The morning sun rises over a Chevron station seated deep within Venice Beach. The intersection hums with a bevy of characters flashing their nondescript, lukewarm smiles, trying to find an inflated fix, pumping more gas to move them along or searching for lost time. High above their heads, they are unaware of a skillful observer who feverishly writes down their idiosyncratic ticks, their exchanges with other strangers and the aura they a cast off as they exit his view, onto paled notebook paper. Kevin Litrow, who goes by Litronix onstage, compiled a series of vignettes for his upcoming new studio record, Pump the Gas (out June 16), which includes the tousled, guitar-seasoned “Love Nights,” a more organic, breathy entry on his otherwise psychedelic and spacey LP. Premiering exclusively today, the mid-tempo rattles, too, with the love-torn rendezvous which “is a special moment in life,” he tells B-Sides & Badlands. “The romance, the teasing, the building all through the long night, and before you know it, you’ve been swept up in the riptides, no way to control, just taken by tides, in and out…in and out of the currents.”
“And then as the night progresses, the pressure starts building so strong, so real, that it’s you and your companion’s destiny to finally release in perfect harmony and exact timing as the sun is coming up. This is a true Love Night. What sparked it for me, was having this actual experience as the song is written,” he continues. “It kind of flowed. I was experimenting with looping my acoustic guitar in standard tuning for a change, and the melody just seemed to come effortlessly. The Love Night happened around that same time, so I just thought that this is the perfect subject for these chords.”
“What is your answer? You knock three times. I’ll knock on wood. You don’t even know you’re swimming faster. Opening the whiskey, making jokes, laughing so hard. We’re going to throw stuff out the window,” Litrow retells of the night of frenetic passion and restlessness. “She loved the insanity of looking out my window. I think the gas station enjoyed it, too. It sure needed it. Who knows, maybe the gas station is the culprit…” he conjectures. He may be on to something; the gas station is simply the backdrop, the conduit funneling travelers and lovers and crooks and deceivers through the highway of life–coming together here and then splintering off into the universe, never to be seen again, but somehow irrefutably changed.
Litrow maps out the characters he then transplanted onto his record. There’s the “old fat man who works behind the counter during graveyard shift,” he says. “He only listens to Doo-Wop. He’s around 75 years old and can barely move around. God bless him.” “A car full of wild young teenagers from Venice High, partying hard, pumping Fetty Wap through the trunk’s sub speaker” comes into view, he notes. “Breaking beer bottles while huffing on cans of nitrous almost passing out.” Later, a homeless man is “always asking for change, and he’s extremely honest about it, too. He needs money for beer….a 40 of Mickeys, to be precise. He wears extremely oversized pants with no belt, so you can imagine what you’re looking at here. One night he sat right below my window singing ‘I’m just a little boy…I’m just a little boy’ over and over and over at 3:30 a.m. I definitely didn’t get much sleep that night,” he recalls.
Then, a drug deal drops down into his memory. “[It happened] right below my window between a man dressed in a LA Kings Jersey and a woman in a 2014 Chevy Camaro,” he says. Another time, “A beautiful woman, possibly a supermodel, tall, skinny, stylish hair, in a beautiful gorgeous long dress, steps out of a brand new Porsche. Five surfers pull up in a van, oards are stacked on top. They ask the woman, ‘What are you doing tonight?’ She smiles, pumps the gas and takes off in her Porsche to her next destination. The surfers pump the gas, get on the road fast to catch the swell.”
He takes a moment to examine their roles in his life, their unequivocal outward ripple which ultimately shakes you alive. He concludes “all of them” had a lingering impact on his way of thinking and view the world. “I realize that there’s all kinds of people coming and going, pumping and rolling, roll in….roll out. Where are they going? Who are they? Makes you wonder,” he says. “So many people. So many different levels of life that people choose and don’t choose. So many different kinds of energies. And the gas is what gets them to their next destination until they run out again…and need to reload.”
The album is produced by Avi Buffalo. Pre-order Litronix’s Pump the Gas.