Live @ SXSW: Tapes ‘N’ Tapes, KLRU Studios 3/15

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interview by Jim Beckmann
photos by Chad Syme

Minnesota rockers Tapes ‘n Tapes are on the verge of releasing their sophomore album Walk It Off on April 9th. This effort produced by former Mercury Rev guitarist Dave Fridmann (who’s also worked with The Flaming Lips, Sleater-Kinney, and MGMT) shows more emphasis on lyrics as well as capturing their live sound. Their first-full length The Loon was self-recorded by their now bassist Erik Appelwick and received a lot of initial support from the music blogging community (even winning the first ever “)Gummy(” award from Stereogum for the 2006 breakthrough blog act. The band has played major music festivals including Pitchfork, Siren, and Coachella and has toured with well-known acts (such as The Futureheads and Clap Your Hands Say Yeah). Singer/guitarist Josh Grier, keyboardist etc. Matt Kretzman, Drummer Jeremy Hansen and bass player Erik Appelwick are also embarking on a long US/Canadian tour with support from White Denim before heading overseas.

KEXP: Cheryl was asking about the album itself, and obviously you recorded it differently this time around. Are all four of you involved in the recording of this one? Was that true of the first one?

TNT: It was me (Josh) and Jeremy and our old bass player and Erik (bass player) produced the last one.

KEXP: What was your role in this one?

TNT: (Erik) Bass player. Morocca shaker. Back up vocalist. And I cooked dinner a few times. [Laughs]

KEXP: OK, so I’m starting the interview now…

KEXP: This album is a little different from your first one. You told Cheryl that you were trying to capture a more live sound. Lyrically it seems a little bit different as well. Was it a little different in terms of how you appropriated lyrics into your songs themselves?

TNT: Not really. Generally we’ll come up with the sound and I’ll write the lyrics around that and the feel of the song. I’ll make up a story in my head and make it make sense but it’s always after the fact.

KEXP: The internet thing was also very big thing for you guys. Your last album The Loon (2005) was one of the early ones where the music blogs really making a big deal of an album. Has that changed for you this time around?

TNT: The biggest thing for us right now is that it’s hard to tell because so few people have heard the record. It’s been on lock-down.

TNT: We had it done at the end of October and we’ve had to just sit on for forever.

TNT: But who knows how this one will all play out when people actually start hearing it.

TNT: Granted, the first time around nobody knew who we were and we got a lot of help from the internet. People found out about us online. This time around because of that, more people have heard of us, but I don’t know what the internet’s role is.

TNT: It’s a weird beast, that internet.

KEXP: But you still decided to stream your album live on your website. Is that so you can give people a chance to hear it?

TNT: Yeah, we’ve had this thing done for so long and we’re getting antsy and we knew we were coming down here. We’re playing SXSW and playing all these new songs and nobody’s heard them. So, let’s stream them and hopefully people will listen. Then it won’t be totally unfamiliar. It’s always hard to hear new songs in a live setting.

TNT: We’re kinda at the point where we want the new songs. Well, let’s try to let people hear them. Plus, we’re just excited.

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