Wednesday, 4 July 2012
Indietracks interview #19: The Smittens
Here’s our final band interview of 2012, and what better way to round things off than with familiar Indietracks faces, The Smittens! The Smittens are a hard-working globe-trotting independent American twee pop band from Burlington, Vermont who like to think of themselves as friends first and open-hearted indiepop revolutionaries after that. Max Andrucki, Colin Clary, Dana Kaplan, Holly Chagnon, and David Zacharis switch up instruments, song-writing, and singing to create brilliantly lyrical and hyper-catchy pop songs of all shapes and sizes.
Hi, we hear you've got a new album coming out on Fika in July - can you tell us a little bit more about that?
We've been recording songs for a few years. We actually record as we write and arrange, so it has been a long time coming. For a while we weren't settled on its home. We are really proud of it and wanted to make sure it had a proper release. We were overjoyed to begin a relationship with Tom at Fika and he has been a phenomenal person to work with. Since a lot of our following is UK-based it just makes sense. It's fitting that we're debuting the album at Indietracks given the artwork. We have just heard that the LPs will in fact be available for sale at Indietracks! We think it's our best album yet, but we always think that...
You're an Indietracks stalwarts now - what's your favourite thing about the festival, and what's your top Indietracks tip for anyone who hasn't been before?
Bring hardboiled eggs. A cheap protein boost for pop kids on the go. Also some kind of fruit and/or vegetable to keep things movin'. We also like to play I spy the queers. There's usually at least two others. It's a great chance to be a part of the largest indiepop gathering on earth. It's like Burning Man or Gathering of the Juggalos but more polyester and with cuter boys. Make sure to get there early to catch a show in the church. Bring a *lot* of cash so you can buy all the merch and junk food you want. Keep an eye out for the pop-up acoustic shows in the tents. That's where Tallulah Gosh had a brief reunion; you never know what you can catch. The worst part is when the beer all sells out and then the bathrooms close. We have no advice about how to deal with this situation. For non-British readers: the beer is sold by percentage of alcohol, so start high and work your way down.
You've been on a pretty big American tour in May and June in places ranging from Los Angeles to Seattle. Do you have any funny tour stories to share?
That was what we did last year instead of Indietracks. It was fun and odd to tour the US again. Such long distances between shows... We travelled with Mark Monnone from the Lucksmiths and that was a trip. Colin and Mark had an adventure of their own in Portland. We got a lot of hot tub time with our pals Sean and Cori from Tullycraft on what was apparently the only sunny day in Seattle in 2011. For the last leg of the tour we had our own personal yoga trainer. Our chi was off the hook. As they say, namaste.
You recently celebrated your tenth birthday as a band - what have you got planned for the next ten years? :)
God, ten years. Longer than any of our longest relationships. But we're on the brink of a new Smittens era. Dana has shed the "she" pronoun and is now "The Smitten Formerly Known as 'Lady'". We've added a new vocalist called Missy Bly. In the coming years we'd like to hit more new countries with pop scenes - Spain, Italy, Japan, Singapore, Australia, Hong Kong. And maybe actually get to the middle of our own country. Texas?? We're in it for the long haul. Or, who knows. Maybe babies and more cats will come along too. We're constantly re-arranging. I mean, isn't anything? The bigger question is, will Indietracks still be happening?
What's going to be on your compilation tapes as you travel down to Indietracks?
We await to see the set up in our rental van. Thank you for asking this question. It's giving us the opportunity to bicker about who actually listens to what. We are currently way into Cats On Fire, The European, Burning Hearts, Architecture in Helsinki, Standard Fare, Magnetic Fields, The Beets, The Indigo Girls, and "The Risk" podcasts
Do you have any surprises in store for Indietracks?
Colin bought a new pair of jeans!! And, see above.