The L:How did opening for Pavement this summer come about? Did the band personally ask you?
Jose: It was so weird. We were on tour, and we got an e-mail from their booking agent, I guess, and he was like, “Hey, I was curious if we were able to offer you a spot opening up for Pavement at Central Park, would you do it?” I was like, “Yeah, I think we could do that, no problem.”
Juan: We had never heard of Pavement…
Jose: I knew a couple of their songs, but they’re, like, huge. It’s so interesting though, and probably every band has stories about all these little connections and stuff, but it started with this guy who writes a blog for The New York Times — he’s a food critic and bought our record because the name of our band is The Beets — and he really like the art work. So he e-mailed [Matt Volz], who does all of our art, and bought a t-shirt from him. But it took Matt a year to design it or something, so I went with him finally to drop it off at his house and ended up hanging out for a little bit. He was super nice and just had a baby. And I guess he’s friends with the bassist of Pavement, who lives in Woodside.
Juan: Yeah, he bartends at a bar on Queens Boulevard. And I think each [member] got to pick a band to open.
The L: I was at that show, actually. I remember someone made a comment that the best line of the night was, “Hey, we’re The Beets. Be sure to stick around for Pavement,” which is kinda funny…
Juan: I think it’s best for a band to do things like that. I say things like that on purpose. I love bands that make people think, “These guys are such assholes.” I don’t think I’m an asshole, but I love when bands do it, so I do it too. We tell people that we’re the best band ever ‘cause if we don’t think that way we can’t go any further. I mean, I really like Tyvek, and the German Measles and the Beachniks, but I’d rather be us.
The L: You do have this sort of slacker, jokey image to a certain degree, but then some of your lyrics are really sweet and soft. They’re not all party, party, party.
Juan: Right, right. None of the songs are about partying, and I make sure I never say “fuck” or “shit.” I mean, it’d be crazy, why would I ever want to say that in a song? Well, except for maybe one song. But it’s all pretty much about feelings and stuff.
Jose: I do really feel that we’re one of the best bands, and if somehow we could get people to listen to the lyrics and what we’re doing…
Juan: And also the message of the band. It’s a really soulful message and healthy for people to hear.
The L: What is the message, if you had to sum it up in a sentence?
Juan: The message of the band, to me, is to make sure what you’re doing is sincerely yourself. And if you do it with your heart, then I don’t think any of the lyrics will be bullshit.