Glowing pink and radiating a scorching, indie-rock heat, *repeat repeat’s new album Floral Canyon is audio candy that never gives you a sugar headache. The band has an affinity for surf-rock, but this record is a collision of styles. It opens with “Everybody’s Falling in Love”, a song that makes one think of sunsets, Oahu, and Scott Caan’s receding hairline. That being said, this is the only track off the album that really fits the genre. What follows is a devolution. Slowly but surely, the music gets stranger and stranger and though it never loses it’s surf-rock tinge, by the end of the record you might mistake *repeat repeat for a garage-rock outfit from Brooklyn.
Apparently, Floral Canyon has been sitting in the vault for quite a while. *repeat repeat has (selfishly) kept the album from the general public for almost two years. Not anymore. We have the record now and based on the band’s recent string of successes, *repeat repeat’s fans are not going to let them fade into obscurity. An oddball mix of bright, radio-friendly pop, bizarre sound-bites, and dulcet boy/girl harmonies, Floral Canyon kicks all kinds of ass. We sat down with Jared (guitar/vox), Kristyn (keys/vox), and Andy (drums) and discussed podcasts, marriage, and the band’s history in this All Things Go extended interview. We also made fun of the group Train, a lot; apologies to Patrick Monahan.
Your publicist sent me a press release about you guys and in it, you were referred to as “Dick Dale’s snot-nosed grandkids.” With that in mind, who are your musical influences? Who were you listening to as a kid?
J: I grew up on a lot of west coast punk rock. [I listened to] NOFX and Bad Religion and Dickies, stuff that made me think I wanted to be a super cool, skater, punk-rock kid. That was a big influence of mine. I was always under the influence of angsty, loud, fast, guitar-driven punk.
A: I was more into 90s indie rock. I liked a lot of Superdrag and I was a huge fan of the Gin Blossoms and bands like that.
K: My dad was the oldest of a bunch of california kids so i grew up listening to The Mamas and The Papas and The Beach Boys and The Everly Brothers. You know, beachy, 60s era, heavy harmony stuff. You can probably hear that pretty clearly in our music.
J: We feel like this record is a conglomerate of all three of those. It’s got loud drums and guitars, but it still has an indie rock edge, and it’s got these big 60s harmonies. We kind of wanted to make it a big mash of all three of those things. It can sometimes be a little divisive because we call it “surf-rock” or “surf-rock candy” because it’s the easiest thing to spout out. People kind of get this one specific idea that we’re going to sound like Los Straitjackets or something, but we’re not trying to define ourselves [by] the surf-rock genre. We want to make what excites us.
I feel like in the last 10-15 years, people’s musical tastes have been less defined by genres. Did you guys make a conscious decision to create a very 2017 album or is this just a coincidence?
J: Not at all. We made the record almost three years ago. We put out our first record and we were going to let that record breathe for a few years but [then] we made [Floral Canyon] with the hopes that we’d have a year [or so] to find the right team and the right label. It ended taking twice that amount of time. [It was] to the point where we [were starting to think] “are we even doing the right thing? Are people into this? Are we making something that’s worthwhile?” It just so happened that in the last two or three years, everybody [started] liking all different kinds of music. Now that [the record] is out today, it feels like the universe was wanting us to wait until now. It feels like the right time. It wouldn’t have been the right time two years ago.
How do you feel about the more or less instant success of the singles prior to the album’s release?
J: We put out the first record independently. That’s why you can’t find it anywhere. While that was a good introduction to our sound, we didn’t really feel that it was representative of us anymore. That being said, we feel like the songs have done really well, but we put out Mostly and Plugged In almost a year ago. Watching them grow took a lot of time. When we put out Girlfriend, we’d already signed to a label and had a team. Girlfriend did 200,000 plays in three and a half weeks. That was really vindicating. We’re not very good at not working, so we’re always constantly doing stuff with the band and trying to evolve. When we see a song like that do really well right out of the gate–I think it beat out U2 for most radio stations added in the US– it’s really vindicating. We’re really excited and proud of that and we think people are starting to catch-on. You spend the beginning of your career as a musician trying to convince people why they should give a shit about you. We feel like we’re starting to see people give a shit.
I feel like the fact that you have all these podcast episodes merits a discussion. What’s up with the podcast? I couldn’t find you on Patreon or anything. Is it more for fun?
J: Our next step is Patreon. We spend hours and hours on the road listening to music and podcasts. We just wish there were more of our favorite bands doing podcasts because you know, when you fall in love with a band you want to know everything about them. The podcast was really just a way for us to go beyond a Facebook post.
K: We also have all our awesome friends doing stuff in Nashville that we want to support.
J: Yeah, all our friends are musicians or artists or do cool things in Nashville. [The podcast] is a way for us to etch out time to have beers with our friends, and to get them on the mic and find out what they’re up to. We feel like the people who listen to the podcast really get an inside look at what we’re like, whereas an instagram post is not very intimate.
You said you listen to a lot of podcasts. What kind of stuff are you into?
J: We love Song Exploder. Lore is another one. We also listen to Marc Maron’s podcast and a lot of interview podcasts. Funny enough, the guy from that band Train has a podcast and we thought it was gonna be so bad because, well, none of us are really big fans of their music.
It’s okay, you can say that Train is bad.
J: Oh, okay I didn’t want to offend you or Train.
K: [Patrick Monahan] seems like a really nice guy.
J: He had Fitz and The Tantrums on there and they’re our label mates. So we listened to it and thought “wow this is actually pretty neat.” They were talking about all the things we can relate to like touring and the grind and everything. The only minus is that [the host] is in Train. Besides that, it’s actually really neat and informative.
Let’s talk about your music for a little bit instead of Train. Is the soundbite at the end of the song Hang it Low a recording of Father Coughlin?
J: It’s an old preacher from the thirties that we found in the public domain. I wanted the preacher to be at the end of Hang it Low so that if you’re listening on vinyl, it makes sense. [The soundbite] is a precursor to Speaker Destroyer, the last song on the record. It’s about me having a really religious upbringing and being out in the world now. [I feel] like there’s this one thing keeping people from saying what they mean or from leaving the church and that’s the fear of death. That’s the topic of that song and that’s why that preacher is talking about how no one wants to die. I think the idea of death scares a lot of people into believing in things that they’re smart enough not to believe in.
So the album starts off with Everybody’s Falling In Love. To me, this song fits the surf-rock genre more than the rest of the record. The album seems to slowly pull away from surf-rock the further into it you get. Is that by design?
J: It totally is actually. Our first record Bad Latitude didn’t see a lot of faces but we toured for a good year and a half with it. That record had a similar style in that it was conceptually surf-rock, but towards the end of the record it started to get a little darker and a little beefier. With this record we wanted to do the same thing. Right out the gate we knew we were doing this surf thing and that people were comparing us to that. We wanted to have our opening track be like [that]. It’s so dumb. It’s just “Everybody’s Falling in Love”. You can’t get much simpler than that. We wanted it to be a big, dumb, surf, love song. Once we introduced that, we could introduce new themes, and start changing it up. By the end of the record, we wanted to open the door for ourselves so we could be more creative in the future. I don’t ever want get pigeonholed into one specific thing.
Krysten and Jared you guys are married correct?
Is touring together and playing together tough, or is it more of a dream come true?
K: Jared and I have been married for five years and have been together for six. We have spent one accidental night apart ever.
When you say “one accidental night apart” do you literally mean that there was only one night in six years that you didn’t sleep in the same bed?
K: Yeah. It was an accident and the only time it’s happened over six years. We were on the phone that whole night because we couldn’t believe he was separated from me. I think for a lot of people it would pose a lot of problems but I think for us, we just do everything together. It’s a lot easier for us to share the same stories and same experiences than it is to be living two different lives. It’s a whole lot easier for us to do this together.
J: I think it’s the best because you don’t have somebody back home asking “when are you going to be back from tour?” and “I miss you.” She gets all the same experiences as I get. I wouldn’t have it any other way.
I haven’t seen any information regarding a tour. When are you guys hitting the road?
J: We’ll be doing a big extended tour in the spring but between now and the end of the year, we’re focusing more on doing radio shows. We have some dates that we’ll be announcing this week. We love playing shows but we don’t want to rush it because we want to play the right shows. That takes some time. Our first show in Nashville after the record comes out is on October 28th. We do a Halloween concert every year (at The Crying Wolf) and we make it free. It’s a huge blowout and it’s the only free thing to do in town.
Anything else of note coming soon?
J: Yeah we have a music video coming out for the single “Girlfriend”. It’ll probably be out in a the next weeks. We are just so proud of that. It looks like a movie. It was this concept that I had that we got the label to agree to and we’re really excited about it.