Coming of age in the chicken capital hasn’t been all sunshine and rainbows for either of them, which they acknowledge in their songwriting, employing authenticity and vulnerability to tell their stories.
“We write completely based on a feeling,” Simmons said. “We don’t sit down and say, ‘Let’s see if we can write a really positive song about our hometown.’ Our songs are all across the board based on several different life experiences, and there’s definitely a couple in there that aren’t so easy to write and aren’t so easy to perform. I think everybody has negative experiences or not-so-light-and-happy experiences about their town. We definitely have that side of the coin as well.”
“We just want to be honest,” Mills said. “I’ve always had a Gainesville address, my whole life. We’re tied in here, and the last thing we want to do is put out art and put out music that’s dishonest to who we are. We just want people to see an honest testimony of what our lives have been.”
While planning the exodus from their hometown may be typical of the teenage experience, the band has its heart set on opening young Gainesvillians’ eyes to the array of opportunities at their fingertips, particularly in the arts scene.
“There is a community of artists here in Gainesville — audio artists, visual artists,” Mills said. “It really is growing, and we would love to be pioneers of that. We just want to inspire people in the arts scene that it’s not a lost cause to invest your art and your time here in Gainesville. You can’t do anything without a good foundation, and Gainesville is our foundation.”
Without Gainesville, neither member of the duo feels they’d be who they are — or where they are — today.
“The community’s poured into me and molded me into who I am,” Simmons said. “I owe so much to Gainesville, and it only feels right to write our music about it.”
“We have seen the value of pouring back into Gainesville and using our skill sets and making those connections,” Mills said. “That’s the only way we’re able to do what we’re doing now — through the support of our hometown.”
The band’s debut single, “My Mama Likes You,” is slated to release Friday, Sept. 23, on Spotify, iTunes and Apple Music.
To commemorate the milestone, the band is hosting its debut show at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 28 at Meadows at Mossy Creek in Cleveland.
The event is a “linking of arms” between the band and several local businesses including Tap It, Meadowlark Coffee, Gab and Gather and The Fresh Bloom.
Available on Eventbrite, tickets are $20 for general admission and $75 for VIP supporters, which includes entry for two guests, two drink tickets, discounted merchandise and VIP seating.
With two songs recorded and awaiting release, the band aims to return to the studio later this year to produce a five-song EP with two acoustic bonus tracks.
For more on The Band Loula, follow @thebandloula on Instagram.