The Limousines began in a way that’s almost unbelievable when the story is now told. Singer Eric Victorino and multi-instrumentalist, and producer Giovanni Giusti were introduced through a mutual friend, and began collaborating on music via the internet before ever meeting in person. The second song they recorded, “New Year’s Resolution,” ended up on San Francisco radio station Live105 and the guys were suddenly known all around the Bay Area.
Their fourth completed song, “Very Busy People,” received national airplay with no promotion and no record label quickly led to The Limos finding themselves face to face with the heads of major record labels before they’d even had really decided if they were a band. To them, The Limos was just a fun little hobby.
In 2009 The Limousines signed a singles deal for “Very Busy People” with Universal Republic Records. The label and the rest of the band’s new team were pressuring them to write and record their debut full length album in less than 60 days. With only one song and a whole album’s worth to go, Eric and Giovanni knew they couldn’t hastily throw together an entire album just for the money. They didn’t want to rush it and end up with an album they weren’t proud of. “We knew the money would be gone pretty quick, but that shitty album would be there forever. We knew at this point that we could be something really special, but we had to slow things down, it was all just getting way out of hand,” says Victorino.
Indeed, The Limousines had the right kind of attention, but decided to tap the brakes and remain independent. They needed some time to sharpen their skills, and frankly, to get to know each other a little bit more before making any life-altering decisions.
After a year spent in their garage-studio, the band put together their first full length album, Get Sharp, and released it in 2010 via Orchard City Books & Noise, the band’s own label. One song from the album, “Internet Killed The Video Star” was picked up by over 20 terrestrial radio stations, and the band became favorites of a few DJs at Sirius/XM’s Alt Nation channel where their single charted on the station’s Top 18 countdown.
The boys gathered friends and family and made a $600 zombie-themed music video for “Internet Killed The Video Star.” Within a week of posting, the video reached 100,000 views (now over 1.2 million), and caught the attention of MTV. The video was added to the station with numerous songs from the album placed in MTV’s biggest shows: Jersey Shore, Real World, Teen Wolf, and Worst Prom Ever, which ultimately lead to the band’s MTV PUSH Artist of the Week feature.
Touring began, and the band opened for Weezer in San Francisco and Chicago. The Limos went on to be the direct support for the 2011 Neon Trees tour around the US, followed by another direct support slot to The Sounds bringing them to Europe and The UK.
The band was invited to perform at numerous festivals including: Voodoo, Outside Lands, Spookfest, BFD, DeLuna, The Bamboozle, Folsom Street Fair, Keloha, Treasure Island, Sunset Street Festival, Noisepop, plus an abundance of radio shows for Live105, KRAB, CD101, KNDD, WSUN, KRBZ. The have also given special performance for various events with Coca Cola at the 2012 London Olympics, Square, Google Play, Red Bull, Macy’s, NYLON, Hipstamatic, AT&T, and Dreamforce.
“These are the kinds of things that happened to us,” says Victorino. “I’d been in bands before where for years we had to fight so hard for every inch of ground, and with The Limousines stuff just dropped in our laps all the time. There’s something about what we’re doing that connects with people. I think they can tell we’re having fun, so they wanna have fun too. This is Gio’s first band, and I can’t imagine what it must have felt like for him to have everything move so fast.”
In early 2011 the band signed with Dangerbird Records. After a brief stint with the label that saw downsizing and the eventual departure of the label’s CEO, The Limousines were released from their contract. Independent once more in the fall of 2012, The Limousines launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise money for the recording and release of their next album, Hush.
Limos fans from all over the world stepped up and smashed the band’s ambitious goal of $30,000 by raising over $75,000 in 28 days. The band was now free to release and promote the next album on their own terms.
A lot of real life has happened between the release of Get Sharp and the recording of Hush. While writing the new album, both members of the band lost an abnormal number of friends and family to freak accidents and rare illnesses, suicides, murders and various tragedies. Just before Christmas of 2011, Victorino was involuntarily committed to a psychiatric facility having been found by doctors to be “a danger to himself.”
As quick, easy and light-hearted as everything had been in the early days of the band, the mood now was the polar opposite.
“I don’t think it would have been possible for us to write the same kind of album now,” says Giovanni. “We’ve become such close friends since then. We’ve traveled the world together, and helped each other through a lot of really hard times.” Victorino continues, “The last album was fun, and this one has its fun moments too, but that’s pretty much all the two have in common. Where Get Sharp had no songs about love, nothing sexy, hardly any darkness – Hush is all about love, drugs, loss and sex...mostly sex. This is where the Limousines stop masturbating and start fucking. It’s our version of growing up.”
The major chords are now minor chords. The white keys now go mostly unstroked and neglected while the black keys became a new foundation. Overly excited yelps and childish sing-song melodies have been toned down and refined. The highs are delicate, ethereal falsettos instead of full throated cheers. The mood is decidedly more mature, and the themes are universal.
Somehow, with all its drastic differences, the new sound of The Limousines is still unmistakably them.