The experimental music project of Nathan Johnson. Frequently labeled as “darkpop”, LOYA’s unique evolution continues to grow. From 2014 on wards this darkpop artist’s musical palette has done nothing but broaden. From the industrial and alt-metal origins of “Holly”, to the indie radio charts with the ambient hard-rock “Aimovoria”. LOYA took a hard-left turn and has carved a unique sound with his synth-laden singles “Closure”, “Glassboy” and “Beauty School” while maintaining a consistent evolution to set himself apart from the sea of many.
Interview Meikee Magnetic
Where were you born and where are you now?
I was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA, and currently live 5 minutes south of Minneapolis. Haven’t gotten around much in 24 years!!! Though I often flirt with the idea of moving to Costa Rica, or anywhere else that isn’t an arctic hell hole.
How long have you been involved in music and how did it start?
Hearing ‘Sweet Dreams’ by Marilyn Manson is what made me interested in making music, I was intoxicated by that song the first time I ever heard it. So I started toying with sampling and digital audio production when I was ten, thanks to an iMac equipped with GarageBand. I’ve experimented with all different styles of music, including hip hop beats, ambient/drone music, industrial, hard rock, tribal/world music, and pop. In fourteen years of production, playing guitar, and singing, I’ve never played in a band, cause I’m a nerd.
What is your musical style?
My musical style is art pop or experimental pop, since in terms of creation I combine a lot of sounds from opposing genres, like Gothic, industrial, shoe gaze, and modern RnB. Although Komaglass, my last effort, is definitely a darkpop album or ‘goth’ synth pop. I try to avoid pigeonholing myself in one style, and I can almost guarantee that my future releases, though there will be similarities, will be divergent of my last.
How are you making your music?
I make my music usually by hearing single sounds by other artists and wanting to rip them off something as simple as a guitar tone, or a baseline, then building and building on that by means of experimentation. I create my music in Logic Pro and program all the synthesizers, drums etc, and record my guitar and vocals as well. Guitar and voice then get re-recorded in Pro Tools, and then mixed and mastered. For 95% of what I do, the writing process happens in isolation, without any collaboration of input from other artists.
Do you have any cover songs?
I DO have several cover songs! I’ve released two covers of Deftones songs, “Beauty School” and “Risk”, both from the album Diamond Eyes. Currently, I’m working on some covers of Lana Del Rey, Massive Attack, The Weekend, and John Mayer.
Tough to pick ONE favorite food but if I had to I gotta go with fried chicken… chicken wings and tenders. There’s just nothing in this world as delicious.
Share something that’s molded you as the person you are today:
Choosing to quit drugs and alcohol and address my mental issues as a teenager has been the craziest and most fulfilling journey of my life. The odds are that I should be dead or at the very least in a dramatically less fortunate position.
Future plans include releasing new music, selling more CDs and merch so I can quit my day job, touring with Grimes, and at some point being in the same room as Kanye West. Nothing unreasonable.
What does Dark Beauty mean to you?
To me, dark beauty means anything that invokes wonder, curiosity or appreciation that is beyond the confines of what society tries to exemplify beauty as. There is beauty in ugliness, in abrasion, and in dissonance. My musical idols all have a way of contrasting sound and image in a way others never thought to, and this is inspiring to me.