The also just moved from San Francisco to Brooklyn, which is far more important to our bruised egos after this Forbes debacle. Being able to include them in the catchall "Brooklyn music" description pleases us to no end. They're one of the good ones. See for yourself tonight at the band's first hometown show at Cameo Gallery—one that comes greatly recommended. Maybe bring them a housewarming gift. Maybe a couch? One free of bed bugs would be best. To get to know your new neighbors, we talked to frontman-bassist Shaun Durkan on reasons for the band's move, but also hipsters and rats.
So how did the move happen exactly? Did you guys fly with whatever could fit in suitcases or load up a van and drive across country?
Not that we owned much to begin with, but we purged most of our personal belongings back in Oakland and took what we could onto the plane. I only brought a bass, pedal board and a suitcase of clothing. The Goodwill in Oakland is stacked with good stuff right now.
What neighborhood are you living in now? Have any horror stories about finding a place to live, or has it gone relatively smoothly so far?
Abe (drummer) is in Bed-Stuy, Kevin (guitarist) is in Bushwick, and I'm in Greenpoint for a week until I move to Williamsburg for a month. After that is to be determined. The only horrific aspect so far was the smell on the plane and all the fedoras.
The typical narrative is that a band moves from the middle of nowhere to New York "hoping to make it big." But what makes a higher profile band like yourselves leave an already respected music scene in San Francisco for here?
We've all spent most of our adult lives in the Bay Area, and the consensus was that we all needed a big change on a personal level.
Oh, and we totally hope to make it big.
Did you consider any other cities when contemplating a move?
What do you foresee as being the best and worst parts of living in Brooklyn?
I'd say the best aspect is just the sheer number of great bands playing here right now. Oh, and the rats. And the pizza. The worst aspect is obviously the cost of living here and trying to make that work as a relatively young band.
In your times playing here previously, have you noticed any difference between how the audience responds to your music here and how they respond in San Francisco?
People generally stand and stare in both places. I'm not sure whether that's a reflection of our music or just the overall attitude at shows these days. I'd certainly welcome more movement in general as long as it's not out the front door.
In an interview with The L last year, you described your sound as being "romanticized" but also "fighting in the dark," which I think relates to NYC in a lot of ways. What about New York makes it a fitting setting for your music, or for you to make that music?
I think one of the main strengths of our music is the straddling of extremes. There's sweet melody and harsh noise, and New York is a place of harsh contrast also. Whether you're talking about the weather, the architecture, culture in general, the rats—disparates are joining everywhere you look.
NYC has a storied history of post-punk. Do you think of yourselves as a continuation of that or something else entirely?
I think we're something else.
The cultural mavericks at Forbes just gave the Mission District a lead over Williamsburg in a list of "America's Hippest Hipster Neighborhoods." (The Mission District is ranked at #2, Williamsburg is #3, while The Uptown in Oakland is #9.) Everyone loves to argue about hipsters and rankings, so I'm contractually obligated to ask: In your experience, which neighborhood should top the list: the Mission District, Williamsburg or The Uptown?
Interesting contract you have signed over there at The L. I moved from the Mission to Oakland, and now to Williamsburg. I'd like to think I'm going against the grain but I'm not that foolish. Williamsburg is
the mecca. I saw a rat wearing skinny jeans earlier.
Is this forthcoming album the last one you think you'll record with Monte Vallier in San Francisco, or do you hope to return home to record there again?
Monte has been an extremely integral aspect of our development as a band, but whatever happens next, we won't be returning to San Francisco to record again. We've always been interested in doing a locational recording, so hopefully that's next.
You realize you're screwing everyone over who is used to Googling "Weekend, band, San Francisco" to find the latest info on you, right?
I'm more of a Bing guy myself.