When loners unite, you get heartfelt music and a journey toward self-discovery. At least that’s true for Charleston band the Loners Society.
Band members Dallas Corbett, Dan Rainey, Danny Natale, and Matt Megrue started up back in ’11 in Atlanta, as a side project of Megrue’s. He was with another group, but when it split, the Loners Society became his focus. A rotating cast of characters have made the rounds over the past three or four years, with drummer Natale being the latest loner. Natale was inspired from the start. “This was different, because I was coming in as a new member, and songs had already been written. It was a new animal.”
Megrue took on Natale because he felt the musician would push the rest of the group in terms of drumbeats, styles, and his acute attention to detail that really shines in studio sessions. “Danny’s a total perfectionist. There might be something here or there that’s a little off, and he’ll be all over it. At the same time, those mistakes make it human, and we try to keep the tricks as minimal as possible,” says Megrue.
Megrue admits that the sound and focus of the group has shifted in time. A big part of that is the change in songwriting. “I don’t know if I ever 100 percent figured it out. In high school, you’ve got nothing but time to write a song from start to finish. As you get older, life gets hectic, and you have to find those moments where it’s not forced. Do I sit there and try to write a song in a two-hour gap I have when I’m not inspired? That’s what I’m still figuring out,” says Megrue. Recently, melody lines have been coming to the artist in the mornings, particularly that half hour between waking up and fully becoming awake. “I’ll hum a line or grab my phone and type out lyrics. I’m on guard for those moments and will take them while I have them,” says Megrue.
Inspiration isn’t a straight-and-narrow road either. Influences come from a variety of sources. For Megrue and Natale, it’s everything from the folk rock of Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers to Jimmy Eat World, to Foo Fighters, Gaslight Anthem, Rancid, and Ryan Adams. As an afterthought, Megrue profoundly adds, “And life can really inspire you if you’re paying attention.”
Megrue admits it’s a challenge to find the band’s own voice. “It’s hard, but I feel like the more you focus on it, the worse off it’s going to be. The point is to let the music and style happen naturally. Your influences are going to come out anyway. You just have to listen to enough different types of music and be inspired in enough different ways,” says Megrue. “Being in a band to me is about the individuals in the room at that moment at once creating a song. That’s the authentic thing.”
Megrue feels the band has reached a point where things feel right. “We just started to hit a groove where we found our legs,” he says. The Loners Society’s most recent disc King City Sessions also helped him come to that point, a stripped-down, bare-it-all album that helped them settle in as a band. “At the end of the day, if songs can’t hold up on acoustic guitar, they aren’t worth recording. We wanted to prove to ourselves that we were worth recording,” Megrue says.
The Loners Society hopes to release a new album by the end of the year, featuring amped-up versions of a few acoustic tracks from King City Sessions as well as an all-over more punk-rock vibe. The group is now in the overdubbing process of adding in piano and organs. The band is also working with Sean Kelly of A Fragile Tomorrow and will be recording some tracks in AFT’s new Savannah studio in October.