How Does It Feel to Sign to Merge Records? We Spoke to Local Pop Outfit Hospitality to Find Out

09/08/2011 9:46 AM |


After years toiling in the local music scene, quietly perfecting their lace-collar, curiosity-shop pop while encouraged by an occasional token of approval (Stereolab asked them to open a NYC show in ’08, Stereogum designated them a “band to watch” in ’09, we did the same that spring), news came this week of the biggest confidence boost to have hit Hospitality yet. Merge Records signed them. Merge Records, as in the home to Superchunk, Neutral Milk Hotel, Arcade Fire and too many other well-respected names to list here… kind of a big deal.

Singer-songwriter (also guitarist-pianist) Amber Papini took a moment to tell us how joining their roster came about it and how she’s going to celebrate. Live vicariously through her after the jump, then listen to a new track from their forthcoming debut full-length slated for release early next year, via Merge, duh, and catch the band as part of the label’s (now sold-out) CMJ showcase with Wild Flag and Eleanor Friedberger at Bowery Ballroom on October 18.

Sooo, how’d it happen? Did Merge make the first move or have you secretly been sending them demos every day for the past few years?
We finished most of the record in February of 2011 and wanted to shop it around to labels. Scott Jacobson, a music video director (Fiery Furnaces, Superchunk and Stephen Malkmus) and a fan of Hospitality offered to help us get the record to Merge and some other labels. He sent it to Merge and they liked it.

Who would you say is your all-time favorite Merge artist?
Gosh, so many! That’s hard. I have a lot of favorites, but one of them is Destroyer. He is one of the few songwriters that inspires my writing.

On the press release announcing your signing, Merge describes your music as creating a “cinematic vision of New York City.” How important would you say the city is to your music? Do you think the band would sound the same if you were based someplace else?
I wrote these songs after moving to New York. It’s a very difficult, frustrating and wonderful place to live. I think all these strong feelings helped me create the songs.

Any tidbits you can share regarding the upcoming album? Has the material been circulating at your live shows for a while now or is it all relatively fresh?
We play all the songs from the record at most of our shows.

The song “Friends of Friends” (listen below) seems to have a little more bite than the more delicate-treading tracks on the EP. Would you say this carries out on the rest of the LP?
“Friends of Friends” is one of the more rockin’ songs, but there are other more mellow songs.

What’s the first thing you’re going to buy when you start cashing in on majorly huge record sales and touring with Arcade Fire?
More studio time to make another record!

Hospitality – Friends of Friends by MergeRecords