Surfer Blood talk Halloween costumes, flax crackers, and haunted practice spaces.

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We spoke with Surfer Blood members John Paul Pitts, Thomas Fekte, Tyler Schwarz, and Kevin Williams before their midnight show at the TLA on October 4th. Read below to find out about new obstacles they encountered moving onto a major label, their favorite horror movie, and what they’re thinking of dressing up as for Halloween.

Shannen: How did you guys all meet?

JP: Well, we’re all from the same town; we all grew up there at least. We went to high school there, and we were all playing in bands that were a little bit left of center. We all were sort of aware of each other and what we were doing, and yeah, I mean one day we started recording demos of some of the Surfer Blood songs. It wasn’t really serious and I guess Tom heard it and brought it up to me that he’d like to play guitar.

Shannen: Do you remember what some of those first songs were?

JP: A lot of the songs ended up on Astro Coast, our first record. I don’t think it was ever really supposed to be a proper record or anything, it was just something that we started and I felt really, really compelled to finish. So yeah, some of those songs ended up on the record later.

TF: I think the first song that I had heard was “Fast Jabroni”. That was a really early one that you guys had written.

TS: There are some demos that we’ve never even put out that I have on my computer. Well my laptop was stolen, so I must have lost some of them, but we had some kind of pirate-sounding songs.

Shannen: I think you guys tweeted the other day that you recorded on a Dell. Was that the laptop that got stolen?

TF: Yeah, I tweeted a really ridiculous run-on sentence that was ranting about Macintosh, even though I have nothing against Mac. I was just basically saying you don’t have to have a Mac, and we made a record on a Dell.

JP: There is so much digital noise on that record, though. If you listen closely there are so many parts where it’s just like (makes noise).

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Interview with Young Pilgrims (September 10, 2013)

Courtesy of The Key
Courtesy of The Key

By Jonathan Plotkin

Young Pilgrims are an indie punk revival band from Philadelphia. Earlier this summer, they released their debut album Kyoko and a Rocket to the Moon on their Bandcamp, have been playing places such as Don’t Tread On Me, Jolly’s, and North Star Bar, and were recently featured as artist of the month by The Deli Magazine. On September 10th, after their last show, I got the chance to sit down with the band and talk it out for a few minutes.

Jonathan: So you guys are Young Pilgrims, what are your names?

Sean: I’m Sean Brown.

Zack: I’m Zack.

Jonathan: And what instruments do you play?

Sean: I play the guitar and I sing.

Zack: I play the bass guitar and I sing sweet harmonies.

Jonathan: And is there a drummer in the band?

Sean: Nick Boonie. We have two drummers, actually.

Jonathan: Who did you record the album with?

Sean: Jesse Appel.

Jonathan: And they’re both not available right now.

Sean: That’s right, they both died in the accident.

Jonathan: Right, the accident. We’ll get back to that totally true and not made up story later. So how did you guys meet in order to form your band?

Zack: High school. A lot of people went away to college and their band broke up and we made a new band.

Sean: Can I… can I tell that better than you did?

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Interview with Ira Kaplan of Yo La Tengo (July 10, 2013)

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Here it is! Matt Scottoline’s (of The New Matt Show) excellent interview with Ira Kaplan of Yo La Tengo. Hear Ira talk about sports talk, the Sun Ra Arkestra, the late Maxwell’s, and their relationship with the unknown.

Stream the interview above.

Interview with Smith Westerns (July 26, 2013)

Image courtesy of Fat Possum
Image courtesy of Fat Possum

By Kirsten Becker

I caught up with Cullen Omori, the singer from Smith Westerns before their 7/26 show at
Union Transfer to talk about their latest release, 90’s music, and what’s coming next for the band.

Kirsten Becker: What was the recording process for this record? What comes first, music or lyrics?

Cullen Omori: It kind of happens together. The way that we write our songs varies, [guitarist] Max [Kakacek] will write some parts and I’ll write a full song, or Max write a full song and I’ll write some parts. So, when I go about writing music I try to go about with the chords with the lyrics because I feel like when you have words down, you come up with the melody or the chords a lot quicker. For me, lyrics come with the music. That’s kind of how I write.

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Coming Attractions: Yo La Tengo Interview on WKDU

Image courtesy of Matador Records
Image courtesy of Matador Records

By Nick Stropko

We’re very excited to be interviewing Ira Kaplan of Yo La Tengo on WKDU tomorrow, July 16. The interview will take place on master radio personality Matt Scottoline’s show, aptly titled The New Matt Show. Tune in at from 4-6pm tomorrow to hear its ON-AIR DEBUT, or if you’re one of them TiVo/Netflix types, stream it right here on Communiqué starting later in the day! We’ll probably put a transcript up at some point whenever I feel up to it.

Interview with Ted Nguyent (July 9, 2013)

By Nick Sukiennik

I went to Mad Dragon Studios to interview Travis Arterburn, vocalist and drummer for local punk outfit Ted Nguyent, about his newly formed record label and its first release, “Philadelphia Comp. 2013

Nick Sukiennik: What is Self Help records?

Travis Arterburn: Basically at this point it’s just a name for something for me to release things under. I was working on a compilation for my senior project of 15 different Philly DIY bands. I wanted to put it on record but I didn’t have enough money. I decided that I’d put it on tape because I could duplicate it myself. Basically,  I was going to release it so I figured [I should] put a name on it. I’m trying to use the money I make from that to do some other things, maybe put out some tapes for a couple other bands, and eventually put out a vinyl from Ted Nguyent. So, a small label, I guess.

NS: So where do you get your funding?

TA: So far the only funding I’ve needed was buying the 300 tapes, art and boxes and stuff, which wasn’t super cheap or super expensive. But it was just money I saved up from delivering sandwiches (laughs).

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Interview with Charli XCX (May 17, 2013)

Photo courtesy of Atlantic Records

By Shannen Gaffney

Charli XCX‘s accessible British electro-pop sound is what makes her fan base so varied. Her new release True Romance is well written, has some awesome production, and is extremely addicting. I got a chance to speak with her via phone:

Shannen Gaffney: So your latest album True Romance got an 8.3 on Pitchfork and has been doing well at college radio. Though your music is definitely very pop, your style is unique and you have been successful in a bunch of different markets. How would you describe your music?

Charli XCX: I definitely describe it as pop music. I went out to make a pop record, not like a hipster record or anything like that. I really wanted to make the record sound super lush and like, very angelic in terms of the production. So I think I’d probably describe it as angel pop music or the way that I see the record – I often see my music in colors – when I think of this album I see the color purple, so I guess I’d kind of describe it as purple pop music, too.

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