Lovers & Poets is the 80s and 90s music loving duo, husband and wife, Shannon Hurley and Ben Eisen, with Hurley providing vocals and keys, along with Eisen playing bass and additional programming. The duo are influenced by musicians and artist like Portishead, Air, Ivy, Massive Attack, along with Duncan Sheik, whose hit single “Barely Breathing” was covered through a trip-hop version. The duo also covered David Bowie’s single “Ashes To Ashes.”
Having released two previous cover singles garnering traction with popular fan acclaim and rotation on Los Angeles’ well-known KLOS, the duo released their new album with their first single “Sugar High.” The song is about trying to avoid something one shouldn’t be doing, but divulging anyway, and the music video features Hurley and Eisen in an overexposed, ultravioletroom, with intermittent patterns and imagery, that flash across the screen.
Hurley spoke with us about creating music solely for three months while in Vietnam’s Saigon Park Hyatt, creating music with her other half, Ben Eisen, the influence behind their latest single “Sugar High,” and working with director Matt Dinan on it’s accompanying music video, along with their invested in 80s and 90s music.
What led you to spend three months creating music in Vietnam’s Saigon Park Hyatt, and how did that experience help you grow and evolve with your music?
Shannon Hurley: I was referred by a fellow musician friend to perform there. It was the singularly the most character-shaping event I’ve ever experienced. I was performing 4 hours a night, 6 nights a week, for 3 months. I had to learn a large number of covers in a few days, and was taking requests, work-shopping new original songs, and meeting an international audience for the first time.
You and your other music half and husband, Ben Eisen, have created unique cover versions of Duncan Sheik’s hit single “Barely Breathing,” and David Bowie’s “Ashes to Ashes.” What led you guys to choosing these singles to cover, and do you plan to do future covers?
Shannon: We only cover songs we feel strongly attached to, and have something we think we can add as a cover. “Barely Breathing” came as a result of me performing the song in a crazy 90s pop medley (with Backstreet Boys, Savage Garden, & more) as a solo artist, and I rediscovered how great that song is.
“Ashes To Ashes” was our tribute to [David] Bowie. I had been feeling so dazed after the news of his passing, and this cover helped heal me. The beat and tempo was Ben’s idea. We will definitely do future covers, as long as we feel we can add something unique to the song.
Your newest single is “Sugar High,” from your latest album. What was the influence behind this song?
Shannon: I sat down at the piano, and the melody and lyrics came at the same time and it just wrote itself. Then when it came time to record, we just knew we wanted a 90s electronica feel. We turned to Elastica, Garbage, Luscious Jackson, and Lush.
The video for “Sugar High” is mysterious, featuring unique imagery, and other vivid details. What was the collaborative process like working on this music video?
Shannon: Ben and I met with our director Matt Dinan and told him we had an idea of making a Garbage-inspired music video. We wanted to borrow some aesthetic and direct concepts from their video for “Stupid Girl”, like the slate and the graffiti glass. But once we got into the cyclorama studio, we were having so much fun doing our own thing, like putting a mannequin on keyboards. We felt like we got to add our own layer of personality on top of it all. A lot of the magic came from Matt and assistant camera Benjamin Versher, and Matt’s post-production.
You both are also big fans of 80s and 90s music. What about those decades in music inspire you the most?
Shannon: Ben and I are a big fan of hooks and great, singable melodies, and the 80s and 90s were chock full of them.
What’s next for the remainder of the year and into 2020?
Shannon: We are talking about collaborating with a member of a big late 90s trip-hop group (one of our favorites) and we are pretty excited about that!
Who was your first concert, and do you have a favorite?
Shannon: I went to a Don Henley concert with a high school boyfriend. Then my very next concert was Lollapalooza. Concerts that left an impression: Morcheeba was magical. Ben Folds is a genius. Joe Jackson and his band are tight and energetic. I see Keane every time they come to LA, and they exude so much joy performing. I finally saw my fave 80s band Duran Duran in 2016 and they were fabulous. Bird & The Bee are dreamy and smooth.
What was your first album on cassette, CD and/or vinyl?
Shannon: Duran Duran’s Seven And The Ragged Tiger was my first record.
Which five artists and/or albums would you not want to live without?
Shannon: Keane, The Beatles, Duran Duran, Prince, The Cars.
Do you have a guilty music and/or entertainment pleasure?
Shannon: ABBA, Olivia Newton John, The BeeGees, Smash Mouth, Barenaked Ladies, Hall & Oates.
What are you currently listening to, reading and/or watching?
Shannon: We just watched every Quentin Tarantino movie. He curates amazing music for his films. We are available to perform the theme song!