Local singer-songwriter Erin Lovett has been performing highly personal indie-pop songs under the pseudonym Four Eyes for nearly a decade. With her latest release, I’d Rather Be Ghost Hunting, Lovett is looking to put Four Eyes to rest.
“I don’t wanna make some big thing about it,” says Lovett. “I’ll call it a hiatus. I don’t want this to be the message of the album, necessarily, but I do see this as kind of a clean break for me and my music career. I’m definitely going to step away. But I know that the moment most musicians decide to deliberately stop writing songs, they start writing again.”
As Four Eyes, Lovett is known as one of the most consistent songwriters in town. The project began with Lovett recording primitive pop songs in her bedroom with just her voice, a ukulele and her strong lyrics. Though the production quality has improved since then—even evolving into a full-fledged multi-person band for a brief period—the same spirit is as present on Ghost Hunting as on her earliest Bandcamp releases.
Lovett says Four Eyes’ longevity is mostly due to her keeping her music separate from her work life. “I think the reason Four Eyes existed for so long is that I tried to keep it as convenient to me as possible,” she says. “I never wanted it to feel inconvenient, or like a job. Which is why I’ve never been super intense about self-promotion.”
So, why call it quits? Lovett says she feels a need to “refocus her creative energy” after such a long time in the game. Over the years, Four Eyes has slowly decreased its recorded output. What started out as a nearly constant stream of singles and EPs has become an album every couple of years. Ghost Hunting is a mishmash of older, unreleased material and newer songs that Lovett admits was a struggle to put together, even within a self-imposed two-year release window.
“This is me trying to force myself to put out an album,” she says. “I’ve been struggling with burnout and just telling myself I have to knock this out and be done for good. The last four or five months, I’ve been doing a lot to try and finish this. It was starting to weigh on my soul, having this unfinished thing.”
Lovett clarifies that her creative burnout isn’t due to unhappiness—in fact, it’s the opposite. “It’s a lot harder to write a song about contentment than it is to write about heartbreak,” she says. “I think that’s also part of the reason I’ve slowed down as time has gone on. When I look back at all the songs on my Bandcamp, I just think I need another heartbreak to get myself producing on that high level again.”
The “contentment” Lovett refers to is her life with musical and domestic partner Patrick Brick. Brick, a local musician who performs his own material under the name Futo—and produced a large portion of Ghost Hunting—has been with Lovett for five years and much of her recent songwriting material has taken inspiration from their relationship.
Though Lovett laughs at the suggestion that her new album is a portrayal of domestic bliss, she does acknowledge that many of the songs try to tap into the warm, fuzzy feeling of sitting on the couch with one’s partner and binge-watching TV on a rainy afternoon.
“I definitely did try to draw from that experience,” she says. “With a lot of these songs, I wanted to show that maybe you can feel good with your home life, and still be creative and productive. People really romanticize feeling bad sometimes. It’s very easy to write a song about death. I’ve probably done it hundreds of times.”
Lovett is preparing a brief run of “final” shows this summer to accompany the album’s release, though she is adamant to not make her possible retirement a whole thing. “What does playing your last show ever really mean anymore?” she asks. “In Athens, that might just mean you’re gonna start a brand new band in three weeks.”
While it’s clear that Lovett will never rule out a return, she is happy with stepping away from the stage for the time being. “Since I started doing this 10 years ago, it’s always felt like I’ve had the next big thing coming up around the corner,” she says. “Right now, I don’t have anything else coming up, and it feels really good. I think I’m going to keep it that way.”
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