Listen to WRVU Thursday and Friday afternoon and keep up with our social media for a chance to win tickets to SALES on March 30th at Basement East. Check out our phone interview with them below.
“It’s a constant grind.”
How have you been doing since the release?
Lauren: We’ve been keeping busy, you know, like we’re an independent band, we got a lot of work to do.
Jordan: Yeah, it’s a constant grind, everyone in this industry would say it seems like it’s all just fun, but you really are working all the time. It’s very fun though.
L: Yeah, Jordan’s working on coding our website right now, we got packages to ship out, I’m making tour posters, we’re working on music.
So you guys have developed a really amazing sound, and it feels like you’re starting to rock a little harder, you come right out of the gate with Spiral, the first track on Forever and Ever. Have there been any specific drivers or influences that brought you in this direction?
J: Especially “Spiral,” that’s one in particular where I was inspired by songs like “Dreams” by Fleetwood Mac, just a really steady bassline.
J: And I personally, my background hasn’t really been in that type of music. I would say throughout the years I’ve been starting to listen to more 60s and 70s rock, which is not something I grew up listening to. So I’d say that’s definitely what inspired the riffs and aesthetic of some of the songs on that record.
“We’re on our own wavelength.”
What did you grow up listening to?
J: Just a lot of electronic music and hip hop. Ton of European techno acts. I think it’s worth mentioning The Prodigy (rest in peace, Keith). Bands like that, Daft Punk, ATB. In the hip hop realm, Dr. Dre. The Chronic, to me, is still one of the most well produced records of all time in any genre. So that’s what I was listening to a lot. Then 2008 came around and I started listening to more indie music, and it’s hard to deny that that was a huge influence on our sound, my sound, like a lot of stuff that we’ve been doing in the past ten years. Lot of Beach House records, Tame Impala, all the stuff people are big into these days.
In your bio, you describe yourselves as “all the pop, no industry bullshit,” which I love. Where do you see pop going?
L: I don’t think Jordan and I are sure, or really care. We’re definitely on our own wavelength. I think we call our music pop because it’s easier and sort of a catch-all.
J: To me, pop means what’s relatable at any given moment. There’s all types of bands and artists making all types of music, so it’s not really pop in the sense of a sound, just what is relatable to people.
“A to B” plays
As far as your progression, it seems like you guys have embraced some innovation in your releases; I think you did a twitch stream for your first album?
J: Yeah, that was really fun, and I think we want to keep doing those. I’m a huge nerd and I watch twitch streams.
Any other tricks up your sleeves we should keep an eye out for?
J: There’s so many creative things you can do on that platform; we’re ultimately focused on the writing and the music for now.
L: We had a fun idea to create our own press channel, like a whole new SALES Universe to make up interviews and interview ourselves, but that’s in the works.
Y’all have been making music for a long time, did it ever occur to you that it would get this big?
J: There was never an intention of making a career out of this; that’s actually something Lauren and I have grown to love. You get the opportunity to make it a career and the last thing you would want to do is throw it to the wind. That’s one of our big strengths; that we’ve been able to adapt to our growth over time and that’s really why we’re here today.
L: Definitely didn’t expect to have success, but I always wanted to do music. Like Jordan was saying, we’ve grown with it and we’ve adapted to things. We’re still here and it’s still getting bigger so we’re really grateful for that.
Do you feel gaining this level of support has changed the direction you’ve taken with your music?
J: Once something becomes work in any hobby or passion, it definitely becomes…different. Making music isn’t just about channeling your creativity anymore. It’s like, ‘what’s the next song that will generate royalties?’ That’s a part of the growing; learning how to balance making the stuff you want to make and still considering having a career. I would say something we always stress is to do the work that we enjoy doing, and that’s the ethos. Just don’t make anything that you wouldn’t make.
L: It’s definitely hard for us to keep up with the industry bands, with their press cycles, their album releases. Everything’s on this massive cycle; they have photoshoots and interviews and videos. We’re just two people who love making music together and are just trying to keep up. Like Jordan said, it’s a balance.
Does this tour feel like a different experience this time around? I know y’all have been to Europe…
J: Yeah, that was very early in our career, and I consider it more of a vacation. The turnouts were pretty amazing in some places, like Berlin and London.
L: It’s funny that Jordan called it a vacation, because we played more shows than there were days there. It was actually really grueling.
J: Kind of underplaying it, but that was a boot camp for tour. A lot of what we learned about touring came from that year. It’s just like, you’re going to be playing shows with not many people there; you’re going to have to move your stuff for a mile sometimes with no Uber. Yeah, it was a great experience and we’re excited to go back.
How do you feel the dynamic with your audience changes in a place like Stockholm as opposed to, say, Orlando?
L: I don’t think it necessarily has to do with the city. Sometimes you can tell it’s a Tuesday. It’s very sobering to play a show on a Tuesday. There’s a bit of a difference between American audiences and European audiences. But we had a great time in Nashville last time.
J: A lot of the cities we’ve never been to, the receptions are amazing. That’s not to say people in Orlando aren’t just as excited, it’s amazing to see people in your own city come out, and it feels just as special as anywhere else.
So, Malcolm, you’re a touring member. How do you balance replicating the experience of what’s on the album for a live setting while also adding your own flair?
Malcolm: That’s been a fun challenge for me, just knowing Lauren and Jordan and hearing SALES very early on before I was in the band. I was a fan of the way they programmed the drums and their taste for rhythm. It’s almost cooler that neither one of them played drums because I feel like they’re more inclined to do things that are experimental and off kilter.
When I’m playing out live, I want to stay as true to that as possible and maintain those idiosycracies that I hear on the record, but at the same time I want to give people a reason to not just stay home and listen to the record. I want to bring energy and round out the sound, but again keep it within that SALES universe. I have to definitely give credit to the feedback that Lauren and Jordan give me, and also our audio engineer, Michael, who does a good job helping me narrow down a good drum sound that complements their songs and their guitar work best.
“Do the work we enjoy doing; that’s the ethos.”
Do y’all have any on-tour rituals we should know about?
L: Surge, late night eating club.
J: Yeah as a post-show ritual, we have our late-night eating club, which is usually just me and Michael or Malcolm. Lauren rarely attends. Who’s going to pass up a late night meal?
M: Especially after a long day.
L: Yeah, we do a little whiskey before the show, and every show we have a song at the end called “Number One Hit Single” that’s supposed to be improvise-y and let’s us sort of let the lead out.
M: Be a little more spontaneous, especially when you’ve gotten comfortable with your set, you still want to be able to bring fresh energy, not let it get stale.
Do you write on tour, or is it all focused on being in the live element?
L: I don’t know how people write on tour. I get exhausted.
J: We try, because we run a small operation and literally tour six people at most, everybody is working really hard to run the production; moving stuff around, emails, selling merch, everybody is capable of doing every job. That’s why we tour so economically and effectively, but it does make it hard to be able to work on other things. So when we’re on tour, we’re focused on being prepared for the next show.
L: Eat, sleep, drive, play.
J: We do have a portable studio we bring on the road. It’s one of those things you need to learn to do. I feel like the people who do write songs on tour have been touring for decades.
L: I think our writing process also doesn’t lend itself to writing on the road. We don’t just jangle chords out on an acoustic guitar; we’re in the studio, we lay stuff down very improvised and in-the-moment. If you don’t have a moment to spare, you won’t get very far.
J: I like arranging music, so if I can’t play them back instantly, it’s hard to get into the mode of writing.
“We’re going to become an electronic act.”
“Your Own” plays
What do you see as the next steps in your progress as a band. Do you have a trajectory in mind?
L: Oh, yeah, we’re going to become an electronic act.
L: Like a hundred and ten percent.
J: Yeah, if you want to get spicy with the headline, you know. Back to the whole “making what we want to make,” specifically right now, we’ve been working on a remix of “Rainy Day Loop” and it’s a house-y, club-style remix. We figured this is something we’re capable of doing, so why not?
L: Yeah, Jordan took to that remix like a fish to water. When I was in a punk band, Jordan was making remixes. We were both on our own separate trajectories, so the SALES sound came from us synthesizing rock and electronic music. Now, I’m tired of the rock. I’m ready to go full electronic with Jordan.
J: I think we can bring something to the electronic scene that’s cool. There’s a lot of great acts out there in the electronic realm, a lot of musicianship. Kind of curious about how we can end up at Electric Daisy Carnival.
We promise it will be the SALES sound, no matter the genre. When music becomes a career, you wonder if you have to lock yourself into something, but we’re starting to feel more free to be able to do whatever we want to do. If you want to listen to the indie stuff, the records are there.
Any final messages for our listeners?
L: We love you Nashville!
J: Thanks so much Nashville, can’t wait to see you again, you really blew our worlds last time.
L: See y’all there!
“Rainy Day Loop” plays
Latest posts by Chris Augustinos (see all)
- SALES at Basement East – Ticket Giveaway - March 28, 2019
- STRFKR lifts off at Cannery Ballroom - March 10, 2019
- Goes West – An Instrumental Odyssey from William Tyler - January 29, 2019