Friday, June 23, 2006

Mini-Interview: The Silversun Pickups

I think my ears are still ringing a bit from when The Silversun Pickups performed last. Part of their duties as The Official Preeminent Live Act in Los Angeles Right Now ™ is apparently to play very, very loud... Gloriously loud, to be specific, and fantastically well. (For an extended piece on why they’re LA’s best and brightest, go here.)

However, their recent show at The Echo will be one of their last here in LA for awhile, as they’re leaving town to tour the country promoting their debut album Carnavas, due out on July 25th on Dangerbird Records. It’s a release that many have said will likely rocket the local act to national acclaim, a wake-up call to a country that really ought to hear how good they are.

(I mean really, LA. Stop being so greedy. We should share…)

I emailed back and forth with SSPU lead Brian Aubert to discuss this, that, and the other thing.

And here's how it went:

my name is brian aubert.

here is my report.

i call it "a virtual conversation with radio free silver lake."

and a one and a two...

Like of a lot of folks in The Ship Collective, the members of your band all seem like friends. And you’re also extremely tight live, so I’d guess that you practice a lot. Are both of those assumptions true? Mostly true?

it's mostly true today. we practiced today and hung out a bit without a scuffle, so it seems you are correct on both accounts.


How long have you been playing together? How did you all meet?

the four of us have been playing together since 2003. but the band had been around a bit before that. i met nikki on a flight to england. together, we met ariana (earlimart) on the same flight. later, ariana met joe and nikki and i met christopher. we then combined our forces. and that's actually what happened.


How would you describe The Ship Collective to people who haven’t heard of it? (It doesn’t seem very “LA,” does it? This thing where people in a competitive environment actually help each other out…)

well, that's the thing. because of the nature of the LA scene, it's what keeps you held together. due to the absurdity of competitive art and the viewing of artists trying to climb/step/stab each other to reach the top of the cream and become the stale cherry, it just kinda puts it all into perspective. that's not us. that's not our friends. we actually do this because we enjoy it. there you go. THE SHIP: people who enjoy.


How did you come to join up with The Ship? Or is it silly to say it like that?

i'm not entirely sure we actually 'joined'. because we've all known each other for so long, we just are in it. we are all not actually sure what it really is. it just is.


You’ve been pegged as “LA’s best kept secret, who might not be a secret much longer” by the LA Weekly. (I may be massacring their quote, but that’s the gist of it, at least.) And a lot of people seem to think you’re going to blow up once this new album comes out. How are you handling all the attention?

it's always nice when people think of you. but you can't really listen to all that "blowin up" talk. since there is no equation to how this business actually works, you just have to do your thing. what happens happens. if you try and figure this out and tweak this and try to make it so you'll blow up, i think you'd lose all perspective of why you're doing it. i would be mind fucked til the end of time. as far as the attention, sometimes it's really nice and sometimes it's a bit spooky. it makes me more shy.

PJ Harvey said awhile back that you don’t really need a producer if you know what you’re trying to accomplish, and, hearing your demos and live performances, it seems like you knew how you wanted your songs to sound. So what was it like working with an outside party for this album?

she's right. but sometimes you're not sure what you are capable of accompishing until someone else is there to push and antagonize you into growth. that's how it was with dave cooley. he pushed us so hard and by the end, we were writing and even playing better that we ever had before. we always want to grow, and i'm not sure if we are at a place where we can do it alone. it's a little S and M esque.

What’s next for you?

we're laying low for a bit. the first time off we've had since may of last year. then we'll start gearing up for the end of july, when CARNAVAS gets released. and we'll be all wound up and ready to go yet again.

Last question: Who are some of your favorite bands in LA right now?

let's see...besides all the SHIPS (you know.. GREAT NORTHERN, EARLIMART, IRVING, LET'S GO SAILING, THE MOVIES, DARKER MY LOVE (who are releasing a record with dangerbird), COLD WAR KIDS, 400 BLOWS, LANGUIS, TWILIGHT SLEEP, MIDNIGHT MOVIES, YOUNG PEOPLE, RADAR BROTHERS, DENGUE FEVERDEVICS, and on and on and on... there are a ton.


That's it! Thanks for your time, Brian.

thanks, joe.

Before they leave on tour, The Silversun Pickups will play on July 6 at The Hammer Museum. Details can be found here.


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