Every Monday through Friday, we deliver a different song as part our Song of the Day podcast subscription. This podcast features exclusive KEXP in-studio performances, unreleased songs, and recordings from independent artists that our DJs think you should hear. Each and every Friday we offer songs by local artists. Today’s selection, featured on the Midday Show with Cheryl Waters, is “To Catch a Thief” by Sports from their self-titled, self-released debut EP.
The thing about growing up in the digital age is the technological advantage young musicians have today in the realm of electronic music. While no one can question the electro pioneers like Kraftwerk and Gary Numan whose skills, technique, and style forever changed the landscape of our audio lives, there seems to be a sense of effortlessness in the musicians today. In Seattle where the musical climate wavers somewhere between hip hop and roots a smaller but not by no means shallower pool of bands are embracing their digital roots in a city constantly in a quest for analog. Seattle electro-popsters Sports make minimalistic dreamy tunes reminiscent of Tacoma band The Nightgowns. Today’s song, “To Catch a Thief,” inspired by the way-before-their-time Hitchcockian drama features layered vocals, not overly synthy melodies, and subtly catchy hooks.
Whitney Gould, one-half of the songwriting team behind Sports took a few minutes to shed a little light on this new project.
First of all, who is Sports and how did you guys come together??
Sports is made up of Matthew, Michael, and Whitney. We all used to be in indie rock bands together. Those bands sort of fell apart. Michael and Whitney started playing electronic music. Then we added guitars and vocals again, mostly because we wanted to make pop music that reminded us of stuff we heard growing up, like Duran Duran and Madonna, but also like stuff we got into later, like the Cure and Giorgio Moroder. We also decided that adding guitar and vocals makes the band more interesting live. Then Matt joined the band. We are currently working on our first album.
It took some creative Google search terms to find you guys. How did you decide on calling the band “Sports”?
We are not really into ‘sports,’ the collection of leisure activities, but we agree that Sports is a rad band name. We also agree that it is hard to Google, but then a lot of things are.
What’s your songwriting process? Is there a primary songwriter or is it pretty collaborative?
Michael and Whitney write the songs together and separately, usually trading loops and tracks and whatnot back and forth until there is something solid to work on as a ‘song.’ Then Michael adds guitar, Whitney adds vocals, and Matt adds charm, bass, and keyboards.
What can you tell me about “To Catch a Thief?”
It was our first official ‘song’ that we finished. It is about the Hitchcock film. It is supposed to be John Robie’s inner monologue after he is faced with his old life as a cat burglar. He is alone in his mansion, just living the life, and then all of the sudden he has to think about his old life, back when it was all stealing expensive jewels, running around in the resistance, hanging out with beautiful women. It is not a scene by scene representation… more of a half remembered rendering of the general feelings Robie must have had… boiling his life’s drama down to four and a half minutes.
Did you guys make any New Year’s resolutions?
Michael: Increase my slow cooker usage and conduct more experiments…
Matthew: Learn how to program music on Logic
Whitney: Run a marathon, read more, cook more, see Tron Legacy, find obscure books and films to base songs on