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Noise Pop Band Spaceships Chat Before Their Melody Lounge Performance Oct. 9

Posted by Billy Gil, October 3, 2014 04:30pm | Post a Comment

Spaceships have come up from being outsiders to L.A. who just started a band together in 2010 to being written up in LA Weekly as darlings of the DIY community. The band, consisting of Kevin LaRose on drums and Jessie Waite on guitar and vocals, recorded their first LP, a blast of brash, melodic noise pop called Cool Breeze Over the Mountains, in the apartment they shared (look for the record in-store!).

Now they've got a month-long residency at Melody Lounge in Chinatown every Thursday night. Oct. 9 will be Amoeba Night, featuring Amoeba employees performing and DJing all night, with Spaceships (LaRose works at Amoeba Hollywood), myself playing in Crystales and DJing with Subtle Cues, and with Amoeba's Sean Evans DJing as well. I took a minute to speak with LaRose about how they got to where they are and what they're up to now.

You self-released your first LP last year. I know you guys recorded it in your apartment, can you talk a bit about how you managed that? Did your neighbors ever complain?

We recorded parts of it in our apartment, but stuff like the drums were recorded in various practice spaces around Los Angeles. Thankfully, no one ever complained.

The sound of it is really great, a sort of mono, full noise with a kind of muffling reverb softening the blows like a blanket. What did you actually use, recordingwise?

That record was a miracle, I think. Basically, it all boiled down to Jessie's ingenuity of being able to MacGuyver shit together. We both had no idea what we were doing, but Jessie was just really intuitive, and she really had an almost preternatural ability to capture the sound of what we wanted with having very little in the way of equipment. It required a lot of patience on both of our parts, and their were some pretty intense moments. It was like some kind of mad scientist nightmare, but in a cool way.

The lyrics don’t seem to be quite the focus, but can you talk about where you draw inspiration from there?

To me, the lyrics are the main focus. While Jessie and I have two completely different writing styles, I can speak for her when I say that she feels the same. If you're going to say "listen to me," whether it be writing a song or a novel or posting a stupid status on Facebook or whatever, you have to believe that you have something to say. Otherwise, it's just irresponsible. Why waste anyone's precious time? What makes you so special? If you don't believe you are saying anything, or if you aren't even thinking about it, you just seem immature. I think a lot of our songs come from a place of attempting to reconcile and overcome very intense human emotions and experiences. They are about overcoming and they are about having hope that things aren't always going to be so shitty.

A pretty wide swath of bands come to mind when I listen to your music, obviously female-fronted lo-fi rock bands like Screaming Females and early Best Coast, but also Dinosaur Jr. and Guided By Voices in the fullness of the guitars and aesthetic, respectively. Who are some of the bands you guys looked to when you decided to form a band?

Honestly, we just started writing with no intention. I hope that doesn't sound pretentious. We just made songs that were intuitive to us. A lot of bands we didn't even start listening to until after we were compared to them. That being said, we definitely have our idols. We looked a lot to bands like Ween, and the Melvins, Nirvana, Phil Spector and his groups, Black Sabbath, etc... And then as we got going we looked to other groups on how to actually be a band. We read Our Band Could Be Your Life and countless musical autobiographies. It's hard to be a band. It's not easy. And sometimes you need to read about the lives of the saints that came before you just to know that it's worth it. If not commercially, then at least spiritually.

Speaking of which, did you guys always play instruments and write music, or was that moment you decided to form a band when you started to do that or take it more seriously?

Jessie grew up writing and recording music like crazy, I think she has hundreds of tapes worth of songs she wrote when she was twelve until now. She would just make this incredibly weird, but insanely beautiful songs just using a dual cassette deck and bouncing tracks. She mostly just taught herself everything. I had been playing drums since I was maybe ten or eleven, and studied them pretty seriously as a teen. I taught myself how to play guitar. But yeah, we always wrote music, but definetly not with the same intensity and intention as we do now. It feels completely different.

You guys seem to be emblematic of being in a DIY band in Los Angeles, but I’m sure there were a lot of learning experiences in the beginning. What were some of the stumbling blocks?

This entire project has been one long learning experience. From figuring out how to be a band, to learning how to collaborate, to learning how to promote a record, to work with other people, publicists, press, promoters, to press a record, to organize tours, to puttiing on shows, to communicating who we are to people, I feel like once you figure one thing out, there are 20 more things to learn. We had to make a lot of mistakes, we had to do a lot of things that didn't feel right. We used to have a bassist, and then we had to realize that we are a two piece, which has it's own share of problems. Basically, the main stumbling block is dealing with your own ego and expectations, once you manage that, if that is even possible to manage, the rest is just working hard.

I love the recordings, but the live shows are a blast. Which do you prefer doing?

They are two different experiences for us. We've always seen them as to different aspects. The recordings are where we just kind of go wild, and let our imaginations dictate the sound, where as, the live shows are stripped down intimacy and intensity, which can be explosive at times and sometimes downright uncomfortable. Either way, if we make someone feel something than we accomplished what we wanted.

What are you working on now, recording-wise?

We just finished an EP for New Professor Music, it was our first time recording a series of songs in the studio, and that was a revelation. Now that that is done, we are working on material for another LP.

I know you guys have been involved with The L.A. Fort and other local venues/causes. Care to plug those things real quick?

Sometimes I feel that a band exists for clubs only for the purpose of selling alcohol. Which is such a bummer. That's why places like the L.A. Fort and The Smell and Pehrspace are so important, as the focus is just on the bands and the audience. There are no cruel intentions of manipulating anyone to do anything other than just enjoy the experience of being and performing at a live music show. You want to drink, that's fine, but that's not why the show is being put on, and that's not how the club exists.

OK, give me your five favorite records.

Man, this changes every day, but right now, I'd say:

Ween - The Pod (The best four track record ever made)

Bob Dylan - No Direction Home Soundtrack (Sometimes you just want alternate versions of the hits)

Leonard Cohen - The Best of Leonard Cohen (The same album cover as The Pod)

The Velvet Underground - The Velvet Underground

Weezer - Pinkerton

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Spaceships (9), Crystales (2), Melody Lounge (2), Interviews (31), Noise Pop (34), La Music (74)