Since discovering the best pop music around is our mission, we couldn’t ignore the work of Rico Loma. Emerging from Los Angeles, he’s been releasing a series of soothing, soulful gems capable of mesmerising the listener since the first listen. Debuting in 2019 and fresh from a rather long hiatus, Loma shares his latest offering, the warming and nostalgic indie jewel ‘HEY’.
Built over a charming acoustic guitar, the track soon evolves into gooey and modern indie-pop matter, marking a glorious return in what has already been a proficient career (cue glorious streaming figures!). Exploring the painful undertones of contemporary relationships – where one is eternally in doubt about pursuing individual independence or couple reliance, ‘HEY’ is a track that will resonate with many listeners out there.
Intrigued by the project – and by Rico, a scientist by day and artist by night – we caught up with him to find out more about his musical journey. Interview below!
Hey Rico, how is it going? some of our readers might not be familiar with your project, how would you describe yourself, in a few words?
I’m good! I’m a singer-songwriter that writes likes to feel every emotion and I make sure that comes across in my music.
Your current work is the result of a long journey; What first drew you to making music?
What drew me to making music was how good it felt to listen to it. It was an escape and a way to feel things on a level I couldn’t feel otherwise. I knew that what I do would be fulfilling if I could make people feel that way. I found out early that making music was very therapeutic, as well. Putting my thoughts into words and onto paper felt like a weight was lifted.
If you had the opportunity to pick any artists in the world for a collaboration, who would be your first choice? (and second choice, perhaps?)
I would love to collaborate on a song with Ed Sheeran. He is one of my earliest inspirations as a musician and I’ve followed his journey ever since. I would hop on any part of that musical journey in a heartbeat. Another artist I would love to collaborate with is Frank Ocean. Soft atmospheric ballads are usually a one-person story, but I think we could make it work.
You recently released a catchy and feel-good tune, ‘HEY’. Do you find simplicity to be an underrated quality, in music?
Absolutely. When I first started making music, I was obsessed with being different and complex with my approach and that threw me off for a while. I rejected the first melodies that came to me because I was worried about being too one-dimensional. Even stories I’d write had to have an underlying message to them, or I would feel like I wasn’t being “artistic” enough. Once I learned to relax and go with what felt good, the writing process became a lot more simple and the art more genuine.
Do you feel more confident writing music alone, or within a team?
When it comes to lyricism, I definitely feel more confident writing alone. It’s something I keep close to me so feedback during the process is met with some resistance. When it comes to production, however, I’m open to as much collaboration as needed. It’s a part of music creation that others have so much to offer and the possibilities are endless.
You are also a biochemist; is there a parallel you can draw between the scientific process on your day job and the act of music creation? Is there something that you think ties the two together, at least concerning your personal experience?
There are very few parallels I can draw between my day job and music creation, but one thing that I think has had a substantial impact is my approach to production. From a production standpoint, I’m not the biggest fan of describing songs in vague terms like “vibe” or “energy”, as I think it generalizes all the specific efforts that musicians make to create their art. At best, it’s a catch-all and at worst, it’s dismissive. Why is this song chill? Is it the spacing that the guitar loop leaves between lines? Is it the resolution at the end of the pre-chorus melodies? These are the types of questions I think about when I’m making a song.
Artistically speaking, what challenges have the last two years presented you with?
The last two years I’ve done a good bit of exploring musically. Writing in different styles and working with different sounds. The challenge that came from that was putting them together and making them sound cohesive while still staying true to who I am as an artist. It’s important for me to show that my music is just an extension of me and I had to make sure I didn’t lose that during the process.
What are the next steps for your project? Anything exciting on the horizon?
I have a five-track EP titled “The Magic Conch” coming out on the 28th of this month and a music video shortly after!