photo by Sarah Joann Murphy
interview by Rachel LeBlanc
Rachel: How did the shoe-gaze, experimental group Ships, comprised of members from The Lashes, Kay Kay and His Weathered Underground, the Divorce, and Heather Duby–a seemingly Seattle “supergroup”–come about?
Laurie: This project started in my living room with Jacob playing guitar (all the time) and me playing bass and dulcimer (not as much of the time) Over last winter and spring, while sporadically unemployed, it slowly grew, and then all of a sudden we decided to go for it and include others in the project to see where it would go. We asked Garrett to play our first show with us, and then soon after we were lucky to have Shane jump on board! Hence, Ships.
Jacob: I remember the exact moment when Ships was formed. Just before the Bad Juju became Moebar, Laurie and I were sitting there with beers on the table, waiting for out of town friends to join us–they were playing next door at Neumo’s. To give you some perspective on the time frame, The Lashes were taking a much needed break, Heather Duby had just decided to move to Philadelphia, and I had “killed” the Jacob James singer-songwriter project a few months prior. Both Laurie and I had known we wanted to play music together, but neither had mustered up the courage to ask the other. In the course of normal conversation, we were talking about our favorite “couple” bands. Viva Voce, Sonic Youth, and Whalebones were among the many that we talked about. We talked about how sexy it is to play music with someone you’re dating and how dangerous it is too. Who could resist the draw of sex and danger? Not us. How lucky we were some months later to find half of the recently defunct Divorce out there. Garrett played our first show and Shane was in the audience. Outside I bummed Shane a smoke and he was freaking out; The Divorce had just broken up and he had just realized that day that it was the first time in seven years that he didn’t have a show booked to play. Lucky for him, we already had one booked. I am so lucky to have found such talented, groovy, intelligent people to play music with. It’s like a four-way match made in e-harmony heaven, with one girl, and one guy who’s gay. And two straight dudes — however that would work.
Rachel: From your previous band experiences, what mistakes have you learned from that you don’t want to repeat?
Laurie: Probably taking a more passive musical role in the past because of other things going on). Letting one person feel pressure to call all the shots — that’s just unnecessary.
Jacob: I’m always eager to make more mistakes. One I won’t repeat is the mistake of dreaming about signing a huge major-label deal. In this new age of digital media, it just doesn’t exist anymore. Getting the Ships records out there is the main priority, as songs are really the only currency in the indie rock game now; either you’ve got them or you don’t.
Rachel: What positive aspects are you looking to take from your past, and what have you already used?
Laurie: I think we’re all excited to utilize our past experiences with recording, touring and writing, and to bring those together. We have pretty varied musical backgrounds across the board (except Shane and Laurie — they both seem to come from the land of British rock & dream pop of the darker variety).
Jacob: All of us are multi-instrumentalists, and in previous projects we limited ourselves individually to one discipline, everyone had their role. As Ships grows and progresses, I’m excited to see what new things we will do in terms of instrumentation and performance; we could really do anything with this line up.
Rachel: With all your other projects–Kay Kay, Palmer AK, Ghost Gallery–on top of Ships, how do you find time to sleep?
Jacob: Well, all of us contribute to some amazing and diverse projects, and we’re very happy to be a part of them (Heather Duby, Harvey Danger, Wild Orchid Children, etc). We love the people involved, so we make it work. This is what we love to do! Ghost Gallery is Laurie’s work-outside-of-work (which luckily she can work on while AT work), and so far she hasn’t run into any major time overloads. But about sleep? We find the time. It’s important. We’ll cover the windows with big blankets.
Rachel: We’ve all been anxiously waiting for the CD! What is the hold up? Has there been many tribulations?
Jacob: There’s really no hold up, per se. We just wanted to craft the record in a different way than we’re used to. All of us have had the experience of being in a locked studio for a week or two weeks, and that pressure can sometimes be invigorating. Conversely, it can also be detrimental. You know, the clock is ticking, you’re desperately searching for that perfect tone or patch, and at the end of the day if you don’t get it right, your time is up. We chose to do this EP with Justin Cronk (Vendetta Red, With Friends Like These) because we wanted to create a recording in a more organic fashion. We’re all really close friends, and the greater majority of these sessions have taken place on friday nights where we go, have some drinks, smoke some smoke, and add on to the record bit by bit. The continuity of the songs remains, but nobody’s stressed, and everyone’s happy to be making music instead of stuck at some crowded bar somewhere. We’re really really excited about the record; it should be mixed and mastered before the first of the year. When it’s done, it’ll most definitely be available on our MySpace page.