Interview- Tapes 'n Tapes back to basics-- even releasing
BY JUSTIN COBER-LAKE
Minneapolis rockers Tapes 'n Tapes took off in 2005 when they self-released their energetic but slapdash debut album The Loon, which was heavily indebted to indie icons like Pavement and the Pixies without seeming redundant.
Minneapolis rockers Tapes 'n Tapes took off in 2005 when they self-released their energetic but slapdash debut album The Loon, which was heavily indebted to indie icons like Pavement and the Pixies without seeming redundant. After a couple years and a few metric tons of blog buzz, they recorded the more polished Walk It Off with Flaming Lips producer Dave Fridmann for XL Recordings, the British label which is also home to M.I.A. and Sigur R³s. But now they've returned to their DIY origins–- self-recording, -producing, and -releasing their new album Outside, which retains the production skills of the sophomore album while returning to the looser feel of the debut. The combination suits them well.
The Hook: What were you going for with the production on Outside?
Josh Grier: Because we spent more time demoing, we realized these songs would benefit from having more space and clarity, and that was our main focus–- that you could pick out everything that was going on. Less of a wall of sound. There was no force in the song of “you have to listen to this.”
The Hook: How does it feel to be back to self-releasing?
Josh Grier: It's been very positive. Since recording and self-producing went so well, it made sense to take that path to the logical extreme of releasing it ourselves. We learned a lot when we were with XL about things we liked or didn't necessarily like about being on a label, so we tried to take away from that how we wanted to do a release. It's been a very rewarding process.
The Hook: Would you do it again in the future?
Josh Grier: Right now, it'd be my first choice. We've always been a band that operates one thing at a time. We put The Loon out ourselves, and things took off. We were kind of overwhelmed by handling the distribution so it worked out great that we were able to pair up with XL.
The Hook: There's a 1950s vibe on "People You Know." Where does that early rock 'n' roll influence come from?
Josh Grier: I definitely grew up listening to doo-wop, old school R&B, Roy Orbison, and Elvis. There was a lot of that on the turntable in the house, and I've always been a fan of the melodies and the overall vibe of that. We definitely talked about the vibe on “People You Know.” It was halfway between a more old-timey song and a drunken singalong.