Music

Love You Later Seriously "Making Plans" As an Artist to Embrace (premiere + interview)

Photo: Daniel Chaney / Courtesy of the artist

Reinventing herself as Love You Later, Lexi Aviles is a Los Angeles-based singer-songwriter who came up with the idea after seeing the Japanese House perform. On her new single and music video, she gets to the heart of the matter.

Lexi Aviles, the synthpop artist now known as Love You Later, has been busy making plans to write and perform music since the age of three. Born and raised in Southern California and the daughter of two performers, Aviles owned her first ukulele when she was 11, then began uploading music videos to YouTube before attempting to release her debut EP three years later. While learning her craft by participating in the high school choir and "teaching myself instruments" could have been a frustrating experience, Aviles never gave up. She even made a new name for herself after searching for new sources of inspiration.

Now the DIY effort is paying off for LYL, who is thriving in year three while still "Making Plans", the name of her new music video that premieres today at PopMatters. The single will officially be released on Friday.

"I never had a doubt in my mind that making music and sharing it was what I was meant to do," Aviles says. "I started releasing music under a different name in early high school, and while that was enjoyable and great practice, it didn't feel like me. I was conforming to what was popular, and I hated that — I always wanted to be different."

Even if an Indiegogo project as a 14-year-old didn't go as planned, Aviles was determined to turn her dream into a fulfilling reality by creating "more music than I ever have before". It took a year and a half of constantly writing songs ("some good, mostly bad", she admits) and seeing one of her favorite performers "to really find out my sound and who I was as an artist", Aviles says.

Love You Later - Harder On Myself (3)

"I'll never forget when I saw the Japanese House (the act England's Amber Bain calls herself) live in summer 2016, and it's almost like a flip switched inside of me," Aviles continues. "I was so inspired and energized. I literally felt a shaking in my bones and chills all over my body. If a one-woman solo project could have that effect on me by her painfully beautiful words, heavenly melodies, I know I could someday. So I called my producer friend and told him I wanted to start a new solo project. We wrote and released my first single, "Lost in Los Angeles", a few months later."

That launched the birth of Love You Later in February 2017, 19 years after Aviles arrived.

The rising L.A.-based singer-songwriter is also announcing that her second EP as Love You Later, called Heaven Is Without You, will be released this spring, and includes five songs, including "Making Plans". She worked with three producers — Jordie Saenz, Johnluke Lewis, and Justin Amundrud — on the EP, believing they each "brought something special into the project". And though there are various styles throughout Heaven Is Without You, the collection of songs "perfectly fit my 'sonic vision'", Aviles believes.

The music video was directed by Sophia Lauer (Maisy Stella, Little Big Town) during a mid-January day in various spots throughout Nashville, where Aviles lived for two years after high school before recently moving back to Los Angeles. Love You Later will perform at L.A.'s Hi Hat on 22 March, and is making plans for more shows in the summer and fall.

Check out her evocative expression of a date-night fail now, then continue reading to find out more about Love You Later, the song/video, the upcoming EP and why Aviles believes "Making Plans" is one of the more "painfully honest songs I've released".

"I wanted the video to highlight the imperfect human condition and feelings of isolation, longing, and self-realization and reflection," says Aviles, who previously worked with Lauer on the video for "Harder on Myself", a song that is also on the new EP. Dreaming up "this whole world" for the video, Aviles went over every scene she wanted in "Making Plans" with Lauer, and also worked with cinematographer-editor Mika Matin, saying that she hoped "it would come to life. And it definitely did. I'm really proud of us."

Carrying an emotional weight that conveys the heartbreak a complicated life can bring, Aviles doesn't hesitate to show her feelings as Love You Later, who made her debut with the release of the EP How Many Nights Do You Dance With Tears in Your Eyes? in July 2018. "Here in L.A., it's so easy to feel isolated and drowned out in such a big city with so much happening but no one to do it with," Aviles candidly admits when asked about "Making Plans" and its "painfully honest" lyrics. "As humans, sometimes we need someone to pass the time with to get our minds off of the bad stuff. I think it's a pretty prevalent topic in our culture today whether we like to admit it or not — It's hard to be alone."

Though the song is equally sad and serious — beginning with the opening line, "Why do I feel so lonely?" — Aviles found pleasure in acting with her friend Noah Tidmore as they portray two solitary singles who try to connect but inevitably aren't willing to take a chance at romance. "He's a good pal of mine and I had a specific look in mind when dreaming up the video — obviously a good-looking, stylish individual, that I felt comfortable acting with," offers Aviles, who points out that Tidmore "makes really incredible films" and is an artist worth checking out. "Noah was the first person that came to mind! He did such a really amazing job, too. Didn't realize how hard it was to hold a straight face with someone you usually smile and joke around with."

With a diverse taste in musical acts that captured the zeitgeist of the '80s/'90s such as Fleetwood Mac, David Bowie, Queen, Shania Twain, No Doubt, Whitney Houston, the Cure, and the Cranberries, she also has fun trying to explain to curious bystanders how Love You Later was created.

"I always wish I had a better story for how I came up with the name 'Love You Later', but I just don't, haha," Aviles confesses. "I've always loved plays on words or alliterations and thought they made things sound intriguing. When writing for the project before I knew the name, all of the songs were surrounding the topic, love. So I knew I wanted to incorporate that into the name. I think the name gives you space to come up with your own meaning, and that's why I went with it."

No matter how you interpret it, prepare to fall in love with Aviles' passion project, sooner rather than later.

FINAL ANSWERS: 3 MORE FOR LOVE YOU LATER

1. You're a Los Angeles-based musician who's also lived in Nashville. Where do you feel most comfortable making music and why?

Love You Later: I adore Nashville's artist community and feel the most comfortable making music there because everyone is so supportive, inspiring, and talented. I just moved back to L.A. a few months ago, so I can't say I've fully gotten dialed into the artist/writer's scene here. But I do feel inspired just by my surroundings in L.A., so I love to write alone, which is something I couldn't really get myself to do in Nashville.

2. How cathartic is the songwriting process for you?

Love You Later: Extremely. I can't think of one song I've written where I haven't felt some sort of release after. Sometimes it's more intense than others depending on what I'm writing about, but I'm the type of person who has to get things out, so it's my main source of therapy, especially when there are others in the room to talk about it with, lol.

3. Your sophomore EP Heaven Is Without You will be released this spring (date TBA). What would you like folks to know about it? What does the EP title mean in relation to the songs? How has your music progressed since your debut EP?

Love You Later: Heaven Is Without You sums up the freedom, relief, and liberation I felt after I ended a relationship that wasn't good for me. All of these songs show the progression of that relationship — before, during, and after. The EP is very transparent and emotional, but at the same time, more lighthearted and self-aware than the first EP. I'm excited to release it into the world. I think my music has progressed since my debut EP in 2018, mostly because I've gone through a lot more life. Between the two EPs, I had a pretty difficult breakup and other life changes that made me a better songwriter and artist. For this new EP, I have taken more risks and unapologetically gone after what I want Love You Later to look/sound like.

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