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

01/24/2011 11:00 AM |

The L: When people describe you as part of the “Brooklyn sound” or the “Brooklyn scene,” does that bug you?

Jose: It doesn’t bother me, ‘cause all we do is play in Brooklyn. It does bother me when people say that we’re a “Brooklyn band” because we’re not; we’re from Queens. And I’ve seen people complain that we always say [at shows], “We’re The Beets, we’re from Jackson Heights,” but I don’t think there’s anything wrong with saying where you’re from. I love the stuff that’s going on [in Brooklyn], and if it weren’t for the Brooklyn scene, we’d still just be playing in Queens and no one would know of us. Now there are people in Australia who know about us. That’s insane. That’s crazy. So I’m all for the Brooklyn scene and being lumped into it.

The L Mag: So after the Vivian Girls show happened, what came next?

Juan: Then everybody wanted to play with us.

Jose: For a couple of years, we were doing, like, three shows a week. And Todd P got a hold of us…

Juan: Yeah, but he would hate on us.

The L Mag: He would hate on you?

Juan: He’d hate on us ’cause we kind of have this bad thing where we always show up to things late. Like, this. If we would’ve done this [interview] at 3pm at Kellogg’s, it would have been bad news. [ed. note: I got a last-minute phone call asking if we could switch the interview to 4:30 in Queens.] So we would be the first band, and we would show up at 9, thinking we’d play at 10, but we were suppose to play at 7. And sometimes we would want to leave ’cause we didn’t want to watch the other bands, and he wouldn’t want us to leave because he wouldn’t pay us until the end. And then one time I called him and he kinda, like, yelled at me because I called him at 11:30 at night, and I screamed back at him over the phone. But he finally paid me that money; it was like 70 bucks.

The L Mag: Well, he seems to like you. You seem to always be playing shows he’s booked.

Jose: Yeah, now we’re cool.

Juan: I think we have a reputation that we’re a hard-working band. I mean, we’ll do whatever you want. We’ll go and do it, we just don’t want to have to deal with that other stuff. Now that we have worked a lot with him and I see him organize these crazy things, I give him lots of props because if it wasn’t for him, our thing wouldn’t have happened. Not just for us &#8212 like I said, we would still be playing here in Queens &#8212 but I mean for other bands. All of those shows that go on every weekend are places that he set up. Well, not all of them, but a lot of them.

Jose: A lot of them were able to start because he started the trend.