During our invasion of the Treasure Island Music Festival in San Francisco, we caught up with our friends Weekend to talk about their new Slumberland EP Red, Huey Lewis, sports, overused Jesus and Mary Chain comparisons, tour stories and more.
How are you all feeling about the 49ers this season?
Abe: Good! Pretty good!
Did we beat Detroit today?
A: I don't know, I haven't been keeping up on that but they have been having a promising season.
It's pretty exciting
Shaun: He's the sports guy.
How was that tour with Wire earlier this year?
Kevin: Yeah in February, a little bit on the East Coast.
S: It was interesting it was a learning experience for sure, it was almost like a hazing.
K: It was like a hazing.
S: Anyone like that who has been around for so long, I mean those tours, 30 years or something like that, so they're very particular about how things are done. It was hard it was like we were kind of clueless.
K: We had no idea how they expected us to act so for the first couple of days that lead to a couple of minor issues…
K: Like we didn't realize that we were weren't supposed to be in the dressing room after they played even though it was a shared dressing room for both bands.
S: They booked all these tiny venues but they wanted to sell them out and we were on for about 13 dates or something in these shared dressing rooms.
K: They need their space, they are older dudes who have been touring a lot and I guess my beginning thought would be this whole hang out session every night but they're kind of over that I think.
Another thing I keep hearing about was tour mishaps and how did that affect you guys?
A: Lost a lot of money.
S: Yeah that wasn't that tour, that was a different tour but I don't think we will ever buy another van.
K: It might have seemed like a good deal but when we were driving in New York the chasis broke in half and it was kind of a dangerous situation and the van was totalled, we had to take it to a junk yard, we had to have all our gear shipped home it was kind of a bummer but I think it was a learning experience that we made from a lot of friendships and relationships from that experience.
How did that affect the song writing process from touring Wire and schlepping it out on the road?
S: I don't know, I can't really judge that I think any thing like that I mean any sort of thing is going to affect your writing being away from home, being on tour and going a million miles an hour it's crazy and you stop and you are at home and then it's like; well, now what?
K: Our lives have changed a lot because of the band, I'm sure that's affected (Red) somehow.
S: I don't know, like I would never been inspired to write about life in tour culture, it's so not interesting to me. It's such a privilege place to be. There is no rule out there that says that you have that says that you have to write with that in mind and I don't see that as part of the song writing process at all.
K: The songs are about us as a band and different perspectives and different places and situations.
Another thing we have had some fun with your first record titled Sports and Huey Lewis titling his first album Sports and the track “Golfing” on your Red EP and we were wondering if there was any kind of Huey Lewis undercurrent going on?
K: There is a Huey Lewis undercurrent to everything. I mean, beyond our band.
S: Yeah, this whole experience of Huey Lewis in our writing and this whole experience on this island is…no, I actually despise Huey Lewis but he had a great record title so…I'll take that.
K: Shaun knows the bass player.
Everyone is obsessed with dropping Jesus and Mary Chain's Psychocandy in talking about your sound, but how come more reviewers haven't discovered more of your 1987-'92 leanings?
S: I don't know.
A: Because they're lazy.
K: I mentioned in an earlier interview that we were practicing the other night and I was realizing that probably for 90% of my set I play clean guitar with delay and some reverb or whatever.
At your homecoming show last summer you had a keyboard and this was a more stripped down set.
K: Yeah…the keyboard….broke….which was one of the reasons I was nervous about using it in the first place. I don't know, we always wanted to expand our sound and that harsh high end distortion is part of our sound. It is similar to the tones that the Jesus and Mary Chain were using and I think they're a great band but…
A: They’re different, they’re more of a 60s inspired band.
S: It’s just a similar sonic territory the songs are nothing alike, you know? It’s something when you take a listen to a record and you hear what you hear and never go anywhere beyond that and that defeats the whole sonic appearance. Like, yeah that sounds like white noise and go, ‘oh, Jesus and Mary Chain!” You then get into that lazy mode.
You guys are a band on Slumberland that doesn’t sound like the rest of the bands on Slumberland. I mean, no one is putting any ‘twee’ tags on you or C86 leanings.
A: I think there is definitely a crossover, the people who are into all that twee C86 stuff are into the early 90s shoegaze.
K: Slumberland is all about people who have an experimental attitude towards music but also sensibilities toward songwriting and I think those are two things we could align ourselves with and that’s why we’re with Slumberland.
The Red EP has tracks like “Sweet Sixteen” with references to the family dog turning 16, “Hazel” and “What You Want.” It seems like there is more of a sentimental and emotional charge in that direction.
S: Yeah, think we’re opening up a bit more I can’t say where it’s going to go next.
Are you approaching a new direction in sound with Weekend?
S: I like to think we take all the things we like about what we do and then push them to their furthest extremes. I like to see the melody and the noise separated a little bit.
K: I think we always had like a…I don’t know, I think people are always getting at, ‘are you going to get more poppy?’ and we always had a pop sensibility, you know we wrote “End Times” which to me is a pop song.
The “Dexter” people picked that up, didn’t they?
K: Yeah, they picked it up, it was on T.V. you know, we always balance that with more experimental moments that give those songs a deeper context and I think we will always continue to do that.
I really dug that Speculator “Subconscious” remix of “Coma Summer.” Will there be more remixes or any more collaborations with Speculator?
K: He lives in our house so that’s kind of…
S: He’s our roommate.
S: He does collaborations all the time on the kitchen floor.
A: Ha ha!
K: Yeah, we have this Dorito dust and dirty sock collaboration under the couch agreement!
S: But yeah I mean I really respect what he does completely, he’s a great musician and I want him to keep on doing this kind of stuff.
I thought that nobody could ever top “Coma Summer” and I got the Soundcloud from my boss and I was like, 'Whoa, shit.'
S: Yeah, that’s cool, he takes it to a whole other place.
K: There is not a whole lot of other musicians that we would feel comfortable with remixing are songs but that helped, it felt right.