WKND: You guys have all known each other for a pretty long time. How did you meet?
EZRA: We met in [middle school] band class. And then Josh, when he tried out for the band, and we were all crying, so he got in.
JOSH: I got in because they were crying.
LILAH: Well that’s not actually untrue. We auditioned him for a touring bassist, but at the time we were rehearsing in our friend’s rehearsal studio, so we could only do after hours and we would start at 12 and go till 6, and we would drink a lot of energy drinks …
E: Like alcoholic energy drinks.
L: And we were also teenagers, so we were really emotionally irresponsible, awful people at the same time, and basically, by the end of the audition, all of us were crying and Josh was just … chilling? And was fine with it? So we were both like, you are in.
E: And Josh didn’t tell us for a long time that he wasn’t even a bassist. I mean, he was our bassist for like two years before — he was playing keyboard at one point, and we were like, “Wow Josh, you’re a really good keyboardist,” [and then] he was playing guitar and we were like, “Josh, you’re amazing at guitar.” And he was like, “Well actually, those are my instruments … I started playing bass when I joined your band.”
J: I bought my bass a month before I auditioned for the band.
WKND: It’s obvious you guys are super close; how do you translate that relationship into your music without alienating people?
E: I think it’s kind of like inviting people into a home, where there is a domestic relationship. You know what I mean? It’s like, I’m trying not to bicker too much in front of them when they’re over …
L: We want everyone to be having a threesome with our band.
E: But then it’s something that goes really well, where it’s totally chill, and you can all remain friends.
L: Yeah, in all seriousness I think that is our ethos. It’s trying to show our intimacy as a universal experience.
WKND: How do you think your evolving friendships have shaped the music that you create?
E: Endlessly. Many of our songs are addressed to other members of the band, at various times of our relationships’ progression. A lot has been informed by very real processes of people in our band having hard times, and the other members rising to those occasion and being the support system for [them]. All of us having a hard time at the same time, and needing other support systems, occasionally having a good time and all experiencing that together. It’s one of those things I think has been really formative, even on a literal, lyrical level.
L: I think also, in the same way that we as a group of very close friends create safe spaces for personal individual exploration, we also do that for each other musically, even in terms of trying out new instruments. In the same way that we create space for each other to grow as people, we do so to grow as musicians.
WKND: What are some things that you’re experimenting with now?
E: Josh has been playing guitar a lot.
L: Turns out Josh is the best guitarist.
E: Yeah we’ve honestly started playing in this configuration of me drumming, Lilah playing bass and Josh on guitar, which is a configuration we have never done before … It’s been really fruitful, a really nice configuration, but we’re always trying new set ups and really hearing each song and assessing individually.
L: We’re also incorporating a really fantastic little drum pad that figures extremely strange sounds.
WKND: Like what?
E: Well we’re still working on that, but we’re recording the sound of wind, icy river sound, sound of mother breathing when she sleeps, sound of creaking house and we’re gonna equalize them so they don’t resemble themselves.
L: Sound of monks chanting.
E: Yeah our friend went and got a sample of some Tibetan monks from the Bön religion. She taught them one of the chants that we do as a band, and so now we have a nice sample of them doing our chant. And then there’s just this one that makes this sort of roaring sound, like thunder.
E: Yeah, it’s like (ROARRRRR) and you just kind of cackle over it.
J: It’s for when the shows are going really good.
WKND: What would you say is the theme, or the story, you’re trying to tell with your album, “Revol”?
L: Radical feminist insurgency!
E: It’s like the radical feminist insurgency love story.
L: It’s a fairy tale, about radical feminist insurgency.
E: It’s a tale about fairies, who are radical feminist insurgents who fall in love, then they break up, then they’re apart for a while, then ultimately they come back together and then they journey into the brain of an adolescent boy in Iowa. For the last song, we hear his perspective.
WKND: I’m a big fan of using comic art to accompany song lyrics, which you’ve done in the past. Do you think you’re going to expand more into incorporating visual elements into your music?
E: Well, the goal is really to more and more become a multimedia expression outlet. So the incorporation of a lot of different elements — visual elements, video elements, dance elements, written work, drama pieces …
L: Olfactory installations!
E: That’s a big plan; we’re going to start cooking bacon on stage … but really, trying to get deeper into collaboration with artists who work in different media, and just exploring all of us as three people [who] have other mediums that really interest us, and definitely further and further incorporation of all of those elements into more and more of a multisensory performance and presentation of recorded material is the goal.
WKND: How do you envision shows evolving with that in mind?
E: Well I guess to reveal all of our secrets, Caroline … like eventually a roving circus. Which would be sort of a caravan of different bands and theatre troupes, mime and clown posses, witches and wizards, elves …
L: Medicine men, healers …
E: Yeah it would be like a medicine show honestly … We’d give everyone laudanum, and just play them music …
J: There would be a dragon.
E: There would be a narrator … at some point someone would pop a balloon in a very dramatic way.
J: That would start the elephant stampede.
E: Immediately, sometimes we have our friends who are dancers dance while we are playing, we’ve done a couple thing with live artists and hoping to do more of that.
WKND: When I was listening to your album, I picked up on the word “real” a lot. What does realness mean to you guys?
J: In the sense that I’m often using it in the album, it’s having a relationship that is open and honest and not trying to have bullshit conversations and dodging around actual things that are on your mind that you actually want to be talking about with people. A lot of relationships can just fall into that zone of just pretending to connect with people.
WKND: Which song from this past album do you feel most excited about?
L: I think for me the last song, “Post-Future.” That’s the one song that I never get sick of. The first time that Josh played that for us, Ezra and I just both started crying. I think it’s so beautiful, and it’s so perennially true.
E: Perennially true and contemporarily important.
WKND: I was wondering about a line in that song: “Is finding an answer gonna set you free.” I think it’s an interesting way to end an album, and I was wondering if I could hear your thoughts about that.
E: Something we say a lot, which comes from the unofficial tradition that we are a part of, is the idea that we believe in questions but don’t necessarily believe in answers. Good question, Caroline.
L: And that’s why we’re so good at interviews!