With their third album, Nothing Is Real, the Long Beach band have really hit their stride. They play 27 Feb, Roadhouse, Manchester and 2 March, Brudenell Social Club, Leeds.
You seem to have a lot of bad luck when it comes to transport, gear and band members leaving. Are the three of you just inherently optimistic and good enough friends to keep each other sane and focused?
It’s not luck that’s gotten us into these situations, it’s ambition –some would argue over-ambition. We push everything we do to the limit and that has consequences. Things break down and sometimes people run out of steam. Friends who’ve played with us are gifts from god and we love them and what they’ve brought to our music. This band was never meant to last forever and it was never meant to really even be a band. The core makes the songs, the core is unbreakable. Every band has hard times, and it’s a good thing, helps breed creativity.
Nothing Is Real felt like it had a greater clarity – was that born out of a need to create a certain mood?
I wanted to hang off a cliff. The vocals are more raw than ever. People assume you’re not capable of anything beyond what they’ve heard you already do. The vocal sound is important to the composition as a whole, but in the past things that were more chaotic needed a more chaotic vocal sound.
How self-critical are you of live performances?
Live shows are and have always been most important to us. It’s tough to predict how exactly it’s going to go down. A lot of times the shows where things go horribly wrong turn out to be the best. There’s just something about trying to play with a fever or half a drum set or missing strings seems to bring out the best in us. The crowd reaction has a lot to do with it too.
What inspired the chorus line of Persephone of “my mind controls my body”?
I was driving and the entire song just popped in my head –lyrics and music. At the time I didn’t exactly know what it was about, now I do –but I don’t talk about it. Make what you want of it. We recorded it on a 4 track about an hour after it was written, and that’s actually (mostly) the version that’s on the album.
There’s something about your artwork, videos and instagrams that seems to thrive on bright washes of colour – do you think that’s simply because you’re coming from California?
The colour palette lately mostly comes from C.R. Stecyk III & the Colby Printing Company in Los Angeles that just recently shut it doors. Both Stecyk & Colby are a huge part of what’s shaped the southern California landscape and aesthetic – and we grew up immersed in what they created. Colby was a 3 union print shop that printed mostly outdoor advertisements for swap meets, debt relief, concerts & more on their own neon & colorful gradient stock. I’ve been staring at Colby prints stapled to telephone poles and tied to chain link fences all my life.
A lot of the reviews tend to express a sense of confusion as to where you fit in and how you could almost be a more mainstream prospect. Where do you stand on it?
There’s no confusion on our end whatsoever. We know exactly what we are and it hasn’t changed since the beginning. We’re not hung up on who is listening or trying to fit in anywhere, everyone is welcome. We make music that’s interesting to us and that’s all that really matters.