After Matthew Koma co-wrote Demi Lovato’s song “Easy” from their LP The art of starting over, the two instantly became friends. “We were just texting each other. Mostly memes and shit,” says Koma rolling stone as Lovato lets out a cackle. “When you find artists who are as good as they are talented, it makes life so much more fun and exciting.”
On Friday, Lovato, along with Koma’s band Winnetka Bowling League, released the breakup ballad, “Fiimy,” an acronym for “Fuck, I Miss You.” Lovato immediately fell in love with the emotional song after hearing a snippet on Koma’s TikTok nearly two years ago. “Honestly, I was just a supportive friend and I was like, ‘Man, that’s amazing. Can you please send it to me so I can cry? It’s so tearful,” the singer says. “And he actually said ‘Do you want to help me finish it?'”
The two spent the next few weeks concocting new lyrics for the track, with Lovato adding a verse inspired by their own real heartbreak. Beginning the verse with a line about seeing past love with “a family now,” Lovato later sings, “How I felt so unworthy of you/And I loved you more than I’ll admit/Hundreds reasons and I still count/I never stopped and I never will.
rolling stone caught up with Koma and Lovato to talk about the new five-title Winnetka Bowling League EP, Pulpand the future of Lovato’s music, which the singer says is a return to their emo-rock roots:
Matthew, what made Demi the right choice for this song?
Matthew Koma: It was just obvious. When they showed interest in even wanting to collaborate, I was just fucking happy. We finished the lyrics over the text and it was one of those things where it wasn’t forced, and it just happened organically – it’s still the best. Especially with someone like Demi, whose voice you’re so used to hearing and grew up listening to, it’s fun to hear how that instrument brought a song you started to your bedroom – and in underwear – on a completely different level. It’s surreal. We are so grateful that someone is taking the time Demi has to make the song as good as possible. We are very lucky.
What do you look for in another person when you decide to collaborate?
Demi Lovato: I must be a fan of this person’s music and artistic expression. And of course, I’m a fan. We have worked together before. And so it was obvious to me too!
Coma: Same. I’m a huge fan of Demi and what they’ve done and honestly they’re just an awesome person. You don’t necessarily get that with everyone. When you find performers who are as good as they are talented, it makes life so much more fun and exciting. And even rolling out the song is just fun, because it’s like, ‘Oh shit, we can do this together.’
The lyrics of the song are so relatable. We’ve all been through tough breakups. Is it safe to say that the lyrics were inspired by real life?
Lovato: For me, definitely inspired by real life. We did this one early last year, so some time has passed. Today I feel good to be alone – but I definitely had my moment of sadness, that’s for sure.
Definitively. And you, Matthew? Obviously you’re married to Hilary Duff and have two young daughters, but have you been through that too? Were you channeling past stuff?
Coma: Yeah, I think most of the time when I sit down to write, it doesn’t necessarily reflect something that I’m going through right now. For me, it’s always been more of a process of going back and exploring things that I can look at from some distance and tell that story. He feels a little more withdrawn. Something like that is a feeling that everyone has felt – so it’s easy to take pictures of this version.
Is it weird reliving those moments with the lyrics now that the song is finally going to be released? Or is it just part of the process?
Lovato: I think that’s part of the process. Sometimes I write songs and by the time I release them I’m in a totally different state of mind. Whether it is or not, at some point, these are real words from my heart from where I was at that time. I never neglect the past and how I felt in the past. I just wear my lyrics like a badge of honor like, ‘Yeah, that’s what I’ve been through.’
Matthew, the track is part of a new EP for Winnetka Bowling League. Tell me about that.
Coma: It’s called Pulp. And we really like releasing EPs because it’s a quick way to release music and move on. I usually hate everything I do two weeks later, so it’s good to have five or six songs and then move on and not make those long records – especially considering how people digest the music now. People could probably expect a slight disappointment. [Lovato laughs.]
Did you listen to it, Demi? Did you like?
Lovato: I haven’t heard anything else, but I can’t wait.
Coma: Demi is my friend. I don’t want to disappoint them. [Koma laughs]
A few days ago you had a funereal moment for pop Demi. Is this version of Demi a thing of the past now? Are we letting them go? Or is it just a new era?
Lovato: I would say it’s a new era. I am constantly evolving, constantly evolving. I would love to put the rest of my music behind me and start fresh in this new era for this next album – but I do that every album cycle. Honestly, it wasn’t a funeral. It was a label meeting and we were all in black and I was like, ‘Wow, this is like a funeral for my pop music.’ There was no real funeral.
Are we going back to the early rocky and emo days?
Lovato: That, but better. And also, there’s a bit of…and when I say heaviness, I don’t mean lyrically, but heaviness like in some sounds that I’ve never done before, which is exciting. It’s a new era reminiscent of my first era.
And for you Matthew, now that we have the EP out, what else is in the works for you and the band? Can we expect to see you on the road?
Coma: Yes, we are going to tour next year. We’re about to go to Europe for the first time, then to the US – and yes, more music, more shows.
It feels like we are in the final stages of Covid. What are some of the lessons you have learned during this very long pandemic?
Lovato: I learned to be alone. I think at the start of the Covid, I was not alone. Part of this situation was that I didn’t want to be alone, and then I really accepted it. Since I’ve been alone, I feel like I’m learning more about myself. I have become more sure of the person that I am. It was just time that I needed to spend on my own because I felt like my whole life – well not my whole life, but ever since I started dating someone – I was always talking to someone, or dating someone, or in a relationship, and these past two years have been really transformative for me.
This week marks two years since you performed “Anyone” at the Grammys. Looking back, how are you today? How does it feel to look back at what was going on in your life back then?
Lovato: I’m definitely in a better place than two years ago. And it’s not that I was in a bad place – but like I said, I just learned a lot about myself. Today, I am more focused. I’m more lucid and excited to work on new music.
Matthew, what was it like spending time in quarantine with your family?
Coma: I was really grateful to have had an enforced break, because especially with young kids, you don’t get that time back. As someone who’s been around so much in my life, it’s easy to forget that there’s an identity outside of what you do for a living. When you’re constantly thinking about art, songs, and touring, it’s easy to forget how important you are outside of that. It was definitely a lesson that I think got me back into touring and being more into it, but I’m enjoying it more because it’s elective instead of that “I gotta do it” kind of thing. To do”.
Is there anything you hope to manifest in 2022?
Lovato: I didn’t think that far. In fact, I tried so hard to live in the moment and not think about the future. I’ve done a lot of future trips in the past, and some events too, which have been rewarding and insightful – but for me, I’m just trying to stay present.
Coma: It gives me far too much anxiety to think about the next 15 minutes. It’s too stressful for me to think about anything last Thursday. [Lovato laughs]
Random question for you. What is one misconception about you that you think is worth setting the record straight?
Coma: I really have my legs in the air. I don’t have chicken thighs. They just photograph that way.
Lovato: And for me, I don’t change with new music. I’m just going back to my roots!
Demi, I know you explore extraterrestrial life on your show Peacock Not identified. How has this trip changed your life?
Lovato: I’ve seen things that I can’t explain. For me, it only expanded my concept of God. It inspired me. And it’s also part of my spirituality now.