MATH AND PHYSICS CLUB INTERVIEW

The band started as a basement project between you and James. Did you ever think you would release so much music in a relatively short space of time (three EPs and two LPs in six years)?

We basically just wanted to put out a 7” record. That was our goal. Keep in mind we started playing together pre-internet and we didn’t know anyone with a 4-track, so recording your own music was still pretty mysterious then. We’ve always put more emphasis on recording than on playing live, but still, I never thought we’d end up releasing as much as we have.

Growing up in Olympia, Washington, how important were K Records and Kill Rock Stars in shaping your sound?

Aside from Beat Happening, I think we were more influenced by the ethic of those labels than the sound, at least early on. We were more into on bands on Popllama like The Young Fresh Fellows, Fastbacks, and Posies. It wasn’t until later that I went back and discovered The Softies and Heavenly and realised I’d wasted too much time listening to Oasis in the 90’s.

How vital were KEXP and WOXY radio stations in getting the band better known when you first started?

It was huge. We couldn’t believe they were playing our little homespun recordings. We sent KEXP our demo just hoping to get a spin on their local show on Saturday night, and then John Richards played “Sixteen and Pretty” on his weekday morning show and we were like, “Holy shit!” We started getting emails from listeners all over the world, and we never really had to work hard to get noticed by local bookers for good shows. It was instant credibility.

How is the indiepop scene in Seattle at the moment?

We’ve always had good turnouts at pop shows, so I’d say there’s a modest but loyal scene. There’s a good community of local blogs that support indiepop, but as far as I know there aren’t currently any club nights happening. Tullycraft has been on hiatus so that leaves a bit of a hole in the scene, but there has been a lot of buzz about Seapony this year so hopefully that will help energize the pop kids.

Is “Jimmy Had a Polaroid” about Jimmy Tassos at Matinée Recordings? Tell us more about the song as we love playing it at the club.

Oh, thanks! It’s not about Jimmy, but truth be told, I did like that connection when I came up with that line in the song, so it’s not completely random. And Jimmy loves photography so it’s even more fitting. Hmmm… maybe the song IS about him?

Have you started writing new material for another EP or album?

Quite honestly, I expected I Shouldn’t Look As Good As I Do to be our last record, but in rehearsing for the UK tour I’ve started to get inspired again and I’ve written about a  half dozen new songs that I’ve floated out to the band. We don’t have any timeline, but I suspect we’ll at least release another EP.

You don’t often get to play live due to so many family commitments. Does that frustrate you or does it make it more special when you do play together?

It’s definitely frustrating not to play more when we work so well together as a group, but I’ve come to terms with it. We’re not 25 anymore, you know? Now there are careers and families to consider, and none of us live in the same city anymore, so that makes it difficult. Writing is easier than playing live because we can trade files over the internet, but trying to coordinate schedules for practicing is excruciating. We really enjoy it when we do get to play together though, which I suppose is what keeps us going.

How was your recent show with The Smittens, The Special Places and Monnone Alone? Do you feel you share the same ideals as bands such as The Smittens and The Lucksmiths?

Great! The Smittens were fantastic and really nice people, and we always love playing with Cori and Jenny. Mark was a late addition to the line-up and really turned it into a lovefest. I wish we could have taken that little tour all over the country. I definitely feel a kinship with other indiepop bands. Its fun to play with other bands that appreciate where you’re coming from and it’s such a tight knit community that you often know a lot of the same people.

You’ve got a few warm up shows before Indietracks in Glasgow, Manchester, London and Nottingham. Tell us more about those.

Yes, we’re very excited for those shows as well. I was able to convince Laz to play a Bubblegum Lemonade set with us in Glasgow, which will be their first show ever, and The Hermit Crabs are playing that show as well so that’s going to be ace. We’ve joined up with Very Truly Yours from Chicago for all the warm-up gigs so it will be great to get to know them a bit. Other shows include Pocketbooks, The Sweet Nothings, and Moustache of Insanity. Seriously, how lucky are we?

Finally, do you embrace Pitchfork’s description of your music as “music to hold hands to” or do you find that unbearable twee?

It’s fine, I understand why it’s easy to label us that way, but I’d like to think the songs are a bit deeper than that. Many of the lyrics actually deal with love from a perspective of insecurity, loneliness, and even bitterness, so I’ve never thought of them as being particularly romantic or sugary. But people are free to call it whatever they want. I just call it pop!


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