williamsburg

VACANCES GOES BACK TO THE 80s
May 31, 2016 1:03 pm

Vacances (pronounced “Vacancies”) is a new band, but its members are not. Frontman Danny Lannon used to play in The Frail, vocalist Allen Davis was in Every Move A Picture, and Nic Gonzalez was the guitarist in The Restless Hearts. Think of them as a supergroup of sorts.

Now, these three gentlemen have united to bring us Vacances’ debut single, “Runaway,” a wave of 80’s goodness that’s perfect for dancing to on steamy summer nights. We shared some nice email correspondence with Danny to find out what’s next.

Congratulations on the release “Runaway.” Did you do anything special to celebrate?

Thanks! We’re pretty excited about it! We got together to write some music and ended the night with a trip to our fav free pizza bar, Charleston on Bedford. I think we’re still technically celebrating though, as we’ve been frequenting Rocka Rolla on Metropolitan Ave. The amount of “Low Lifes” (Miller High Life and Whiskey) we’ve ordered has been absolutely mental. Always a good time!

Is there something in particular you were looking to do with Vacances that you felt you couldn’t do with your past band?

Well, when I started writing songs that would eventually become Vacances songs I was just feeling something a little different. My old band was a bit more top 40 electro pop and I really loved a lot of bands like New Order, Joy Division, The Cure and modern acts like The Drums, The Pains of Being Pure At Heart, etc. So I guess I was trying to channel those influences and it didn’t end up sounding like it would fit the old band. So all in all, I was looking to write something that wasn’t as processed as previous songs and maybe had a bit more of dark-edge to it. We want to be gritty and glam. Pop and grunge. Electronic and analog. Darkness and rainbows. You get the idea 🙂

What was it like working with engineer Gus Oberg of The Strokes?

We went back and forth a little bit via an old bandmate but unfortunately never got to the final product. We’re big fans of The Strokes and love what Gus Oberg did with their records. So we’re hoping to work with him at some point down the line. We actually ended up working with my good friend and amazing producer Patrick Brown out of Different Fur Studios in San Francisco. He does amazing work and really brought these songs to a new level. We couldn’t be happier with how it turned out and that we were able to work with Pat and Allen on it.

There are so many bands based in Brooklyn. Is it difficult for you to create music you feel is unique?

To be honest we’re all new to Brooklyn, so for us its still a learning experience. We have a bunch of friends out here that we think are in amazing bands, like Rich Girls, High Waisted, Caveman, but like I said we’re still learning what its like to live here. But when it comes to writing we just try to write what we like and enjoy playing. We try not to think too much about how it needs to push boundaries or be crazy different. I think if we just stay true to what we want to do creatively and to ourselves that we’ll leave our stamp on whatever song we push out.

Who has the best pizza in the city?

Great question, I like Vinnie’s pizza. Our friend’s cousin works out of there and its down the street from Dan and I’s apt in Greenpoint. But we’re all for suggestions! Like we said before, you really can’t beat that free pizza from the Charleston paired with a shot of tequila and a Tecate!

Your Facebook page lists bands like New Order and INXS as “Artists We Also Like”. Can you recommend any new wave or 80s tracks that may be overlooked?

Let’s see that’s a tough one! But here we go! Fruits Of Passion – Love’s Glory, The Bodines – Heard It All, The Wake – On Our Honeymoon to name a few. We also like Ultravox, Visage, The Cat Club, Bamboo Industry, The Wild FlowersThe Luxure.

Are there any other aspects of the 80s you wish were more popular? Shoulder pads? Cocaine?

I’m not sure if anyone misses shoulder pads…haha. However, we all remember growing up in the late 80’s and 90’s and loved the fact that the internet was only an emerging technology. We somewhat romanticize a world without smartphones, the internet, which felt more free and full of rich experiences. Don’t get me wrong, we all love technology, but we long for a way to get back to simpler times.

What are your plans for the summer?

We definitely have plans to tour. We’re working on some East Coast routing right now but hope to be hitting the road early July through the rest of the summer. We’re also looking at a West Coast tour in the fall. Getting a sweet base tan at the Rockaways is also on the agenda…goths at the beach?

OSCAR’S ALL RIGHT
March 28, 2016 12:15 pm

Fresh from performing six shows at SXSW, Oscar is continuing to charm America with Monday night’s appearance at Baby’s All Right.

ATYPICAL SOUNDS sat down with the extremely well-dressed and exceedingly well-spoken musician, had a nice chat, and enjoyed 20 short minutes of relaxation before having to get up and continue being awesome.

oscar_albumOS: We’ve got some nice salsa music going on.

This is actually infinitely better than the music they usually play in this front area. You just came from SXSW. Did you fly in yesterday?

OS: Yeah, we left Austin at about 5:00 in the morning, and we got in to New York at about 2 in the afternoon.

That was me this morning.

OS: Did you just come from there?

Yeah.

OS: How do you feel?

How do you feel? Probably about the same.

OS: Yesterday was tough. I’m glad we didn’t play a show yesterday.

I don’t know how bands tour. How do you do it?

OS: With a lot of passion.

You did two official SXSW shows, did you do any others?

OS: We did one at the college dorm we were staying at on Pearl St., and then we did one for Culture Collide at Container Bar, which was really fun. We did one for Urban Outfitters, and we did one for Music for Listeners, which is a blog run by a radio station. We did six altogether.

Did you have any interesting experiences?

OS: There were a few people who knew the words for a lot of the songs, which is always really cool to see. At the last show we did, which was for Urban Outfitters, my pedalboard just stopped working, one of my guitar leads just died on me. It was really sad, but then I was like, “I can’t freak out, I’ve just got to keep playing.”, and eventually I just had to go straight in to the amp with the lead and it was ok.

I know the pedals are what make the guitar sound, you know, good.

OS: I know, otherwise it’s so dry.

What did you think of the weather in Austin? First it was oppressively hot, and then it was cold and nasty the rest of the week.

OS: It kind of reminded me of being home in London. Although London’s not ever that hot, the weather is so changeable. So it felt a bit more like home, but with more barbecued food and craziness.

You’re touring with Bloc Party in May and June throughout the U.S. That’s going to be fun, right? 

OS: It’ll be really fun. We did three shows with them in Europe, and they went really well. They’re great guys and girls, and I think it’s going to be great. It’s great playing for a big audience like that because it’s such a thrill.

And your album will be out by then as well. I have it now, because I know people…like your PR manager…who sent me your album.

OS: Hey, check you.

One thing that stood out to me about your SXSW profile is it makes a point of mentioning how you “studied sculpture at Saint Martin’s”. Other musicians from London I’ve spoken to sort of roll their eyes at Britpop because it’s not really cool there anymore, which is sad because I’m a big Pulp fan.

OS: Yeah, me too.

Is Britpop something that has influenced you at all?

OS: I think part of the background to my upbringing was all kicking off when I was a young ‘un. So it definitely would’ve soaked in somewhere and I listened equally to Oasis and to Blur as a kid. And then I got really into Britpop, and rediscovered it when I had more of an idea of what music was. Britpop was such a great moment for British culture and music, it was really exciting to see independently made music in the charts, I don’t think that would happen again. It was music made by people who had real character and a real message.

What led you to study sculpture?

OS: I went to like, 7 or 8 different schools. I ended up at a school which focused on art a lot, the arts really. So I was trained in a way to think about creation and education like that. And so I ended up applying for art school because it was the next logical step for me. I didn’t want to do music school because I was worried that it would kill the mystery and the romance of making music, and so I wanted to stay a little bit naïve. Which I think I did. So then I went to art school and I studied everything. It was a degree, so it was sculpture, drawing, painting. I tried it all out to see what was going on and what would work for me. I actually ended up doing lots of sound art; installation and sound sculpting if you had to give it a name. It just brought me straight back to music, which I had been studying and playing since I was six years old.

Is there anything you’d like people to know about your debut album before it’s released in May?

OS: I guess just to expect a variety of music that’s not all one style. It’s kind of like looking inside my head and seeing how many different things are going on, and how many different moods and cultures and genres there are going on inside my head.

Which song do you like performing the best?

OS: I love to perform “Sometimes”, because I get to jump around and be stupid. I also equally love to perform “Stay”, which was on the EP, because that one is the most emotional in the set.

Was it your idea to do a music video for “Sometimes”? So few musicians are doing music videos anymore.

OS: It kind of throws it back to the Britpop thing, because the 90’s promo was pretty fun and exciting. It really put the focus on something that wasn’t all about the audio. I think it’s nice to give someone something to look at as well as listen to. It wasn’t my idea to do the music video, but it was kind of a given since we had a single coming out.

[gestures to Oscar’s Yankees jacket]

Do you follow baseball?

OS: No. I do not, but I do love the iconography, and I like the fashion of it.

I also noticed you wear a lot of Mickey Mouse stuff. Is that something that has significance to you?

OS: I just like playing around with pop culture iconography. I think it’s like pop art; it’s fun, and it’s instant, it’s a good time. The first video game I played (which I wasn’t supposed to play, I wasn’t allowed video games growing up), but when my mom and dad split up, my dad had a Playstation, so I would secretly play that. And I played Steamboat Willie, so maybe there’s some deep connection there. There are some things you need to remember and hold dear.

What are your favorite places in London to listen to music?

OS: That’s a good question. I think on the bus and the train are really good places to listen to music. Often, if I’m halfway between finishing a track or making a demo, I’ll stop and go for a walk or go see a friend, and use that journey to passively listen to something, because it does change the context of everything and makes you realize, “Oh, maybe I should change the key of it, or it needs to be faster”. So I think transport is good, public transport. I also think listening to music in the park is really nice, because it’s sunny (it never is). And at home in my bedroom is probably my favorite place, because you can listen to it loud. And maybe dance around a bit. Or a lot.

Are there any venues or club nights you like? Where should I go when I’m in London?

OS: Village Underground is great. It’s quite a big one, it’s like 800-900 capacity, that’s really good. If you’re looking for a dive bar vibe, then somewhere like Moth Club or the 100 Club is pretty good. The Lexington is a nice one too, if you want to drink and they have really good gigs upstairs.

Do you have any last words before going onstage tonight?

OS: Blimey. I don’t think so.

Don’t trip when you go up the stairs to get onto the stage.

OS: Don’t do that, enjoy yourself, not that I have to tell myself that because it’s always so much fun.

EZTV: FROM BROOKLYN WITH LOVE
February 28, 2016 11:26 pm

If you caught Martin Courtney of Real Estate on his most recent tour, you also had the pleasure of being introduced to Brooklyn band EZTV. The band has gained many new fans in the last couple of months, thanks in part to their performances with Courtney, plus appearances with bands including Milk ’N’ Cookies, Expert Alterations, and Mercury Girls.

ATYPICALSOUNDS caught up with Ezra Tenenbaum (vocals/guitar), Shane O’Connell (bass) and Michael Stasiak (drums) to find out where they’re coming from, and where they’re planning to go.

eztv2

You recently toured with Martin Courtney. Was that your first time touring with another artist?

MS: No, it wasn’t our first time. We toured last summer with Jacco Gardner. The road has been great, one of the best things was touring with Nic Hessler.

ET: After collaborating on a 7″ (coming out for RSD 2016), we decided to fly [Nic] out from California for this tour. We play one of his songs “Please Don’t Break Me” and had someone come up to us after a show saying they’d been waiting years to hear that song live. He’s never played on the East Coast, so it’s great we could bring him.

You opened for Milk ‘N’ Cookies at the release party for their box set in January. As fans of Milk ’N’ Cookies, how does something like that compare to headlining your own show? Do you have a preference?

MS: Milk ‘N’ Cookies are special because they don’t play live often. So when they do, they really throw themselves into putting on the best show possible. Headlining has its own rewards. There’s pressure to perform in a different way than when you’re opening.

You released Calling Out, your debut LP, in 2015. Is there anything you learned while recording, or anything you would have done differently if given the chance?

SO: There were definitely some growing pains and learning involved in putting out a first record, but we’re generally really happy with it. Number one lesson—use more optical compressors.

One of things I like about your sound is that it’s hard to tell which decade you’re from. Is that intentional, or is it a result of your collective tastes in music?

MS: Both. Guitar music is always going to be tied to the past. We draw influence from bands in every decade since electric guitar became popular.

What are your favorite venues in New York for seeing live music?

MS: I miss the Williamsburg venues like 285 Kent, Glasslands and Death By Audio that have closed. Palisades is a pretty special spot that has a bit of that feeling to it and it’s nice that Market Hotel has reopened.

Ezra, I know EZTV grew out of a solo project you had been working on. Was it hard at first to include other musicians on something that up until that point had been only yours?

ET: I’ve been playing music with Shane for the last 6 years or so and Michael is a very intuitive drummer. Collaborating always entails a lot of compromise, but I think we have pretty complimentary sensibilities when it comes to songwriting.

Do you usually write together as a group, or is it more of a solitary thing that you then share with the rest of the band?

ET: I’ll usually write a song and make a demo at home with a drum machine and 8-track. Then we’ll take it and arrange it as a band; sometimes the song changes drastically, other times it ends up very similar to the original idea. It depends, but sometimes they get more attached to the original version than I do.

What are your plans for the remainder of 2016? More touring?

MS: Working on our new record! We’re going to be producing it ourselves this time at the studio Shane works at in Greenpoint, and asking some friends to sit in. We’re going to hold off on more touring until we’ve finished.

MILAN TO MINSK TO MERCURY LOUNGE: EP RELEASE
February 26, 2016 10:15 am

Brooklyn based indie art-pop act Milan to Minsk were out this past Tuesday night to release their debut self-titled
EP at Mercury Lounge. The show brought life and color to an otherwise grey and rainy New York City day. Opening the night was Gobbinjr and a particularly energetic set by atmospheric indie rock band Isadora.

DPP_017Milan to Minsk are a special case of Brooklyn indie rock – a rare combination of classically trained and jazz musicians who initially met within the musical community of Tel Aviv, Israel. The bond is clear in the tightness of their unique sound. A sound which has a definite 90’s influence, with the sophistication of Coltrane, the obscurity of Bowie, and a possibly unhealthy obsession with Sting. The musicality of Milan to Minsk’s rhythm/horn section, coupled with the intellectual yet humorous songwriting of lead singer Daniel Rote is absolutely a show worth seeing.

While the band lacks the visibility that some of the Brooklyn indie scene has garnished, their style remains true to the DIY, community oriented ethos that defines the bushwick neighborhood music scene. It’s a humble approach to an at times vanity filled, ego driven scene which seems to forget about the music.

If true creativity, musicality and originality is something that you have been missing in your musical consumption as of late, then the Beasts highly suggest you take a listen to the brand new Milan to Minsk EP and make sure to check them out at an upcoming show. You can find the dates here.

YOKO ONO STILL HAS THE MAGIC
February 24, 2016 11:34 am

Yes, I’m a Witch Too,” proclaims multi-media artist Yoko Ono with her latest release – A full length collaborative effort LP released for streaming through Manimal Group. Perhaps Ono’s later in life effort will finally be enough to rid her of her Beatles home-wrecker label.

The fact is, Yoko Ono is a genius of a soul in her own right. If it hasn’t been fully recognized yet, the sheer originality which she brings to the modern soundscape with her latest release is enough to magically transport one back to the culturally revolutionary days of the late 60’s and early 70’s.

However, there are some very noticeable differences from Yoko’s days in the Plastic Ono Band. Ono has embraced the modern virtual world, releasing her largely electronic songs digitally and equally embracing the social media platforms which she now uses as just one more vehicle for her creativity and expression.

The Album is a sonically eclectic mix of avant-garde expressionism, drawing on collaborations with everyone from Moby, to Portugal! The Man, to tUnE-yArDs, to Miike Snow. She even sits down for a song with her son Sean Lennon. A personal favorite is her punk inspired “Move On Fast” with New York City producer Jack Douglas. Lyrical content is fittingly spell-binding, losing it’s listener in obscurity and symbolism.

PALMAS: INTO THE VALLEY
February 22, 2016 11:39 pm

Friday night I went over to Union Pool to interview Palmas and see their show. I was first greeted by Matt Young (guitarist) and Kurt Cain (vocalist), and both greeted me with immense smiles and vibrant energy. Soon after, Pat Degan (drummer) and Eric Camarota (guitarist) joined passing jokes at each other as they approached. Within a minute of meeting Pat, he exclaims, “I just took the roughest shot of tequila of my life.” Lastly, came Adam Cantiello (guitarist) savagely stuffing his face with elote. Kurt jokingly yells at him, “There’s a lady present, geez, no shame.” OH, by the way, if you were wondering what elote is, it’s corn with mayonnaise and chili powder aka one of the best foods in the world….. but I digress.

Standing in a circle outside underneath a heat lamp, beers in hand, we begin the interview below.

How did you decide on the band name?

Kurt: So we chose the name Palmas… it’s hard to answer this because at the time we had a different name and we were changing our name and we were looking for something a little bit more representative of us, a little bit more summery feeling. Palmas means palms in Spanish. We also wanted to be a little bit mysterious. We didn’t want it to be a name where everyone would know what it meant right off the bat. I like certain band names that are a little bit elusive. It felt right for the music that we were playing it has a little exotic vibe—something not of the Philadelphia area where we’re from.

How did the band form?

Matt: We’ve all known each other for a very long time. We’ve all been in bands when we were younger and we all kind of knew of each other. Adam and I had just been talking for a while about being in a band and Eric and I were talking about working together in some capacity.

Kurt: We were all tired of making shitty music. So we wanted to make a good band.

Matt: I lived in California for a little bit when this kinda started happening and I moved back and we were like “hey, let’s do it, let’s start a band.” Adam knew Pat, I knew Kurt. Not to sound cliché but it really started out of the friendship of we all just really enjoy playing music let’s get together and play.

Pat (talking to Matt): I think you nailed that one.

I notice that Matt lives in Brooklyn but it says the band is from Philly– how do you guys make that work being from two different cities?

Matt:  Adam actually lives in California right now. Generally, I take the bus to Philly every weekend right now and I know it sounds kind of crazy but it works out. Adam was in Philadelphia up until five months ago. We’ve made it work. We send demos back and forth. We send Adam our ideas that we work on together and he gets to put in his input. He sends us ideas from where he’s at and work on his ideas.

 Kurt: Yeah you know it’s 2016. (pauses) Vote for Bernie.

Matt: Yeah we just use the internet to make it work, you know? We also just found ourselves in a fortunate situation before he moved that we had a lot of songs already written so it wasn’t like we were desperate for new material. He flies back to play with us.

*I turn to ask Adam if he ever plans to move back to Philly or New York and why he left to begin with. The boys heckle him and laugh saying, “Can we get this on the record?” “How long do you plan on this sham?”*

Adam: My day job brought me out there and my lady and I moved. I think that there’s a possibility that I can be back on the East Coast at some point.

Kurt: Or we all move to the West Coast.

Who are you guys listening to right now? Who are you inspired by musically?  

Kurt: Right now we’re listening to this band called Harumi.

Adam: It’s like 60’s psychedelic and kind of started the whole psych thing. Stumbled upon this band and we’ve been obsessed with it lately.

Matt: Kurt also got us all into The Zombies and they’re one of my favorite bands recently. We got this really amazing opportunity to meet them and interview them and it was like this whole thing. Now that we’re recording I keep finding myself saying well what would they do?

Kurt: I mean, obviously we love the Beach Boys. I mean every time we listen to something that they do it’s like we find something new. I think you can definitely hear that in some of the stuff we put out and some of the stuff we’re going to put out.

Matt: I mean, the Beach Boys they were just one of the original pioneers of experimenting in the studio, you know? They started out as like a bubble gum pop band and then they started doing different stuff and I think we’re super influenced by both aspects out of that—when they were a pop band and when they were experimental and started adding new sounds. I think we would really love to find a mix of that. Pop songs but with intricate arrangements, you know?

Anyone else?

Kurt: Nancy Sinatra definitely.

Matt: Also more modern bands. We all love The Growlers. They’re one of our favorite bands. La Luz is another one. And then also this may be an unconventional answer but we’re super influenced by Quentin Tarantino movies and his soundtracks. In some of his newer movies he has a lot of hip hop and R&B type stuff but in a lot of his movies it’s western meets surf. That’s kind of what we would love to accomplish.

Kurt: (jokingly) If you say Quentin Tarantino enough he’ll call us up.

palmas2

What made you come up with the album title To The Valley?

Adam: When we first started this band we were always bouncing ideas around. Band names, song names, and I feel like the things that come the most naturally are when we’re not stressing out over things kind of fits really well. To The Valley has a line in one of our songs that’s on the E.P Better Guy. I think it was just one of those things where it was tossed around and it seemed to fit and we all liked it. You know to have five guys agree on one thing right off the bat is (laughs) kind of monumental.

Kurt: At the time Adam was moving to California and it was kind of like… to the valley.

Adam: I live in Long Beach. You know, represent Snoop Dog, LBC.

Do you have a favorite song on the album?

Matt: “Take My Hand” is definitely my favorite song.

Pat: “Take My Hand”

Adam: “Better Guy” or “I Want To Know.”

Kurt: “I Want To Know.”

What is your music making process?  

Matt:  I think there’s two ways that this happens. The first way is that either Adam, myself or Eric come up with a riff and then from there the song builds. Kurt has a lot of ideas on where to take it. Or the second option where Kurt as a singer comes in and is like I have this idea for a song and I’m thinking it should be this style and then we go from there.

Kurt: It comes from a riff most of the time.

Matt: Yeah, most of the time it’s like we were screwing around at home on guitar and I came up with this little part. What can we take from this little part to make a full song? I think we find in our process when we’re trying to write a song. I’m going to quote Eric here, Eric is just always like, “You know, when we try to force a song it doesn’t get written.” Or it gets written and we don’t like it. The ones that work for us are the ones that…it just comes out of nowhere. It just happens. Kurt will just start and singing and okay that’s it. You know?

palmas3Who is the main writer?

Matt: When it comes to the riff parts like I said it’s either Eric, Adam or myself and then Kurt takes that and really kind of sculpts the idea. It’s like we’re the colors and he’s like the paint brush.

Pat: And I’m Bob Ross.

Everyone dies with laughter.

Matt: And Pat throws down the beat. You know, it just works.

Pat: And it’s awesome.

What has been the biggest challenge for your band?

Matt: Recently, it would be Adam moving to California. I think we just want to continue to improve ourselves. We’ve been a band just about a year now and for some reason people are liking us. But that was easy to do because we started from blank there was nothing to compare to what we had previously done. Now it’s we’ve got to be better. We’re challenging ourselves.

Kurt: Also, I think what’s difficult is once you enter the industry, you know, all we want to do is write songs and put out music. We would put out music tomorrow if we could. But once you’re in the game it’s like you have to wait on different things and now we have direction from people and so it’s tough knowing which road. There’s a million roads you could take and it’s like what road do we take? I think that’s been our biggest challenge right now. We’re looking for the right people to guide us.

Matt: Also, Palmas, us as musicians it’s the five of us but Palmas as a team is like ten people now. It’s a lot of behind the scenes people wanting—their best intentions but sometimes the opinion isn’t the same. It’s all just trying to figure out how to work together. That’s been an adjustment for us.

Kurt: It’s new for us you know having management. But honestly, every step we’ve taken has been a step forward thus far so we just want to continue doing that.

Pat: There’s good work ethic. We have good work ethics.

Kurt: We push each other too.

Adam: And we make the most of my time here. We really pack the weekends and the time is spent rehearsing, writing or playing shows or doing interviews. You know, as much as we possibly can.

Kurt: The ultimate goal would be a full length record with a producer that we would just dream of working with. Which, right now as a young band you just don’t have the budget to do that. So our dream would be to have that budget and have the means to make the record of our dreams.

Palmas albumIf you were stuck on an island and only had one record to listen to what would it be?

Matt: Blue Hawaii– Elvis

Adam: The Beatles- Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band

Pat: Doors Greatest Hits

Kurt: Beach Boys- Pet Sounds but I might go with Beach Boys Greatest Hits. I mean, you’re stuck on an island…you want to listen to that kind of music you know?

Eric: Creedence Clear Water Revival’s Greatest Hits

Matt: Can I change mine to NOW THAT’S WHAT I CALL MUSIC 3?!

After the interview, we went inside so they could prepare for their show. In love with their personalities and passion, I was curious to hear their music and watch them perform. Once the show began I was in a trance, unable to stop swaying my body and moving my feet. Palmas was brilliant. These guys could have toured around with The Beatles or The Beach Boys if they wanted to. Their sound was perfect and their moves were mesmerizingly in sync. I heard a girl in the crowd say, “Oh wow. This is kind of like doo-wop” And she was right. These boys, born in the millennial generation, are bringing a taste of fresh nostalgia for a time we only dream about…a time that happens to mesh perfectly with the modern indie music world.

Needless to say, Palmas is just fucking awesome. I left the show feeling inspired and grateful for the chance to have met this hilarious, driven, inspired and original band. Obviously, any band that likes corn with mayonnaise and aggressive tequila shots is a win win in my book. Their new E.P Into The Valley is available now! I guarantee it will make you want to go out, get a vinyl record player and lay by the beach.

BEVERLY GOES BIG
February 8, 2016 12:24 pm

Beverly killed it again on Friday, this time for a packed crowd at Baby’s All Right in Brooklyn. ATYPICAL SOUNDS scored some quality time before the show with vocalist/guitarist Drew Citron and guitarist Scott Rosenthal to find out why 2016 will be their most exciting year yet.

You just released the video for “Victoria,” the second single off your new album, which was co-written by Kip Berman from The Pains of Being Pure at Heart. Can you talk a little bit about…

Scott sneaks over.

SR: Sorry, don’t mind me.

DC: Come talk in the recording machine.

How are you doing tonight?

SR: We’re playing a show, I play guitar. What are you doing tonight?

Interviewing you guys. Anyway, “Victoria” was co-written by Kip.

DC: It was fun because it was kind of the same way master sculptors take a block of marble and chip away and the sculpture reveals itself. Kip gave us something that was pretty much done, and then we chipped away at it, and started over and over. It was a process of elimination to make the song something that we liked. It was really fun, ’cause we never work like that. The parts that were something we could get behind as we chipped away to create something that was from us. It was a real collaboration.

How do you usually write? Do you jam together, or do each of you work alone?

DC: Noooooo we never jam! We jam a lot. We play Everly Brothers songs together and sing and mess around and do covers all the time. I think for writing, we’re very solitary and you have to develop in your incubator by yourself. I’ll write a melody and a chord progression and be really excited about it and then we’ll finish it together. It’s a solitary thing, I think.

What are your favorite songs to cover?

DC: We’re doing a special cover tonight, which you’ll find out about later.

SR: We’re using two drummers, which is something that we’ve always fantasized about.

DC: I’m really obsessed with The Concert for Bangladesh, the George Harrison performance with two drummers. It’s the best video on the internet besides Bed Intruder. And I want to make that happen tonight.

SR: The song we’re doing is like an unfinished demo, or it sounds to my ears like an unfinished demo. It kind of runs together, or maybe it’s just intended to sound that way. I’m really excited cause I’ve never played drums with another drummer before. We did it in rehearsal and I expected it to be a nightmare, but it was so easy and it sounded so good.

What can you tell me about your new album?

DC: I really like it. I’m really proud of it, I’m really proud of the new songs. It sounds great, we worked our asses off.

SR: There are certain properties of records that happen before you know how to make a record. You go in with some producer, and lay down parts to a click track. And at the end of recording, you’re like “Oh, it doesn’t sound as crazy or as serious as I hoped it would.” But after you’ve failed a couple of times, you start to pick up on these very subtle things that are absolutely crucial to preserve if you want a great record at the end.

And you gain technical skills as well.

SR: Exactly. There are certain things that you do really need to concentrate on and edit from a technical standpoint. And it’s crucial; the more you do, the better your record gets. Certain other elements, like the more you work on it and the more you edit it, the way you compress it, the worse your record gets. So I think the art of producing is figuring out what is making a record worse and what’s making it better, and when we listen to this record, we thought we preserved almost all of what made it special and none of what had been sloppy.

 

Does [founding member] Frankie Rose still have any input in the band?

DC: No, she and I started the project together and she left before we started touring. So she’s not involved at all, although we wrote the first album together.

After this, you’re going to SXSW and then Europe.

DC: I know, I’m so excited.

Is this your first time at SXSW?

DC: No, it’s my millionth time, but it’s my first time with Beverly so I’m really excited. Our live lineup sounds great right now and I feel really proud to show what we have going on, as you may see tonight.

IMG_5586What are your favorite venues in Austin?

DC: I think the new Cheer Up Charlie’s is really awesome. I went two years ago when they moved it to more in the center of town. There’s an outdoor stage that has this really beautiful backdrop, with lights that are kind of projected on this white rock. It’s a beautiful stage, and the inside sounds really good too.

And then you’re going to Manchester, Paris, and Brussels?

DC: Yeah, we’re doing a little bit of a European tour.

You’ll have to report back on what exactly is in Brussels besides waffles, chocolate, and jewelry.

DC: I’ve never done anything in Belgium besides go into a venue and sit in the green room, and then play a show. I don’t know what happens there. I walked to get a croissant, I think. It felt like France. I mean, you go on tour and you really only see the venue, and then you go to a restaurant that they recommend. So there’s not a lot of downtime, you’re just driving around and playing shows.

SR: What happens is, the van is your life. Like you’re in the van and you get deeply, emotionally involved with podcasts or a playlist. You get involved with Serial, or This American Life, or Snap Judgement and that’s it, basically.

DC: We had a good time on our last tour of London, because we kind of had a home base. We have good friends there, so it was fun.

SR: It was nice. And the one thing we did that could be useful information for other bands, is that everyone gets a tour manager when you go to Europe, or especially England because everyone drives on the left side of the road. But once you drive on the left side of the road for more than 20 minutes, it’s so easy and intuitive.

DC: We kind of bossed it on this last tour, because you usually waste so much money just getting someone who can drive you and manage the tour. I mean, I toured before there was wifi everywhere, so you needed someone who knew what they were doing, but you don’t need that anymore. You can Google Map it, and you’re fine. We drove through a serious snowstorm on the M1 outside of Glasgow in the middle of the night, and I was freaking out. And that wasn’t cool, I would’ve preferred to have a driver. Other than that, we kind of nailed it.

You’re originally from San Francisco, right? Scott, are you from here?

SR: I’m from New Jersey, in Bergen County.

Drew, did you move to New York to be a musician, or was it for school?

DC: I moved to New York for school, and I just stayed. I went to NYU and studied Experimental Theater.

What did you do for your thesis?

DC: My senior thesis was a show that I wrote about Rembrandt. It was a musical, called Rembrandt the Musical. I wrote all the music and I choreographed it, and it was a masterpiece.

…You graduated, right?

DC: Barely. I had to convince them that my show was drawing on the things I had learned and the texts we had studied. And I was like, “It’s like Charles Ludlam and the Theater of the Ridiculous.” I had to go to meetings to convince them that it was ok to do this, and have it be applicable toward me graduating. It worked, I conned my way to having the time of my life with my best friends.

Scott, what did you study?

SR: I studied music, but I bounced around between a couple of different schools. Finally, I ended up at NYU. I did a semester in London at Goldsmiths University and that was really amazing. I went there because my favorite guitarist is Graham Coxon from Blur. He’s the best. So basically I went there because I was like, “Well if he went there, then I should go there too.” Then, I met my best friend there, because he went there for the exact same reason.

Are your parents musical? Drew, I know you were taught to play guitar by your dad.

DC: My parents do actually play in a band together, they do Eagles covers and the like. I can’t wait to play in a band when I’m 65.

What can your fans expect from you in the next couple of months?

DC: I’m hoping that people will hear the new record, and love it as much as I do. I hope that it connects to at least one person.

BACKSTAGE WITH BROTHERTIGER
February 5, 2016 1:00 pm

It’s Saturday night and I’m at Rough Trade in Williamsburg. It’s about three hours before Brothertiger is set to play, and I find him onstage assembling his equipment. He shakes my hand and invites me backstage, and I do my best to keep my cool. I’m nervous–I’ve been a fan of his for awhile now–but I remain calm and follow him up and around the stage into a narrow, well-lit, concrete green-room. He offers me a beer–he likes beer too, can you believe it?!–and we sit down to chat.

“You mind if I record this?” I ask, recording this. He doesn’t mind.

“Excited about tonight? Gonna have a good show?”

“Yeah of course. I haven’t played in about a month though so I’m a little nervous.”

I’ve seen him live twice before, once at Webster Hall and once here at Rough Trade. “This is kind of old-hat for you, playing here?”

“Yeah, if I’m gonna play a show a month after touring this is where it’s gonna be. I love playing here, it’s an amazing sounding room. It’ll be a fun night.”

“Has there ever been a point where you felt like you had ‘made it’ somehow?”

“No, I definitely don’t think I’ve made it. I mean, my previous two records I put out on a label, and the first one was really awesome with a lot of hype, built up and stuff, but then the second one was kinda ‘eh,’ so that’s what made me want to make this third one on my own. Good press for me is really a big factor, you can get a lot more plays based off that.”

A man enters with a plate of hummus and pita bread. Standard procedure? I’m impressed. We continue without eating.

“But yeah, I mean I’m always reminded that I shouldn’t stop. I’m the kind of person who is always second guessing myself, and with this last record I was really nervous about it because I was doing it myself, and I was like ‘how am I gonna do this as well as it was on the label?’ But getting good press, seeing that there’s a response from people, that’s to me why I haven’t quit.”

“But do you think about quitting or the eventual end?”

“Right now no. There’s this constant battle like ‘is this the right decision? Is this dumb? Lame? I shouldn’t be doing this, what am I doing?’ But then I’ll play a good show or release an album people like and I’m okay. I don’t see it ending anytime soon. I want to expand it, more than anything. Build on it.”

That’s good to hear, as a fan. I add my two cents: “I think the new album does sound different, but like better and thicker and stuff.”

“Yeah, I mean that was the goal. I didn’t want it to sound like typical electronic stuff.”

“It all flows together well. How long did it take?”

He looks to the ceiling for his memory. “We started it at the beginning of last year–“

“Who’s we?”

“Me and my friend Jon who works at a studio with me. He’s an awesome punk/rock producer, so he comes from that background, but the two of us have worked together a lot and it’s always been really interesting. He co-produced it with me. I had all these demos and everything was sequenced out, we booked four days at this studio in Bed-Stuy, and then we spent about three weeks mixing it. So it was done around late March.”

“Of last year?!” That sandbagging son-of-a-bitch! “You were just sitting on it for nine months?!”

“Yeah I was sitting on it. I was seeing if there was potential for another label to pick it up, but finally I got sick of just waiting around, so I was like ‘screw it, I’ll release it myself.'”

“And it’s harder to get a crowd pumped if they haven’t heard it yet.”

“Yeah, that’s the problem. I never really played the new stuff until the tour with JR JR.”

I have to ask: “What are they like?”

“Very cool dudes from Detroit. We had quite a different vibe musically. I think it was a really cool blend, and they wanted me to come. They asked me to come on their tour which was very cool.”

“That must feel great.”

“Yeah it’s a really amazing feeling. I mean they’re on a big label with Warner Brothers, man. But yeah, they have this cool pop sound that’s really striking and different from me. It was really beneficial, I think I got a lot of new fans out of it, but some people were definitely like ‘whoa, this is interesting.'”

The hummus man returns, this time with chips and salsa. It looks delicious, but totally ruins our conversational flow. I change the subject.

“So, why here? Why New York?”

“So I’m originally from Ohio. I went to school for recording in Ohio. I moved here because I had previously interned here at a recording studio. Basically they said that I should move out here, they can give me work, and that I could actually live there too because it’s like an apartment/loft with the studio. So I lived there, which was great.”

“At that point were you aware of your goals to be a headliner? Or just a producer?”

This one takes him a minute. “Well, not to be a headliner–I still don’t see myself as a headliner–but I knew I wanted to produce other people and also make music myself, and this is the best place for me to do that. So I did it and I’ve been here for about three years.”

“You ever get tired of New York?”

“Yeah all the time. I went on tour in October and I was gone for about a month and a half, and I took my friend who did sound for me. So it was just the two of us in this little Toyota Camry. We put twelve thousand miles on it.”

He’s gesturing as if there’s a map in front of him, but there is not. I make do. “Like in the Midwest and stuff?”

“Everywhere, the whole country. Well, except Texas.”

“Fuck Texas.”

“I know right? But yeah, the whole time I was thinking ‘man I fucking hate New York.’ I knew it was just because I was away and on this amazing experience touring, but I got back here and was like “God I just don’t wanna be here.’ But then after a week or two I was like ‘okay, this isn’t that bad.'”

“Like ‘this is where my fans are, so…'”

“Yeah, I mean I draw pretty well here and in a few other cities around the country.”

“What’s your other favorite city?”

“Well, Denver has been really good to me. My manager is from there. We met when he booked me on this festival out there, and I’ve been playing it for the past three years. I kind of half-convinced him to move to New York, and now he’s booking this new venue here and it all worked out. But yeah, Denver has always been a really good show, I like Denver, LA, New York…”

“Those are some solid cities, that’s awesome. So let’s talk about your music a little bit. How do you start writing a song? Start with the beat? Start with the melody?”

“Yeah, you know I was just asking myself the other day, ‘how do I come up with this shit?'” We laugh that one off for a minute, then he continues. “It always depends. Like sometimes it’ll start out with drums, I’ll get a drum loop going and then just play some chords or something. Or I’ll have a melody in my head or some lead or something and I’ll build around that. It really depends on the song. I usually do have a melody or a beat or a hook in mind that I’ll want to record quickly and build around. But I never set out being like ‘I’m gonna write a song about this.'”

“Well do you even think about the lyrics while you’re writing the music? Or that comes dead last.”

“Yeah, that’s the very last thing. I just read Brian Eno’s biography, and there was one thing that really hit home for me about how he wrote his lyrics. He would go into the studio and loop a section and just speak gibberish into a microphone, and then kind of work that until the consonants and all the sounds made sense and sounded good with the melody, and then form words around that, something that makes half-sorta sense. And that’s exactly how I do it.”

“Must have been good to read that in this book, from this legend.”

“Yeah, I thought I was one of the only people on Earth to do that, but the fact that he does–and he’s one of my biggest influences–it was just like ‘whoa man, fuck yeah!'” 

“Do you use Ableton?”

“Yeah, Ableton is my main thing for sequencing and building a song, but then I’ll mix it in Pro Tools. But yeah, onstage is Ableton. I got my two controllers hooked up to Ableton with a synth and drum pad.”

“How much of it is there already and you just press play, and how much of it are you actually doing?” 

“Yeah, I have it all sectioned out, the parts of each song, so I trigger stuff. But if I don’t trigger it, it stops. So there’s work involved, but it’s essentially just a bunch of loops, like the length of a verse or something. And I can modulate each track if I want to, which I do. But a lot of it’s there, ready to go, because…”

“…because you’re singing up there too, right?”

“Yeah, I mean if I had a band, and I did it that way, yeah I could definitely take away a lot of it from Ableton.”

“You could just press play, you know. It’d be a lot easier.”

“I could, and I know a lot of people who literally just have an ipod and sing on top of it.”

“But that’s not who you’re trying to be.”

“No, I try to make it interesting for myself. I try to break up a song in a certain way to make it fun for me to play, to make it to where I can change it up on every show. But yeah, pretty much everything is already recorded, broken up song-by-song, and it’s like this giant grid mess of colors.”

“So your show is never the same every night?”

“No, no it’s not. In fact tonight I’m even playing a new song. At the very beginning, no less.” We laugh. Why would he do that to himself?! “I’m just gonna wing it and we’ll see what happens. If it sucks, it sucks.”

I’m getting toward the end of my cheat-sheet, but we’re having so much fun I just have to extend the conversation.

“What are you listening to these days? What do you listen to when you’re walking around the street or whatever?”

He thinks about this for a moment. “There’s this guy, and I don’t even know how to say his last name, but I’ve been listening to him constantly. He’s this ambient dude who used to be in the band Emeralds named Steve Hauschildt.” This last name is a doozie. We try to pronounce it, fail, but continue anyway. “He’s got this really awesome ambient album that I’ve been listening to religiously. I’m also pretty obsessed with the 80’s though. Tears For Fears all the time–I’m actually working on a cover album for Tears For Fears, doing the entire thing, so I’m just listening to it always like ‘oh I should do that, oh I should do that, etc.'”

“Wow, that feeds perfectly into my next question; ‘what was the best decade to be alive for music?'”

“Oh my God,” he begins, clearly having thought hard already about this exact question. “The 1980’s, specifically 1984-1985. If you could be 18 years old in 1984…”

“Wow, you really had that answer ready.”

“It was the greatest year in pop music. Like in the UK, and with new-wave American bands, Talking Heads, all that stuff. Just an amazing little era right there. 1984 is my favorite year and I didn’t even live in it.”

“You do that Talking Heads cover of ‘This Must Be The Place.’ Why? What made you do that?”

“Well, because it’s my favorite song of all time. I don’t remember why exactly I decided to cover it, but I think I had the idea in my mind for a few years. I tried it a few times and it didn’t work, but finally I got it to sound decent and just released it. So now I have it, and it’s a great thing to play at shows because everybody knows it and likes it.”

“It’s a dope song.”

He looks around like well obviously.

“What would you say is your biggest influence that a casual fan wouldn’t expect? Obviously Talking Heads, but I would expect that, you know?”

He thinks for a moment. “Ooo… Wow, that’s a good question.” Did he really just respond to the quality of that question? Unexpected. I have to come clean about it then.

“I actually crowdsourced that question. That was my friend’s question, I can’t take credit for it.”

“That’s a great question! ‘What influence do I have that people wouldn’t expect me to have?’ Boy, that’s a tough one. That’s a fucking tough question. But it’s good, it makes me think!” I can’t believe he likes this damn question so much. What about all of my questions?!

After much deliberation, he comes up with an answer: “Talk Talk, probably, because I love them and listen to them all the time. Talk Talk’s got a really dry, ambient, slow-going sort of sound, which is not at all what I’m going for. On this last album though I took a lot of influence from them. So, yeah. Gotta go with Talk Talk.”

“That’s a good answer.”

“Maybe people expect it, I don’t know, but that’s the one I can think of. I can’t think of anything too zany.”

“Is there any one musician that you’d like to do a collaboration with?”

“Probably M83. You mean modern music? M83. In the past either David Byrne or Tears For Fears.”

“Well obviously. I mean how bout the Beatles too, I mean come on.” I was thinking more realistically, more in the realm of possibility. He laughs.

“So you just went off tour, and then… now what? What’s the future hold for Brothertiger?”

“Well, there’s that cover album, Tears For Fears, and I’m starting to write some new stuff, so hopefully by the mid-to-end of this year I’ll have an EP. I haven’t done an EP in a long time and I think I need to have one, so there’s that. And hopefully touring again soon, maybe in the summer.”

“Do you like touring?”

“I love touring.”

“What’s your favorite part?”

“I think just going to places I haven’t been. I know a lot of people hate the driving, but I think driving is… just seeing the country for what it is is one of my favorite parts.”

“Is touring your favorite part of what you do?”

“I think recording is, but translating it to a live scene is fucking difficult. But I love touring and recording.”

I’m clearly grasping at straws with these questions, and he knows it. I surrender. 

“I’m all out of questions. Is there anything else you want to tell people?”

“Just that, to whoever is listening to my music and whoever likes it, thanks.”

A solid last answer for a solid interview. I stop recording so I can use my phone to take a selfie. I have got to get a selfie with my main man Brothertiger. I mean, pix or it didn’t happen, right?

BroTigerSelfie

But it did happen, and I’ll never forget it.

A NIGHT OH WONDER AT THE BOWERY BALLROOM
February 1, 2016 12:05 am

The Beasts were out last Friday night to witness the brilliance of our indie friends from across the pond; Oh Wonder, the highly acclaimed and widely talked about indie synth-pop act out of London. Opening the night was Pop Etc., a well respected pop indie outfit themselves, having toured with the likes of Broken Bells, Grizzly Bear, The Kooks and more.

Pop Etc. drew a “sophisticated” crowd of college types and future grad school students, yet their set expressed a sound rooted in punk anthems that have been deconstructed and reassembled as synth based pop songs. The show marked the debut and release date of their new album Souvenir. A high point in the set was a perfectly tempered version of the Tears For Fears classic “Mad World.”

By the time Oh Wonder took the stage, the ballroom was filled to capacity with a slightly older and more culturally hip crowd. Despite the tightly packed conditions, Oh Wonder’s music brought a lightness and fluidity to the crowd. The first song set the tone for a heartfelt night, fueled by the distinct energy that only New York City nightlife can provide. The songs touched upon the delicate emotions of love and navigating this world as a young adult.

Oh Wonder, fronted by Anthony West and Josephine Vander Gucht, created an impressive buzz in the music world over the past year by releasing one single every month beginning September of 2015. These releases eventually accumulated into their debut self-titled album, which they have since performed on tour internationally. The unorthodox independent release granted them the recognition of millions of listeners on Soundcloud and a contract with major label subsidiary Caroline Records. Even the grand master of pop music himself, Rick Rubin, proclaimed to be a devoted fan.

Despite the highly polished electric sound of the album, Oh Wonder’s live set translates really well acoustically and shows no doubt of true musicianship and aesthetic genius. Each song has been written, recorded and engineered by Anthony and Josephine themselves out of their London-based studio.

Their trans-continental tour picks back up in Europe, starting off in Paris on February 26th, along with plenty of North American shows beginning in May at Sasquatch! Music Festival. If you get a chance to see them live, don’t miss out on this rising act of genuine pop music, that is so full of wonder.

 

SWIM DEEP LOOKS ON THE BRIGHT SIDE
December 4, 2015 2:50 pm

Swim Deep is having a small disaster. The Birmingham band arrived in New York a day ago, but Virgin Atlantic is holding their gear hostage somewhere in Newark. The night’s planned performance has been turned into a DJ set, and the band is trying to make the best of the situation.

ATYPICAL SOUNDS sat down in the green room at Baby’s All Right with band members Austin Williams, Zach Robinson, and Cavan McCarthy to try and figure out how to make lemonade from an incompetent-ass airline.

smashfdgj

It’s been raining for two days. I think it was waiting for you to come in from England so you’d feel at home.

AW: Everyone said that when we got here. They said, “You’ve brought it with you.” Sorry

You brought your weather and left your gear.

AW: We’ve had such bad luck. But it’ll be fine.

On the bright side, your album was voted one of the top albums of 2015 by NME. Congratulations, that’s pretty good.

AW: Thanks very much. We’re lucky, yeah.

Tomorrow you start your tour with The 1975. You’ve toured with them in the past, right?

AW: It was like two years ago in Europe.

ZR: We’ve done a few shows in the UK with them,

AW: They’re nice guys. They’re quite grounded. They’re well-mannered, and just good people. They’ve come from the bottom as well, which is great. They’ve worked their way up. It’s inspiring.

Are you looking forward to doing anything in the city while you’re here?

AW: We did a lot today, cause when we found out that our stuff wasn’t gonna get in until [we thought] we could play, we decided that we would just go and look at stuff like tourists.

CM: We went to see the 9/11 memorial.

AW: We just walked for ages uptown, and then went to see the [site of the] Physical Graffiti album by Led Zeppelin. We went to the East Village and that area, and then it started raining so we went back to our friend’s. We’ve been here before.

smashIn 2013.

AW: Yeah, and then I came here last year. It’s nice, it feels a lot more familiar now. It’s such an amazing place, I think.

It’s fun.

AW: It seems fun, I wish I could stay longer.

Were you working when you were here last year?

AW: No, I just came on my own with a few friends for a holiday.

I’m glad you’re back. I remember the first time you were here in 2013, and a lot of the time, we get these bands from the U.K. who come here once and then we never see them again.

AW: Well, it’s money isn’t it? The thing that’s disappointing about tonight, is we may not have another chance to come out here for so long now. We can really only do this show, because we’re supporting The 1975.

And tomorrow you’re in Boston.

AW: Yeah, and then we play in New York on the day after that at Terminal 5. So at least we get to play here and I guess some of our fans, we share some of the same fans, will get to see us. It’s a shame, you know, cause musicians don’t get any money, so it’s hard to travel so much.

I bet you could get Virgin Atlantic to fund another trip out here.

ZR: Hopefully, we can.

AW: We can get our fans to tweet them.

I will gladly badmouth them on social media in support of that. I remember around the time your first album came out (Where the Heaven Are We in 2013), journalists in England started talking about a “B-Town” music scene, centered in Birmingham. Mainly, I think it was just you and (fellow Birmingham band) Peace that had become popular around the same time. Do you think there’s any truth to there being a B-Town scene, or is that sort of just hype that had been floating around the internet?

AW: As soon as the journalists put pen to paper, the scene’s over. So as soon as they name something, it’s over. But in terms of before that, yeah definitely. We were just mates, hanging out, drinking, trying to have as much fun as possible in the city. And then we all started bands, and started playing stuff, and then it was us and the band Peace that got attention, so I guess they wanted to get something out of it. There wasn’t much going on in music, I guess. I mean there was, but there wasn’t any “scene” or whatever.

Birmingham’s such a good place for music, because the people that go and see shows there are so enthusiastic and lively. They give so much to the band when they go and see them. It’s a great place.

I’m actually interviewing your friends in Spector tomorrow night. What should I ask them?

AW: Ask them who their favorite member of Swim Deep is.

That’s good. Fred Macpherson [vocalist of Spector] was in your “Namaste” video, as well. Was his appearance a result of you being friends?

AW: One, he’s in a band and people know who he is. And two, he’s our friend. Also, we just thought it would be really funny. We have this panel of contestants, and we were trying to think, “Who looks like they could be on a game show?” Fred seemed perfect for it. We needed like one guy, the weird guy. It was a good day, [shooting] that video.

I know shooting can be a lot of long hours.

AW: I hate music videos. I hate the experience most of the time. But there’s been some really great times, like when we got to go to LA to shoot one, and we got to come here to New York to shoot one.

Which one was shot in New York?

AW: “She Changes the Weather”

The one with the swimming pool?

AW: It was a Jewish center in Brooklyn that the swimming pool was in. And we spent ages there. There was such a funny lifeguard there, who said he never had to get in the water, and we were all laughing about it and teasing him because he was such a guy you could tease. He was so in his own world. And he said, “I never get in the water, because I just never needed to.” And then I think someone did something, so he had to go in the water with one of those things that go up and down. And he moaned about it so much. He said he didn’t bring a change of clothes to work. That was fun. That was a fun day.

A lot of people who have interviewed you have mentioned that there’s such a big difference between the sound of the first and second albums. Have you thought about a third album yet? What bands are you currently listening to?

AW: I’m listening to a lot more stuff, just constantly. A much broader selection. I’ve definitely thought about a third album, but I think it’s going to come at a time when it’s right for us. We’ve got to think about when we want to get together.

ZR: We’re so excited to get started.

AW: It will come when it’s ready. We’re letting all of our stuff bubble, letting all of our influences marinate and do whatever, and then we come together and think about it properly. I’d like it to be something that can headline festivals. Something that can really make an impact. Something that means something to people. Something we can play at 12 o’clock on a Monday at a festival.

Who plays at noon on a Monday? 

ZR: We do. From 12-12. We have some festival dates coming up.

AW: I can’t wait. I want to start writing now, just speaking to it.

If you want something that sounds good at a festival, I guess it would be something really loud, right?

AW: Something that makes people listen to it. This last album, there are some tracks on it that really demand your attention, but I feel like the next one is going to be…it’s really going to demand it. Hopefully.

smash12Do you know where you’re touring yet?

AW: We’re looking to do secondary places in England that we haven’t really done before, like the smaller towns and stuff.

CM: The Firefly Festival in Delaware.

What are your plans for the holidays?

ZR: We all go back to Birmingham.

AW: Go see our families. I haven’t seen my family in so long.

Do any of you still live in Birmingham?

AW: Zach and I live in London.

[Cavan is in the middle of taking a sip of beer and gestures to himself.]

You do?

CM: [Nods] the best time of year in Birmingham is Christmas because everyone comes home. All of our friends.

Do you have any last words before your set tonight?

CM: Keep music alive.

AW: Sorry. And fuck Virgin Airlines.

Yes, fuck them.

AW: And see you next time.