Friday, June 06, 2008

Interview: The Sweet Hurt

Between Rock Insider, You Set The Scene, Web In Front, and Classical Geek Theatre, The Sweet Hurt have gotten an awful lot of attention from LA music sites this last week.

There's a reason you've been reading so much about the haunty chamber pop group -- who have an EP release event this Saturday night at Pehrspace with Evan Slamka, Liz Pappademas, and Alex Lily from Colorforms.

And that reason is because they're really rather good...

We spoke to The Sweet Hurt's progenitor Wendy Wang earlier this week over IM to talk about the band's origins, the new EP, release event, and much more.

sweethurt (9:12:06 PM): Hey, Joe. It’s Wendy
RFSL (9:12:17 PM): Hey!
sweethurt (9:12:40 PM): How are you?
RFSL (9:12:58 PM): I'm doing pretty well. Just got home from work. You?
sweethurt (9:13:37 PM): I’m still at the studio, but I got an early break
sweethurt (9:13:53 PM): They asked me to stay later, so I’m just gonna kick it and do the interview here
RFSL (9:14:18 PM): Ah, you work at a studio?
sweethurt (9:14:50 PM): Yeah, I work at Red Rockets Glare. It's Raymond Richards’ studio
RFSL (9:15:16 PM): Oh, cool. Where is that at?
RFSL (9:15:52 PM): What do you do there?
sweethurt (9:18:58 PM): It's in Rancho Park, just off the national exit from the 10 freeway.
sweethurt (9:19:12 PM): I engineer and sometimes produce here (if asked).
sweethurt (9:20:25 PM): I recorded my past two records here, too.
RFSL (9:20:30 PM): Excellent. What are you working on now?
sweethurt (9:21:41 PM): We're working with this Seattle-based website called they're gathering content in the form of live band performances at the studio. Once they have that set, they're relaunching their site.
RFSL (9:22:09 PM): Nice. Who are you recording?
sweethurt (9:22:25 PM): I just recorded Let's Go Sailing. Calamity Magnet is next.
sweethurt (9:22:36 PM): Correatown and The Sweet Hurt are tomorrow.
RFSL (9:23:24 PM): Nice. Sounds like fun work.
sweethurt (9:23:36 PM): It totally is.
RFSL (9:24:40 PM): So when did you start making music?
sweethurt (9:26:00 PM): I started playing piano when I was 5. I wrote my first song when I was 13
RFSL (9:26:38 PM): When was your first band?
sweethurt (9:28:31 PM): I played in the school band when I was ten and the first cover band was when I was in the church band at age thirteen and then my first band with kids at school was when I was fourteen.
RFSL (9:28:49 PM): When did you start The Sweet Hurt?
sweethurt (9:30:06 PM): At the end of 2003. I had been writing songs and recording them with midi. I got a show and decided to ask people to play with me.
RFSL (9:31:33 PM): How did that lead to your first EP?
sweethurt (9:33:38 PM): the first official recording I put out was an acoustic EP and it came about cause the band fell apart and I felt really discouraged
RFSL (9:34:25 PM): And you recorded that at Red Rockets Glare?
sweethurt (9:34:29 PM): I decided to record the songs that I had with just a guitar and vocal. I did add another song that was a drum machine driven song, but that's what happened.
sweethurt (9:34:46 PM): The acoustic EP was done at my house and a friend's house. This was pre-RRG.
RFSL (9:35:15 PM): Ahhhh. What came next?
sweethurt (9:37:04 PM): So I kept writing on my own and getting better at recording home demos. Then The Monolators and another friend recommended that I record with Raymond at RRG. So I booked 3 days with him and recorded Everyday Mistakes. It was the most polished-sounding thing I'd done.
sweethurt (9:40:55 PM): I learned a lot from that recording process. It was inspiring. Raymond really encouraged me to keep doing the music thing, so I recorded another batch of songs at the studio and that's how the new EP came about
RFSL (9:41:30 PM): Did he produce the EP?
sweethurt (9:42:31 PM): He produced Everyday Mistakes with me and he produced one of the songs on the new EP.
RFSL (9:42:59 PM): And you produced the rest?
sweethurt (9:43:08 PM): So here it comes....
sweethurt (9:43:37 PM): Dan Long produced a track, Evan Slamka of Marjorie produced one with me, then the track with Raymond, and I did 2 on my own.
RFSL (9:44:59 PM): Marjorie Fair?
sweethurt (9:45:24 PM): Haha. Yeah, Marjorie Fair.
sweethurt (9:45:27 PM): Wow, I’m slow right now.
RFSL (9:46:04 PM): It's okay. Tuesday is the second longest day of the week.
sweethurt (9:46:13 PM): haha!
RFSL (9:47:10 PM): So you've got the cd release party on Saturday night at Pehrspace.
sweethurt (9:49:13 PM): Yes! It's a great lineup. Evan's actually gonna play a set. Liz Pappademas follows him. We're on third. I did a music video a while back but never had an opportunity to show it, so we're premiering that. Then Alex Lilly of Colorforms is going to play a somewhat solo set.
RFSL (9:50:09 PM): That is a great line-up. Looking forward to it.
sweethurt (9:50:31 PM): Cool! Thanks. I am, too.
RFSL (9:50:32 PM): I've been kind of loving going to Pehrspace lately.
sweethurt (9:50:44 PM): Oh, yeah? How come?
sweethurt (9:50:52 PM): I mean, I love that place too
RFSL (9:51:01 PM): I dunno. I just keep running into some of my favorite people in town there.
RFSL (9:51:13 PM): It's got a great community feel to it.
RFSL (9:52:14 PM): And I keep seeing great shows, like One Trick Pony, Sarah Negahdari, Rademacher, Tigers Can Bite You, and so on...
RFSL (9:52:20 PM): You know?
sweethurt (9:52:55 PM): Totally. It attracts people we like
sweethurt (9:53:18 PM): The first time I saw One Trick Pony was at Pehrspace. They blew me away. They sound great in that room, too.
RFSL (9:53:49 PM): Yeah, when I went last week to see them play, the place was completely packed and everyone was completely quiet in rapt attention.
RFSL (9:55:53 PM): So what's next for you?
sweethurt (9:58:47 PM): I'm hoping people will hear some of these new tunes. I would like to produce more. I've just started collaborating with other musicians and I want to do that more.
sweethurt (9:59:12 PM): Like writing and producing. And of course playing.
RFSL (9:59:11 PM): Yeah, you play in a few local bands, right?
sweethurt (10:00:06 PM): Yeah, I play in Correatown and HoneyHoney. I sit in with some bands every now and then.
sweethurt (10:01:02 PM): Like, I used to play with Let's Go Sailing more consistently and I've sung with I Make This Sound and played some keys with The Henry Clay People.
sweethurt (10:01:18 PM): It's really fun!
RFSL (10:01:38 PM): I bet. Some great bands there.
sweethurt (10:01:46 PM): Jonathan from IMTS is gonna play keys with me at the EP release show.
RFSL (10:01:53 PM): Any plans to tour?
sweethurt (10:03:05 PM): No, not in the near future. If a larger band asked me to open for them, I'd probably do it, but I don't have anything lined up outside of LA.
RFSL (10:03:37 PM): It's funny how there are so many local venues that bands don't have to tour here to play around a bit.
sweethurt (10:03:41 PM): I mean, if I was lucky enough for anyone asked me to open for them.
RFSL (10:03:52 PM): Like Long Beach is a road trip.
sweethurt (10:05:00 PM): Yeah, huh? Never really thought about that. We're spoiled.
RFSL (10:05:21 PM): Yeah... It's nice.
sweethurt (10:05:48 PM): I live in the South Bay. There are no indie/rock/singer-songwriter venues around
sweethurt (10:07:01 PM): Well there's this new venue in Hermosa Beach that's starting to book bands. It's like a taste of what it's like to live on the east side where music venues are walking distance from home.
RFSL (10:07:33 PM): I used to live in-between The Echo, Spaceland, and The Silver Lake Lounge...
RFSL (10:07:42 PM): Was totally spoiled. Could walk to all three.
RFSL (10:08:25 PM): Maybe it will start to extend south more!
sweethurt (10:09:22 PM): Yes, please!
RFSL (10:09:38 PM): Who drew the cover to your new EP?
sweethurt (10:10:27 PM): My longtime friend, Josh Cochran, is a really amazing illustrator. He did the artwork. The two pieces on the CD are the inspiration for the EP's title
RFSL (10:11:16 PM): Nice.
RFSL (10:11:24 PM): It's a great piece.
sweethurt (10:11:38 PM): Glad you like it. I think they are beautiful. He was generous in letting me use those as the CD cover.
RFSL (10:12:43 PM): So, what are you listening to these days?
sweethurt (10:13:21 PM): Let's see I just got a Willie Nelson album, it's called Love Songs, Wilco, The Daktaris, The Meters, and a lot of local artists like Colorforms, Willoughby, Bram, The Monolators, Benji Hughes, Liz Pappademas.
sweethurt (10:15:28 PM): Priscilla Ahn… She's going to sing a couple songs with me on Saturday. We wrote two songs together a bit ago and it'll be their debut
sweethurt (10:17:12 PM): Oh and Jillinda of IMTS made me a CD of songs by 60s girl groups. I've been listening to that too. It's totally rad.
RFSL (10:18:43 PM): Oh, cool. That sounds great. I don't know really much of that era.
sweethurt (10:19:13 PM): I’ll make you a copy!
RFSL (10:19:16 PM): I really don't know anything about music, basically.
RFSL (10:19:21 PM): Cool. So, last question…
RFSL (10:19:39 PM): Where would you go, if you could go anywhere?
sweethurt (10:20:09 PM): Nice! I'd take my bike to France and ride to an ice cream and/or crepe stand then keep riding my bike to a concert in the park with my beloved. Haha.
RFSL (10:20:30 PM): Well, thanks for all of your time! It was really good talking with you.
sweethurt (10:20:55 PM): Thank YOU.
RFSL (10:21:00 PM): See you on Saturday night.
sweethurt (10:21:07 PM): For sure. See ya then.

- Where Would You Go? MP3


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