After a yearlong hiatus, Julian Gervasi, aka Loco Tranquilo, is back with a new single, “Friendly Matter.” Imbued with gentle optimism, the catchy song shuffles along to a persistent upbeat with oceanic swells of immersive, mystical sweetness. Julian's lyrics weave together friendly affection, romance, and a desire to connect and care for each other. We got the chance to connect about the new song and talk about what makes a good friend, musical hugs, love based on friendship, and more!

Sometimes people can deprioritize friendship in favor of romantic relationships, or not realize that romantic connections can contain or be similar to a friendship. It sounds like your new song was inspired by reflections on "friendly" affection. Can you share some of your reflections on how friendship and romance relate to each other and/or why friendship is important?

From my own experience, I feel like I always rushed love in every romantic relationship I had and did not give myself the time to learn and enjoy the friendship element of it that is so important, I think, in order to build a strong and trusting connection with a partner. I wrote this song as a personal reminder that a romantic connection based on friendship can be also a great way to achieve a healthy and loving equilibrium between two.

What qualities make a good friend?

I think sincerity, empathy, loyalty, good humor and the ability to listen and support without judgement are the best qualities to make anybody a good friend.

Your songs include and inspire such beautiful optimism. They sometimes even sound like how a hug feels! How do you maintain your own positivity, especially during hard times?

That’s really nice of you to say! I do feel like I give myself and anybody enjoying my music a big musical hug! I think if I wasn’t able to get on my guitar anytime and start writing and singing about my feelings, thoughts and sensations, I wouldn’t be on this optimistic path that I feel I’m on most of the time. I do have sad days like everybody else but I believe music is a healing, safe environment, and that is where I go whenever I feel down.

Let's shout out some of your Bay Area musical friends! Can you share a few local artists that you're really excited about right now?

Bay area bands I’m enjoying lately: Marbled Eye, I just saw them recentl and they gave me Television vibes and I really dug it. Chokecherry, we played last year at The Chapel and it was sick. Those ladies can rock and it takes me back to the grunge era; they also produced by my current drummer whom I’ll be recording an EP with in April. Marika Christine, I think she is an angel and her indie pop/folk vibe really captivates me. We recently had a show together at The Chapelm and I can’t wait to see her and her band live again. Fake Fruit, big fan of them, saw and met them last year at Rickshaw Stop and they were sick, great musicians and really nice people.

"Friendly Matter" is out now, and Loco Tranquilo is playing Eli's Mile High Club on March 23 to celebrate its release.