Interview: The Beets Are Back (Even Though They Never Really Left)

01/24/2011 11:00 AM |

The L: Did you record your first two albums yourselves?

Juan: The first one we did ourselves at home. We were really naïve about everything &#8212 even today, still.

Jose: The reason we even recorded a record is because somehow we got booked to play with Vivian Girls, who I guess at the time were huge, but we didn’t know there was anything happening in Brooklyn. I remembered hearing somewhere of the Vivian Girls though, and people we calling us, telling us this show was going to be huge, and that there was a buzz about us.

The L: Seriously? You didn’t know about all the bands coming out of Brooklyn?

Juan: If we were never picked up by the Brooklyn scene, we would never had even heard of the Brooklyn scene. [Jose] has to check our e-mail every day to book shows and stuff, so now he kind of knows what’s going on, but I’m still completely out of it.

Jose: We had even talked about starting our own scene. We were like, we have to find bands like us and start a scene.

The L: How did you get hooked up with Captured Tracks then?

Juan: Same thing. At the time, [Mike Sniper, founder] was dating Cassie, the singer of Vivian Girls &#8212 it was even before Captured Tracks started &#8212 and he said he was going to put out a single of ours. We had recorded the album already, so we said, “Put out the whole album.” And he said, “Yeah? Ok.” We had it on tape [at the time]. We just didn’t put it on CD because I didn’t have a computer, so we couldn’t burn CDs. Then we found out that putting out tapes was a cool thing.

Jose: Yeah, I didn’t even know they made records for current bands. Even with this whole lo-fi thing, it had nothing to do with that being the way we wanted to sound, it was more like the means of it. We could only record on tape, so that’s the way we did it, and the quality of the songs, that’s all we knew. That’s how it was with everything.

Juan: Everything that’s happened with us has happened by experimenting and accidents. We used to run the vocals through an amplifier, and people used to think that that was the coolest thing, but we did it because we never had a PA.

The L: The first time I heard of you guys, you were playing a show with The Pains of Being Pure at Heart at Glasslands. [Jeff Klingman] booked it, back in the day, maybe three years ago. And all of a sudden after that show, so many bands seemed to be doing this lo-fi/standing drummer/heavy reverb thing.

Jose: I know! It is really weird. We think about that too. I mean, we didn’t make it up.

Juan: Yeah, we just ripped it off from The Jesus & Mary Chain and The Velvet Underground. But we were doing it for maybe two years here in Queens without having seen anyone else do it.

Jose: I really do believe in a collective subconscious, you know? There’s so many people, I’m sure someone is going to come up with the same thing you come up with at some point.