The New Faces of British Indie Rock // New upstarting indie rock band Lovejoy are posing in this drawing based on a promotional photo taken last year. While this photo is one of their more recognizable, the band has taken on several looks throughout the different music videos they’ve created over the years. (Drawing by Talia Medina)
UK rock band Lovejoy rises the ranks into mainstream
by Sienna Nicholson
As internet usage has exploded over the last two decades, indie musicians have soared with success despite past limitations. Through platforms like YouTube, Soundcloud, and Twitch, it’s much easier to find more underground artists and create online communities of fans who are all passionate about lesser-known music.
One band to especially excel in such a way is the UK indie rock band Lovejoy. The band was initially created by Will Gold in January of 2021. Gold, more famously known online as Wilbur Soot, had spent the last several years building a name for himself. On YouTube, he spent his days creating a variety of unique content, from reacting to funny videos, filling out Google forms with fans, and even attempting different Minecraft challenges. Alongside this was his channel Wilbur Music where he’d post his original music as well as covers.
After securing his fanbase, Wilbur aspired to create an official professional band, mentioning his constant search to find possible members during Twitch live streams in December of 2020.
At the start, he had only a rhythmic guitar player— his long-time friend Joe Goldsmith. The other members were found in more obscure ways. The band’s drummer, Mark Boardman, was said to have been hired through the app Fiverr as a temporary member for recording. However, after working well together, they all decided to add him full-time. Then finally, Gold found their bass player, Ash Kabosu, in a Smashburger. They knew each other as a friend of a friend, and Gold quickly invited him to join the band, to which he agreed.
Once the band was formed and recording began, excitement began to stir within Gold’s community. They knew little to nothing of what to expect but were fully ready to support. When Lovejoy’s first EP Are You Alright? was released on May 9th, 2021, it was bound to gain some attention.
And that it did, gaining a mass viewing in just a matter of hours. Initially, the EP was only released on YouTube, paired with a music video for the song “One Day”. Not only did fans rack in views instantly, but as soon as it was released to Spotify and Apple Music, they skyrocketed in the charts, debuting as number 10 on Billboard’s Emerging Artists chart on May 20th, 2023.
The band’s music was bright and energetic, taking that classic indie rock sound to a whole new level. Along with the guitars, bass, and drums played by the main four, there’s an added layer of brass instruments, electrifying their music in new ways. All of this paired with Gold’s beloved lyrical talents led to the creation of an addictive new sound for his community and beyond.
This massive success only grew with the release of their second EP Pebble Brain on October 14th, 2021. The EP peaked at number 12 on the UK Albums chart, and following it, the band began a massive trip of tours between both Europe and the United States. Small venues would be sold out in a matter of minutes all over America. At a rapid speed, their popularity expanded past the small community Gold originally held into something much greater. Lovejoy was quickly gaining traction without any signs of slowing down.
With each new single, cover, and EP released, more fans flocked to the giant online community. 2023 has become their most successful year, filled with even more tours as well as several festival performances. Yet despite their insane growth in just two short years, many in the music industry still had yet to have heard of them. Regardless of their numbers, the group was still classified as an “underground band”.
This would all change come the autumn season. On October 6th, 2023, Lovejoy released a new single titled “Normal People Things”, a preview of what’s to come from their soon-to-be-released first-ever album. The song takes a much heavier rock sound in comparison to the past, this single being their boldest rendition yet throughout their continuously evolving sound.
From its creation, Lovejoy was unique to other music groups. Due to Gold’s initial internet fame, there was already a buzz for their music before anything had even been produced. This with the thousands of fans they’ve gathered since their initial release has led to a powerful force of support.
With the announcement of “Normal People Things” release, the Lovejoy community came up with several ways to raise awareness and boost streams. Hashtags such as #ProudofLovejoy trended on Twitter. Pieces of fan art surrounding the music video were posted every day. Some fans even left devices to stream the song on a loop in an attempt to get Lovejoy in the top 30 for the UK Singles Chart.
The fandom’s plan was an absolute success as suddenly Lovejoy was gaining all kinds of traction. Their song “Normal People Things” was able to chart at number 27 on the UK Singles Chart, making it Lovejoy’s highest-achieving song to date. Just a month after the song’s release it had amassed over 9 million streams on Spotify. If that wasn’t enough, it had entered the Top 20 Tracks for US Alternative Radio, making it equally high-tracking in both countries.
Such abrupt success has not gone unnoticed by the public press. The band has been interviewed by several music publications, both radio and magazines, and has begun earning several award nominations such as the Rolling Stones UK Rising Star Award and MTVUK’s MTVPUSH UK and IRE 2024 Award.
This sudden growth of popularity is nothing short of irregular, and the band itself has credited the majority of its achievements to its ginormous online community. Whereas in the past decades, upcoming artists heavily relied on getting a deal with the biggest record labels, music groups like Lovejoy have proven that’s no longer the case.
Rather than struggling to impress the big heads, Lovejoy and many other musicians have skyrocketed to fame with the use of online communities and nothing else. Their positive interactions and grateful love towards their fans have encouraged an immensely connected and powerful fandom that dedicates their time to supporting their music.
Lovejoy continues to reach new heights as time goes on. Just this December they’ll be performing in the Kia Forum, a venue in Inglewood, California that holds over 17.5K seats. It’s entirely possible with their loving community and powerful music, the band could one day grow to be one of the most loved groups known to the world.