Kerry Cantwell (keyboard and vocals): Probably 35 minutes, somewhere right around there. We try really hard not to play for a long time. Also, it’s a four band bill, so we want to kind of get in and out, not take too much time.
DTH: Have you been doing these kind of performances for a while? Just locally?
DC: We live in Durham, and we play in Durham and Chapel Hill a lot. We play at The Cave with some regularity, and we go on little tours. We all have day jobs, so we can’t go on the road for weeks at a time, but we will go out for a long weekend. Three or four days, something like that, a few times a year. We mostly do play around Durham and Chapel Hill.
DTH: Do you mostly perform with other bands, or by yourselves?
KC: Yeah, usually around a three band bill is what we play.
DC: This band that we’re playing with, North Elementary, are some buddies of ours. One of the guys in the bands sort of runs the “label” — this co-op, collective label.
DTH: You mentioned pop music, but that doesn’t quite seem like the genre you strictly adhere to. How would you categorize your band, either with one genre or multiple genres? Or even with some made-up term that only can describe you guys?
KC: (laughs) I have no idea how to answer that question. People ask us that all the time and I have no idea how to answer it. After we play, people come up to us and say that we remind them of some band, and the band they say is totally different from the last person’s. Like, these two artists have nothing to do with each other!
DC: When I said pop, I guess I was thinking more of the 90s notion of indie pop. Not necessarily dance pop, like Taylor Swift sort-of stuff.
EH: As much as me and Kerry would love that…
DC: I have nothing against Taylor Swift, I’m just saying musically we don’t have a lot in common. I guess I just think of us as a sometimes rowdy, sometimes noisy, sort of spazzy indie pop band.
DTH: So you have an EP on BandCamp — could you tell me a little more about that?
KC: So that EP is actually a few years old. We actually have another record coming out in the spring. That EP was our first real attempt at recording something. We got into the studio and recorded those songs over the course of two or three days, then put that out. Those are really the first songs that we had written.
DC: We just wanted to have something to give away at shows, or to send to clubs to say “book us, here’s a recording that we have.” It was really fun to record with Jerry Kee, who’s been recording records in North Carolina for like 30 years. We still play those songs, but they are sort of old hat now. So, our new record is going to have newer songs with one of the same songs, actually.
KC: Yeah, one of the songs on the new EP we re-recorded. It feels different to me, which is one of the reasons I wanted to re-record it.
DTH: When you perform at a concert, are the songs you performing strictly from the last EP and your upcoming one?
KC: It’s a little bit of everything. We honestly just pick a list of the the songs we like to play. Usually 7 or 8 songs, we just pick the ones that we’re feeling at the moment. The ones that are the most fun and that we think people will like the most.
DTH: Is the upcoming EP similar in style to the first EP you did?
KC: I think it’s a little bit slicker of a recording.
EH: It should be!
DC: It’s not slick…
KC: It’s a little more crafted, I would say. Less raw-sounding, because we did more vocal overdubs and tweaking.
DC: We’re just a better band.
EH: I don’t think any of us are composers of songs, so we just take little pieces that usually Dave and Kim have written, and then we just work them over and add pieces onto them. We don’t have anybody just say “here’s a song!” And I think we are getting better at putting songs together as we go.
KC: Our songwriting process is a little weird, in my opinion. A few months ago we finished a song during the recording session that we had worked on for four years. It was a song that we composed, then we rewrote it, took it all apart, then put it all back together again. And now it’s a song that I think we all like. Usually our ideas start with a riff or some chords, like a little seed that starts and we grow that thing from almost nothing.
DTH: Now a fun question — what is your favorite song, album or artist to listen to, and what is your favorite song to perform?
EH: Right now I’m really into a band called Mastodon, but that has not influenced my playing at all.
(all laugh, since Mastodon is a heavy metal band)
EH: And my favorite song to play is “Elbows Up,” one that will be on the new album.
DC: I really enjoy playing a song we have called “The Silence.” I really like it, it’s fun to play and it’s easy to make it sound good. Earlier today, I was listening to “Petra Haden Sings: The Who Sell Out.” It’s not my favorite record, but it’s what I was listening to earlier today and it’s astonishingly fun. It’s all a cappella and she’s doing a Who album entirely with her voice. It’s really, really fun.
KC: I’m going to say that my favorite song to listen to is “Disintegration” by The Cure. And I think my favorite song of ours to play, I’m going to say, “Return to Love Canal,” another song off our new record. I like it because I like the lyrics of it. I like that there’s a little bit of it where I can belt and put a little energy into that I don’t really do in our other songs.