Friday, July 30, 2021

A conversation with Oregon band LAUNDRY as we countdown to their new album 'Movie Star'

Did you hear the one about the band that formed in a laundry room?

 Laundry are an exciting young band from Eugene, Oregon with a fresh, varied sound and an undeniable work ethic. 

Meeting in their university dorm room and bonding over their shared love of music and the Eugene band scene, members Nik, Riley, Cal, and Kiki have come a long way from their humble beginnings of rehearsing in the dorm laundry room (hence their effortlessly cool name). 

Releasing a new single every other Saturday until their album comes out this September, Laundry are creating a world for their listeners and melding their influences and styles resulting in funky, catchy music with great character. 

With three lead singers and a range of influences including everything from The Beach Boys and Prince to straight-up jazz, the balance and flow between the members and their collaborative creative approach gives their music an irresistible quality that will leave you wanting more. We sat down with the members of Laundry to talk about their approach to writing, staying connected as a band, and learning as you go.

It sounds like your upcoming album, 'Movie Star' will be concerned with musical world building for listeners. What inspired you to approach an album like this and how does the new character-driven single 'Don't You Dare' play into that?

We consume a lot of media together as a band. A lot of what we do as a band (when we aren’t playing music) consists of watching movies and TV shows, which bleeds a lot into our songwriting. I know that when I (Kiki) and probably the band are watching TV, we are often asking ourselves the question: “Could I borrow from this world/character, and would it make a good song?”. ‘Don’t You Dare’ specifically was heavily influenced by Mark Koezelek’s lyrics on the album ‘Perils from the Sea’. In particular, the lyrics: 

Broke into her house, saw her sitting there / Drinking coke and whiskey in her bra and underwear” from the song ‘You Missed My heart’, directly inspired the line “Walk into the kitchen and she isn’t there / Sitting at the top of the stairs; she drinks whiskey with a towel wrapped around her hair”. A lot of my songwriting consists of finding a reference point from another song, movie, book, poem or TV show and then using that as a pivot point to write my own story.

Three lead vocalists is unusual for a band, how do you view your different roles in the band and how do you balance things so well? Does this affect the band's approach to writing?

Presenting a unified front with three different vocalists with drastically different approaches to songwriting has been an ongoing learning process for us. We are finding a better and better balance by being less individualistic and precious about the individual ownership over our songs. Our writing has become a lot more collaborative as a result, since it’s much easier to be unselfish when everyone has stock in each song.

As a band that was previously used to performing very often, how have you guys adapted after a year or more of no live performing? How have you managed to stay feeling connected to your audience?

We are very excited to start performing again, but I don’t think the break from shows was a completely negative thing for us. Playing shows (for all of us to varying extents but with the possible exception of Nik) can be very exhausting, over-stimulating and physically painful for those of us with injuries. The break for me at least was overdue in a sense, and it was quite nice to spend a year just focused on writing a good album. As far as staying connected to our audience, we try to be transparent about what we are working on, so that they know what they can expect to see from us in the future. This being said, we're so happy to get back to it!

You've previously expressed that it's difficult to characterise your music or attribute it to a genre - what's the best description you've heard from a listener that feels like a true reflection of what your sound is? Have you had a comparison or description that you don't like or agree with?

We try to allow people to characterize us however they see fit, as music is something that is meant to be interpreted. This being said, one time we were compared to Phish which seemed a little off-base to us haha. We've been told our music is sort of like the laundry machine, just toss it all in and mix it up. Since all four of us have such different tastes, from the Beach Boys to hard bop, we end up writing such wildly different stuff that it is usually more of a challenge to present some sort of consistency rather than it being hard to switch things up. 

According to your website, you guys share a home in Eugene with a cat, a dog, and two rats, is this still the case?  How do you find the creative process works better or worse when you and your bandmates are so close?

This is still the case! It’s pretty vital for us to feel connected to each other as friends as well as collaborators. Being in a band is a lot like being in a relationship in a sense. There are definitely

challenges, since we have to balance the feelings, personalities, and preferences of four different people in a very small space. However, we have always been able to work through that together, which makes us more skilled collaborators in our creative process.

You've mentioned bands like Spiller who came before you in Eugene and "showed you the ropes" so to speak. Are there any up-and-coming bands in your area that you're excited about that you may see yourselves creating a path for?

I don’t know if I’d say we need to “show them the ropes” since some of these bands have been together in Eugene for as long/longer than we have, but we are especially in love with Growing Pains, Gentlebeing, and Novacane just to name a few. We savor any opportunity to play with these bands and send any opportunities we possibly can their way.

What advice would you give any young bands starting out in a college dorm or laundry room somewhere right now?

Don’t be afraid to start somewhere! We still laugh at a lot of choices we made on our first album, but it was all a part of the journey. The most important thing is just to get in the practice room and have fun. The rest will come with time. 

Laundry’s new singles ‘Don’t You Dare’ and ‘WatchTV’ are out now for your listening enjoyment.

Aoife McMahon

Image: Don't You Dare Single Artwork

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comment Here;