We chat to a lot of people so we thought we might mix things up by getting indie rockers Sweater Curse and Slow Pulp to chat with each other instead of to us and the result is just glorious.
Sweater Curse has been a much-loved fixture in the Aussie indie rock scene for some time now, and one could say the same about Slow Pulp for the Chicago indie scene.
Since both Sweater Curse and Slow Pulp both dropped new releases recently – the EP push/pull and LP Moveys respectively – we decided to shake up the usual format by getting the two groups to interview each other. It’s not the first time we did it but we were a bit nervous how this would turn out.
And happily, the result is gloriously chaotic and entertaining.
Turns out Monica, Chris and Rei (from Sweater Curse) are big fans of Slow Pulp so getting them to chat to Teddy, Emily, Henry, and Alex was a perfect mix.
So without further ado, please enjoy Sweater Curse and Slow Pulp chatting about life, music, how COVID-19 has affected everyone, and just manic energy all around.
Sweater Curse: Hello! Just to start off, thank you so much for taking the time to chat, I appreciate it a lot. I found some of the songs off EP2 a while ago online and have been a fan since so this is really cool.
I’m in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia at the moment, where things are still a little weird sometimes. It’s getting warmer very quickly and we’re getting the usual storms we do this time of year and copping a lot of the classic Brisbane humidity but the jacarandas are blooming and a lot of streets are so vibrantly purple which is nice.
How are you all? What’s it like where you are at the moment? I hope you’re all staying safe and feeling alright!
Slow Pulp: That sounds so lovely! We would love to be in Australia right now. Things are starting to cool down in Chicago as we head into winter. Although right now we are having an abnormally strange week where it’s 70 degrees in November. Global warming in action yikes! But we are doing well! We recently started playing music together again after a few months of being in quarantine. Feels so nice to be back together again.
Hope you guys are staying safe as well! What was the music scene in Brisbane like pre-COVID? What’s it like now??
SC/Chris: Pre-COVID Brisbane feels like a really supportive and collaborative scene where from a bands point of view I think people get excited for other bands wins. From a punter’s point of view it’s also great because there was always so much going on. I think especially at the start of this year it was looking really exciting with Fortitude Music Hall bringing world class bands to Brisbane which is kinda something we used to to miss out on a bit.
I think during COVID venue restrictions it feels like people have gotten more excited for local bands and have been more supportive. It’s actually been really cool to see smaller bands sell out their shows and has given more opportunities to local bands to be able to play in bigger venues. Obviously it’s tough because we can’t tour but it’s been really nice seeing how the Brisbane scene has been supportive of each other!
Check out ‘All The Same’ by Sweater Curse:
SC/Rei: I was listening to the good convo podcast you did a little while back and loved the idea of Moveys being a coming-of-age film but for someone too old to be coming-of-age. I can totally see it, especially with the range in sound and mood across the tracks in the record. It’s been so nice to hear some new sides to Slow Pulp. What’s your favourite song off the album at the moment and what kind of scene would that be if the album was a movie soundtrack?
SP: Collectively our favorite song has been ‘Track’. That one was one of the more collaborative songs between the four of us on the record, and we are really happy with how it turned out. In terms of a scene of a movie, that one is harder to place. It’s the only song on the record that isn’t this internal dialogue. This is kind of dark haha but maybe it would happen after the loss of a loved one. Doesn’t have to be death could be a falling out with a friend or a difficult break up.
Your recordings sound so sick, there’s a very live energy to the tracks. What’s your recording process like?
SC: Thank you so much! We have our producer Sam (Cromack) to thank for that. For our last EP he wanted to record us live rather than working with a click and then build upon the best takes. We had toured pretty extensively that year and the year before so we had these songs down pretty tight. Listening back it was nice to have those subtle changes in tempo too. I think our track ‘All The Same’ really benefited from this. As a drummer it was freeing not to have to try and find a balance between following the click and a guide track [laughs].
Slow Pulp to me are a very DIY band, you’ve painted your own artwork for some singles in the past, the new album is produced and mixed by Henry and even the music video for the album opener ‘New Horse’ is directed by Alex which is all incredible by the way.
Could you give a quick shout out however to the people outside the band who played on the record? Or helped put it together? How did some of those collaborations come together?
SP: We worked with so many wonderful people on this record. On the record our friend Willie played pedal steel guitar and harmonica on Montana, Molly Germer played gorgeous violin on ‘Falling Apart’, and my dad played piano and engineered my vocals. One of Henry’s painting professors from college Nancy Mladenoff made a painting in the early 2000s that Henry found on her website when we were making the record and we all felt like it was a great fit for the album artwork.
SP: How did you all meet!?
SC: I think we all met properly at uni! Chris and Mon had started uni at the same time and were already working on a little bit of music together. I was in my final year but loved their previous projects and would often go see them play or see them at the same house parties. People also used to hear one of Chris’ old bands practicing and mistake it with my band at the time.
I got a lot of compliments about how good we sounded when it was actually Chris [laughs].
Check out ‘Track’ by Slow Pulp:
SC: What does the term Moveys mean to you all? Was there a certain meaning to it that led you to choose that as the album title?
Just from a listener perspective it seems like it acts as a nice common thread through a few different aspects, from the soundtrack/cinematic feel of the album to the dances in the music video to the “MOVE IT” etc in the title track.
SP: Honestly you nailed it! It started as the title of the last song ‘Movey’, which acts as a sort of credits song for the end of the record. The word continued to take on so many different meanings as we were making the record: traveling around the country, Emily’s history with dance, themes of movement and personal growth and a kind of cinematic quality about the music. The word just clicked with us as a way of tying these themes together, and it felt like it was the right title for the record.
SP: What are your favorite spots around Brisbane / favorite things to do? Anything you would recommend to someone visiting for the first time?
SC: I feel like a picnic at New Farm Park is a nice thing to do in Brisbane and it’s where a lot of us often catch up with friends. Mon mentioned taking a walk along the river in whichever suburb you’re in, there are a lot of parks and nice walks all along the river! Enoggera Dam is also great when the humidity gets a little much.
After shows you might find us at Blutes bar for karaoke haha. The majority of the venues in Brisbane are in this area too! If not they’re at West End, where they’re sometimes organised by our favourite record store Jet Black Cat!
There’s a new venue there called the West Room that’s just about to open and my favourite bar in Brisbane, The End, is around there too. For international touring bands visiting for the first time, I would recommend cuddling a koala at Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary actually haha. Hope y’all get the chance to visit the best city in the world in the near future!
SP: What are your favorite bands at the moment? Who are you listening to?
SC: Lately I’ve fallen into a habit of listening to the same three or so artists over and over for a period of time but it’s been nice. Currently it’s Slow Pulp, DIIV and Loving for me. Chris has been listening to Screamfeeder, Ball Park Music (our producer Sam’s incredible band) and Indigo De Souza, and Mon is back on the Avalanches (especially the new track with Blood Orange), Dominic Fike and Wafia.
Do you find yourself listening to a lot of the same artists as well? If so what are your current on repeat bands or albums? Any of your friends’ music to recommend?
SP: First of all wow thank you! Loving and DIIV are fantastic! Honestly haven’t been listening to a ton of music since finishing the record. On sensory overload haha. But we have really been into Tomberlin’s most recent EP. She is such a great songwriter. A couple of us have been revisiting Yankee Hotel Foxtrot by Wilco and in the fall pretty much any Yo La Tengo album.