to discuss the new project, what the songs mean to him, why they decided to surprise release it, and more!


What inspired the project, Songs of Love and Loss?

I didn’t consciously set out to record so many songs sharing this age-old theme. I stayed single in Manhattan for what was arguably an unhealthy length of time. I was on the giving and receiving end of quite a few painful breakups (as well as some that brought no heartache whatsoever), probably a preponderance of my song ideas come from that era of my life. So when we decided to rush out this EP and I had to decide its title, I looked over the chosen tracks and blurted out “Songs of Love and Loss.”

What do these songs mean to you?

I imagine every lyricist and songwriter has a deep fondness for most of his or her works. Not always, for sometimes you know you’re writing something that sucks. But I didn’t feel that way about any of these tracks, not even in any song’s earliest stages. My gut told me that the band and I were working on songs that might find some legs once released.

Mind you, leaving aside our previously released single (“Since You’ve Been Gone”), this isn’t a collection of autobiographical songs about loves that I’ve found and lost during my lifetime. The tales are overwhelmingly fictitious, with lyrics written not to relate something that happened to me, but rather were written to craft a little 3-minute story that would speak more universally to things that have been experienced by anyone who’s fallen in and out of love more than a few times.

Why the surprise release?

The surprise release—yeah, we didn’t begin with a plan to jump from the first single to an EP, but I believe you should strike when the iron’s hot. I’ve never understood how America’s major labels got to this place, by the 80’s and 90’s where super-popular artists were going 18 to 24 months between album releases. It baffled me. It ran counter to what I’d seen artists like The Beatles and Garth Brooks do: they’d release an album almost every 6 months. If you’ve been lucky enough to grab the listening public’s attention, then you have an invaluable asset—but it’s a wasting asset. The public is fickle, with a short attention span. That’s even more true in this era of instant communication by way of the Internet and social media.

Anyway, it’s not as if The High Plains Drifters have become an overnight sensation who have “grabbed the public’s attention”. We’re still an obscure, unsigned indie band. However, “Since You’ve Been Gone” and our Xmas 2020 release (“Santa! Bring My Girlfriend Back!”) both generated laudatory press reviews and radio airplay at levels that our debut album didn’t. That Christmas tune made a Spotify list (the Listrionics podcast) of “one of the five best Xmas and holiday songs that were released” in 2020.

As this year progressed, we were being asked about when we’d have new music for people to hear, but still 3 songs shy of finishing the second album. In response, we decided to release immediately the 6 most up-tempo, sonically similar tracks. Voilà: Songs of Love and Loss.

What do you want fans to take away from the project?

After these last 16 months of fear and suffering, I mostly hope that listeners will be smiling after hearing one or more of these tunes, and that they’ll go listen to some of our earlier songs.

And I always hope that people will hear something in the lyrics that resonates with them. I’m a songwriter who usually approaches each tune as a mini narrative. I’m seeking to tell some (very short) story. If I’ve done my job well, and if our music is catchy enough to hold a listener through a song’s conclusion, then most people will (I hope) sit back after hearing a High Plains Drifters tale and say, “Yeah, I’ve been there. That was me once. Thanks for the memories”.

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