Photo by Charlie Cummings

FM premiere: The Cost of Loving unveil electro-pop mastery with ‘Esports Player’

“I came up with the verse melody to Esports Player a few years ago when driving on the motorway in the dark"
15 December 2023

Nottingham-based synth-pop trio The Cost of Loving is back with a sonic offering that transcends time and space in their latest single, Esports Player. Drawing inspiration from iconic synth acts like New Order, Pet Shop Boys, and Tame Impala, the trio—comprising Jack Kwiecinski (vocals, synth, programming), Josef Bone (synth, programming), and Antony Onorati (bass, synth)—once again proves their prowess in creating a distinctive and captivating musical experience.

Having previously earned acclaim with support from editorial Spotify playlists, BBC Radio 6 Music, and Radio X, The Cost of Loving is no stranger to the spotlight. With Esports Player, they continue to carve a niche for themselves, seamlessly blending nostalgic 80s synth-pop vibes with a contemporary twist.

The track is a shimmering blend of indie-electronic pop, catchy wordplay, rhythmic synths, and infectious drum machine samples. Layers of analogue synth pads and plucky leads create a lush soundscape above a repeating bassline and punchy electronic beats. The result is a melodic central hook where lead vocals dance with an air of melancholic ease, giving the song a striking commercial edge.

Speaking about the inspiration behind Esports Player, the band shares that the track has consistently been a crowd favorite during their live performances. The decision to feature it as the lead single from their upcoming EP stems from its undeniable allure and audience resonance.

Lead vocalist Jack Kwiecinski sheds light on the track’s evolution, revealing a creative process that spanned several years and took an unexpected turn during the pandemic. The lyrics, inspired by the social isolation brought about by the digital age, reflect on the bewilderment surrounding professional video gaming and the phenomenon of broadcasting gameplay for millions of followers.

Photo by Charlie Cummings

Kwiecinski explains, “I came up with the verse melody to Esports Player a few years ago when driving on the motorway in the dark. The original opening line I had was: ‘The streetlights run out; the cat’s eyes close’ (a play on the reflective studs on the motorway). I got home and recorded the verse melody over some chords played through a Rhodes plugin, then left it on the scrapheap of creative ideas. 

I revisited the track during the pandemic around the time that I was adjusting to working on Microsoft Teams and only interacting with people solely through screens and instant messenger. That’s how a theme developed around the social isolation created by the digital age. I’m also sort of bewildered by the idea of people playing video games as a professional sport or filming themselves in the act for their millions of followers…that’s where the title came from.

Having written and laid down all the parts at home, I recorded the vocals at ROFL Studios in Nottingham, which has now sadly closed. I then sent the files to Lee McCarthy & Ady Hall (Sugar House) to mix and produce remotely due to the pandemic restrictions at the time. It was a weird way of working, as I wasn’t present in the room for this part of the process, but that makes perfect sense with the song’s topic and how it makes me feel.”

The recording process itself mirrors the song’s thematic elements, with Jack recording vocals at ROFL Studios in Nottingham, which has since closed. Remote collaboration with Lee McCarthy & Ady Hall (Sugar House) for mixing and production became a fitting reflection of the song’s exploration of isolation in the digital age.

Since their live debut at Dot To Dot Festival in May 2023, The Cost of Loving has gained momentum, achieving daytime rotation on BBC Radio Nottingham and BBC Radio Leicester. Their presence on Spotify’s ‘We Are Nottingham’ playlist and support from Amazing Radio further solidify their growing influence. With new material in the pipeline, The Cost of Loving continues to evolve and captivate audiences as they build toward the release of their highly anticipated first full project.