Artist Spotlight: Lohai

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Somewhere between soul and pop, lighthearted and heavy, classic jazz and Top 40 tunes—that’s where you’ll find Lohai’s magnetic sound.

“I don’t think our setting is ‘Arghh Art! We will conquer art! We’re very serious!’ We’ve definitely got a goofiness to the sound, a lightheartedness.” — Devon

So how did you guys meet?

Alita: “Devon and I just happened to be at the same jam session one night. It was really just a case of right place, right time. I believe we were both playing on a song, and then Devon came up to me afterwards, handed me his card, and the rest is kind of history.”
Devon: “I was actually out in search of cold beer, because my deli’s fridge was busted. So I went the other way down the street, and instead of finding cold beer, I found cool jazz… It really wasn’t what I was trying to do that night. But I did order a beer there, so.”

Where does the name Lohai come from?

Devon: “I don’t actually remember coming up with Lohai, but I found it on this list of band names I keep on my phone and was like, ‘Oh, that’s really nice.’ It’s inviting, it’s gentle… but he name itself is actually a mystery to me.”

Who brings what to the table when you’re collaborating?

Devon: “I mostly bring a song to the table and then Alita helps me refine it. Obviously, a lot of melodies have been transformed by Alita in the greatest way possible. Whatever Alita sings turns into gold. It’s like folklore.”
Alita: “Devon is the mastermind behind the writing, and I help out with arranging.”

On their very musical families:

Alita: “I grew up singing. Both my parents are vocalists. My mom has been on and off Broadway my entire life, and my dad was an opera singer and vocal professor. So I pretty much had no choice. It was just in my blood.”
Devon: “I come from a fairly musical family as well, though more piano-oriented. My dad has a masters in piano performance, and my mom always taught piano lessons throughout my childhood.”

On how their cover of “How Deep is Your Love” came to be:

Devon: “I was like, ‘Alita, we should cover ‘How Deep is your Love! I was thinking something like this…’ and I started playing and the chords, and she was just kinda looking at me like… ‘Wait, what? You’re talking about the Calvin Harris version, right?’ Which I guess goes to show you where our heads might be at.
Alita: “We were like, ‘Well, we might as well try to mash them up into one song!’”

Alita, everyone in the band except for you has been to BMF before. What did they tell you about the festival to get you to say yes?

Alita: “They just sold it as an amazing time up in the mountains. Just a complete opposite experience from New York City. And that’s honestly what sold me on it. My grandparents have a place on Lake Champlain near Burlington, Vermont. So I definitely spent a lot of time in nature growing up. I definitely don’t get to do that nearly as much since I moved to the city. So I’m definitely looking forward to it.”

How would you describe your sound to someone who hasn’t heard you before?

Alita: “I would describe Lohai as a mixture of pop, jazz, and a little bit of soul. We’re a soul pop band that’s both lighthearted and a little heavy.”
Devon: “Soul pop, hopefully with some depth, but also some frilly elements. I don’t think our setting is this ‘Aghh Art! We will conquer art! We’re very serious!’ We’ve definitely got a goofiness to the sound, a lightheartedness. And I like the adjective ‘magnetic’. If opposites attract, we have our differences that come together nicely.”