It's summertime and I love to play Tennis. No I'm not talking about the sport, but rather the poppy sounds from Denver bread band Tennis. Tennis players Patrick and Alaina released an ear-catching debut album called Young & Old in 2012 and 2 years later they are on the brink of releasing a sporty follow up called Ritual In Repeat in September. Tennis calls their sound 'minimalist pop", but I call it a blast from the past with a twist on the future. This weekend they will perform in Pasadena, Ca at the Make Music event. Before you see them live, get to know Tennis as creative the geniuses they are and their plans to take over the world.
When did Tennis become a band?
We started releasing music and playing shows in 2010.
I am a huge fan of your 2012 album ‘Young & Old’. What are your thoughts and experiences with that album from then until now?
Thank you! It feels like we wrote Young & Old so long ago. At the time, we still worked in a compulsive, unreflective sort of way. Songs manifested as stream-of-consciousness. We didn't realize how carefree we were and the innocence of the songs can attest to that. One of my favorite songs to play live is 'It All Feels The Same'--it's really transformed live. When we play it, I have this very unique experience of observing my early potential, and realizing it at the same time.
‘Origins’ is a timeless record in my opinion. How was the song incepted?
When Patrick wrote the music to 'Origins' and played it back for me, I felt like it deserved more serious subject matter. It couldn't be a love song or anything like that. I had been reading a lot of Modernist poetry and literature, which got me thinking about original sin, guilt and personal freedom. I wrote the lyrics to Origins as a sort of sarcastic response to the human condition. I think religion is a harsh judge of human nature, and it was cathartic to work those ideas out in a song.
What music is currently being played when you are not creating your own music?
When we aren't writing we listen to everything, particularly new releases by new artists. But when we are writing, we make a point only to listen to music that we want to influence us. While writing we listened to a lot of Shuggie Otis, ELO, Laura Nyro, Carole King. Now that the record's finished we are catching up with everything that came out in the last year, like the new Dum Dum Girls, Mac Demarco, Perfect Pussy...
Are you playing in any music festivals this year?
No festivals for us this year. We've focused almost exclusively on writing. We are just getting back into playing live after a year off from touring. The time away was really good for us. We are ready to tour again.
I am completely in love with your current website layout at tennis-music.com. A classic Windows 95 theme and it’s all interactive. Who had that brilliant idea? Who designed it?
So glad you like the website! It was all Patrick's idea, and one of my dearest friends, Wes Butler, worked closely with us to turn our ridiculous ideas into a funtioning website. He's a genius.
You have a new EP available now called ‘Small Sound’. What were you looking to accomplish when you went into the studio to record this project? Where did you record this project?
Small Sound was supposed to be our next full-length record. We had ten songs, but when we listened to them it didn't feel finished. Some songs worked together, others didn't. Our solution was to release 5 of those songs as an EP, then write and record another batch of songs with the intention of fleshing out the material we left aside. That enabled us to write with clear vision. We knew what the record was missing and wrote to fill the holes. It was so much more work, but I'm glad we did it.
What is something you hope to accomplish by the end of this year?
Our goal for the year is to step up our live show. We came into this inexperienced, and have been playing catch up ever since. Three years later, we're finally at a place where we can control what's happening onstage--like we can convey a message or cultivate an experience.