LIKE SATELLITES (from l-r): Leah Gillespie (vocals/guitar), Alex Bullen (drums), Logan Arsenault (bass)
INTERVIEW by ZAK SLOMAN
PHOTO by JOHN-MICHAEL LELIEVRE
From the Canadian city of Toronto, Like Satellites are a three-piece led by talented singer-songwriter Leah Gillespie, who started the band in 2016 in order to collaborate with fellow musicians who shared her drive to release compositions that contained soaring melodies, punchy lyrics, and was a fresh take on alternative rock and pop.
After two years of writing, practicing, and re-working their line-up, the outfit recently unveiled a debut single, ‘Muscle Memory’.
Leah told me a little more about the reaction that the track has been getting so far, herself, her band mates, how they work, what the trio have planned for the near future, and much more.
How did the band form?
Slowly, and with much struggle. A couple of years back, I was looking for a band, and I met up with a guitarist named Mario. We started writing, and found a line-up we loved, but it didn’t quite work out.
I was the youngest person in the band, and I learned a ton of stuff. We ended up parting ways with members, but then I found Logan. We kept playing, writing, and bringing in members until we got to this.
However, weirdly, we announced that ‘Muscle Memory’, our recent single, was coming out before Alex joined. He’s pretty incredible, and we’re lucky to have him.
How did the name Like Satellites come about?
Like Satellites was a phrase in a song I wrote when I was initially working on songs. The track itself was genuinely terrible, but this one line kept standing out, saying that “We are like satellites“. It just felt right to me that it would be something we said every time we introduced ourselves.
What would you say was your songwriting approach?
Everyone in the band comes from a pretty different place musically, so it really depends on the song you look at.
Most of them I started on my acoustic guitar at 3am and recorded on my phone to edit before I brought them to the band, and we’d start to edit and write other parts.
Other times, someone would bring me an idea, and I’d sit with it and find a footing or something that felt organic for me to write off of. I won’t write a song if I don’t feel what I’m saying.
What inspires the band lyrically?
I’m the only person writing lyrics, but everyone else does their own parts and helps to edit the structure.
I’m inspired by my own experiences and feelings, as when I was 18, I was diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder, and I feel everything incredibly deeply because of it, but I have a hard time actually expressing my feelings to other people sometimes, and music is the only way I’ve ever really felt comfortable getting them out there. Because of that, our songs are mostly really personal.
Recently, you unveiled your debut single, ‘Muscle Memory’. How has the reaction been to that so far?
It’s been so cool! Logan is always saying that he was worried how it would be received because he’d turned the song over in his head so many times that it didn’t even feel real, he wasn’t sure if it was good or not anymore.
However, now that it’s out in the world, the reaction has been really positive. We’ve been getting radio play, people are streaming it and buying it, which is way more than we actually expected. With this, we kept our expectations low and our hopes high.
And later this year, the band will be releasing a first EP. How has the recording process been for that?
We actually haven’t started yet! We’re in the process of booking recording for later this year, so we can release in the first half of next year. We’ve been writing, editing, and practicing like crazy up until now to make sure that everything is how we want it to be before we bring it to a producer who will shine it up even more.
What can be expected of the EP?
The EP that we’re planning is going to be a follow-up to ‘Muscle Memory’ in a lot of ways. We have songs like ‘Take This’ and ‘Anchor’ that we’re playing live right now that are telling the same story at a different point in time, so we’re really excited to have that all out to people to listen to together.
Expect energy, earworms, and a lot of emotion. One of the things I think we do best is take our angst and dress it up in clean, friendly structures.
The band are from Toronto. How is the city’s music scene currently?
It’s amazing right now! Honestly, Toronto is so under-rated for music. Somehow, we’re closing down music venues, but there are a ton of incredible bands working their butts off.
Thankfully, there are a bunch of others that are absolutely incredible to play in, and the cities around us have great audiences in them.
And you have a few shows planned. For anyone planning to see the band, what can they expect from you live?
A good time, we hope! We’ve been working pretty hard to put together a set that will work for anyone who decides to come to a show whether they’re there for us or not.
We have a couple of really bouncy, fun songs and a couple of more mellow, sad ones to balance out our usual angsty vibe.
It’s a preview of the EP too while we road test, so the song you hear at a show this month may not be quite the same as the song you hear on the record and after its release. You won’t see the same show twice in any given city with us.
What else is planned between now and when the EP comes out?
We’ve got a couple of collaborations and covers in the works right now. Most notably, we’re trying to arrange to play with a friend of ours who’s a YouTuber, which promises to be a good time for everyone.
The chances are we’ll be co-writing, and maybe we’ll even take off on a little road trip to play for some people who wouldn’t get to see us normally.
And finally, what is the band’s long-term aim?
World domination! Just kidding. We want to be able to travel the world, make music, and have a good time doing it.
The goal isn’t to be No Doubt or Blondie famous, but we’d love to have people sing our songs back to us, go out of their way to own our records, and see us play, preferably on other continents, so we can all finally get out of our home town like all of our music’s been telling us to do.
‘MUSCLE MEMORY’, THE DEBUT SINGLE FROM LIKE SATELLITES, IS OUT NOW.
FURTHER INFO ON THE BAND CAN BE FOUND THROUGH THE FOLLOWING SITES: