Merry Christmas to all and to all a good SPRIGHT!
Let’s face it – Christmas music isn’t always “all that.” There are often too many bells and certainly not enough ROCK. You might even argue that over time the holiday season itself has become more about presents than it has been about presence…so let’s change that up this holiday season – meet SPRIGHTLY MOANS!
This electric two-piece band comprised of Dave and Jeff from Austin, TX keep the volume up whenever there’s space to crank it up and this interview is no exception. We had the good fortune and opportunity to talk with Dave from Sprightly Moans and find out what’s happening with the music, the upcoming debut album in 2014 and I get some tips directly on how to handle the never-ending Christmas season I live a 12th of my year in.
As it turns out – Dave’s got a WICKED sense of humor – one I really dig on personally. Getting to know him a little behind the scenes allowed me to take a few of the traditional “chains” off in this interview and just ask whatever came to mind. No lie – I always love it when these interviews head in that direction…we all know there’s no telling what might be the burning question on my mind at any time.
So let’s find out what those are and how Dave’s own mind works trying to follow me down the rabbit hole of independent music journalism. It might be Christmas but you don’t have to suffer along with Ebeneezer & the carols that come with it. Start prepping your New Year’s Eve today and turn this music up! Curl up beside your yule log, click on one of the active links in the article to take you to some official music to listen to while you check out what’s happening lately here in this interview with Sprightly Moans.
Happy Holidays All!
Jer @ SBS
SPRIGHTLY MOANS INTERVIEW:
SBS: Sprightly Moans! Hello and WELCOME to sleepingbagstudios – thanks for being here with us. I’ve been slowly researching, listening to and stalking you all in an attempt to get the most I can out of you. And it’s funny you know…I’m a word guy…a writer of sorts…so when I came across this quote about your 2nd Demo CD on sprightlymoans.com:
“Notably, the sleeve was made from a single piece of felt card-stock paper that was lovely to the touch.”
I don’t know if anyone else out there has noticed this, or asked…but that statement is in the past tense. So OBVIOUSLY, when there are a MILLION and ONE things I could ask you about your lives and music…this is somehow the burning question atop my weirdly-bearded-brain – What HAPPENED to the paper? How hath you soiled the loveliness?
SPRIGHTLY MOANS: Oh, we were fools with that paper, giving it away like we did. Absolute fools.
SBS: Alright…now that important detail is on the record I’ll back it up. For the people that don’t know about you yet – tell us about Sprightly Moans. How did you get together and decide to do this?
SPRIGHTLY MOANS: I wanted to create music. Loud music. Music that was direct and incontrovertible. I started messing around with the sounds I heard in my head (not a fail-safe instrument) and put some drums on it. Needless to say, it sounded terrible. The drums needed more awesomeness, so I started the search to find a drummer.
The first drummer I found was pretty cool, but I think he resented me on account that he didn’t find it funny to have found a book entitled, “Isn’t It Wonderful To Be Gay?” in his bass drum after a rehearsal. Another drummer had me convinced that he was a John Bonham expert, but I became convinced otherwise not too long after we met.
Finally, Jeff came along. Jeff has a much more sophisticated sense of humor. That and he can play the hell out of the drums.
SBS: You also sound like you have a solid plan in place when it comes to the recording process. If I’ve got my facts straight, you’re just about to release the final EP before embarking upon the recording of your debut album. What made you choose this approach and what advantages does it give you when you start to record the new album?
SPRIGHTLY MOANS: Well, close on that one. We’ve got two more demo releases to let go of before attempting the real thing, which will take a lot of money to do it right. We’d prefer to do it right. I’m absolutely considering male prostitution to make budget. It’s an option, and a tax-free one at that, if I can deal with the brutal change of spirituality, of course.
That aside, the approach from the beginning has really been about learning about what
to present and how to present it. It’s a huge advantage to have absolutely no one paying attention and slowly put more time and effort into how things are done. Mostly, I wanted a chance to get better everything before going at it with the big ideas, like recording an album and prostituting myself out to fund it. It’d be a jump in dedication in both cases, that’s for sure.
SBS: After listening, it’s also clear that you’re all about the ROCK. Is this the style of
music you’ve both always gravitated towards or was this the sound that was simply born out of playing together since the beginning?
SPRIGHTLY MOANS: Me personally, no. I spent a lot of time listening to a lot of music. I tried different genres out, tried them on like a jacket, but none of them really fit all that well. Finally, I realized that I liked rock and roll sooooo much and the clothes really fit. It’s weird that it took so many years, but better late than never.
SBS: In reading the Facebook page, we get that confirmation from you in the about section. “Direct Rock And Roll,” as you’ve put it. Now, just because it’s been proclaimed obviously doesn’t mean it has to stay that way forever, but rock is clearly what you both love to play. I guess I’m just wondering out loud here (On paper, I know, weird eh?) but are there any limitations that somehow come with that proclamation? You know what I mean – does saying it make it more real somehow?
SPRIGHTLY MOANS: Totally weird: the written word (big smiles!).
The limitations are of expectations and reputations. If people expect us to be direct, of course we’ll feel compelled to be direct. If we get a reputation for being loud, and some money gets put on the table for us to maintain that reputation, of course we’ll feel compelled to stay that way. Who wouldn’t feel the tug?
I really admire people who are brave enough to trash their own reputations. You know the types: they just let go and say “to hell with how I used to do things.” That takes some guts. It’s gotta be fun to mess with people’s expectations of you, trashing a rep like that. It must have the extra added benefit of confounding the people who dislike being confounded!
In any event, I know I’d get claustrophobic being pinned down, having only one way of doing things, and I’m reasonably sure Jeff feels the same way. The thing it all comes down to is, are we willing to do the absolutely most disgustingly wrong thing and scream c’est la vie to the way we used to do things?
I say this: Hells Yeah.
SBS: Rock is arguably the most wide-open genre of them all – tell me how we could identify a Sprightly Moans track apart from any others on a giant music-mix playing randomly. How do we know when we hit the track from Sprightly Moans? What identifies your sound and sets you apart from the rest of the rock?
SPRIGHTLY MOANS: If not our personalities, then I’m not sure. Everyone and their mother is in five bands nowadays, and the market is saturated. If the mash-up of what Jeff and I are doing doesn’t make us different than a number of other rock bands, then that’s okay. I certainly don’t mind trying this out and stretching it as far as it can go, and it certainly is fun to do. But if our personalities shine through our music, and people can hear that off the bat, then that’d be awesome.
But I’ll say this however: the hit-track comes when we have hit-track money in our pockets, and we can both afford to do extremely silly stuff with our money like spend it all on boots. I’d take Cavenders for a fucking ride, no doubt.
SBS: In that same line of questioning – when you’re playing true rock and roll – is there any need for any band out there to try and re-invent the wheel? Sometimes more of a good thing is simply a great thing is it not? How important is it for you to do something “different” in music?
SPRIGHTLY MOANS: True rock and roll seems like true punk rock; It just doesn’t care about what it’s doing. It’s unaware of itself. There is an element of not-giving-a-shit that is essential to true rock-and-roll. Courtney Love, from what I gather, is a perfect example. And not giving a shit, truly not giving a shit and not just pretending, naturally lends itself well to being rather distinctive. It doesn’t matter that something sounds different nearly as much as it sounds distinctive. To me, the hallmark of distinction is whether or not I can fit a record into my life. If a record can’t do that, it’s hard for me to feel compelled to listen to it. I want distinction.
For instance, I’ve always felt that Wilco’s Yankee Hotel Foxtrot is so distinctive because it’s a perfect album to listen to when I’m completely exhausted and need to get a whole mess of stuff done. To me, when I’m in that mood, it’s perfect and distinctive.
They are doing a lot of different stuff on there they haven’t really done with other records (my opinion), and they certainly re-invented the wheel. But more importantly, can anyone argue with me that it’s not an incredibly distinctive album? They are doing a lot of random stuff on that record, a lot of different stuff as you put it, but there is a soul to that album, a dream that we dream, as listeners, along with Wilco, when we listen to it or even think about it.
That’s distinction. Will Sprightly Moans ever get there? I’m not sure, but I won’t turn down the honor of having a distinctive album to anyone who listens.
SBS: I have the feeling you guys could very well make anything or any experience in life ROCK – so I’m gonna ask your advice on this situation I’m in…
You see…it’s Christmas time and all that…yuletide etc…and I have a MASSIVE amount of family. Good times are had yes…but it also results in a ton of driving around and listening to over-played, boring-ass Christmas music. No joke guys – the family is so big that I usually receive my last Christmas presents around my birthday exactly one month later.
So…for the holidays…for me…and for the people out there…
If your Christmas was to last a literal month – how would Sprightly Moans go about making that ROCK?
SPRIGHTLY MOANS: Pull pranks on all of your family.
There has to be heavy metal Christmas songs out there. I’d search for death metal, create a playlist, and casually leave the cd in a very normal looking Christmas album.
You could even have a label printed up of Barry Manilow looking all Barry Manilow-ish and paste it to the cover of the cd, just so that no one would suspect anything. Casually leave it by the cd player. Even forge a note from one Aunt to another: “I was thinking of you when I made this mix cd. Love you so much!” Another trick would be to put a massively short and brutal Xiu-Xiu song in between a bunch of Frank Sinatra Christmas songs. It can be done.
You could also enlist your cousins to ding-dong-ditch your family. I wouldn’t stop there; I’d get the entire outside of your folks’ front door decked out like it’s halloween, and possibly enlist more cousins to dress up all ghoulish and ring the doorbell, and ask for candy. Tell them they get five bucks extra if they refuse to take off their masks and brandish squirt guns. Always remember: super-soakers are your friends.
Whoopee cushions are also an excellent way to spend the holiday. Even better, but harder to keep a straight face with, would be a remote control fart machine. The batteries would be well worth the expense, and having kids running around wondering who is farting is good ole fun in the winter months. It’d be exactly like a laser light for kittens! Who doesn’t love kittens? Don’t be a hater on me if you dislike kittens. I don’t want to hear it. Kittens are awesome.
SBS: Ok. On to next year! Tell me about the future – how far away from the recording of the new album are we and what early details on it can we pull out of you now?
SPRIGHTLY MOANS: We’re pretty close to finishing up. As soon as that happens, we’re in-like-Nixon. Expect it by the end of January…
SBS: And how about live shows? Anything coming up? How often are you out there?
SPRIGHTLY MOANS: Not often enough! Since we are so new, I’m having trouble convincing promoters that we’re going to put on a good show and bring an audience with us. The only solution is to accept every single show that comes to us, and frankly, I’m not sure if either of us wants to do that. However, I’m cautiously optimistic that our next show will be better attended, possibly because I’m willing to bribe, extort, and blackmail otherwise well-meaning folks in good-standing with the community to come. Bigger problems have been solved via cajoling than I care to mention.
SBS: When recording as a two-piece band is it important to think about how you’ll be able to play those songs live? At the end of the day I would imagine you wouldn’t want to ever over-complicate things too much in case you wouldn’t be able to bring it all to the stage or have to hire a third member…but let’s hear it from you – what’s the real deal?
SPRIGHTLY MOANS: You’re totally right. The last thing I would ever want to do is saddle Jeff with too much detail to worry about. I say, let it ride and to hell with the haters who are in the back saying, “well it doesn’t sound like it did on the record.” Well, uh, duh. It’s more fun anyway!
If we do hire a third band member, it’ll be someone who sticks out like a sore thumb; I have to replace my role in the band somehow.
SBS: I was also curious about this other thing I read on the about page of your Facebook profile. It mentioned that your demos left a distinct “visual” mark in addition to the sonic one. Go into that a bit for me…how important is the visual representation behind the music? What can you communicate or express through art or media that you aren’t able to in your music?
SPRIGHTLY MOANS: Oh that’s really important. I really feel like any new band that attempts to give their music to others, to sell it in particular, has a hellova hurdle in front of them. Think about it: first, a band has to invite others into listening to the music, and then hope that the people who check it out are interested enough in the band to invest in it both short and long-term. That can’t be accomplished without a sense of taking the relationship between fan and band seriously.
On the band side, frumpiness is cool, but a danger when it’s time to present. When bands don’t care about presenting themselves, I wonder if they do it out of spite, like “I won’t dress up for Sunday school!” Maybe that’s me. Maybe I’m being completely off-base about presentation, but I want people to know that I will not abuse their attention or listenership. Taking pains to make the visual mark so distinctive? That’s one way to do it.
SBS: Alright Sprightly – it’s nearing the end of 2013…as randomly as you can think of, tell us a couple predictions for the upcoming year 2014. Anything!
SPRIGHTLY MOANS: Ahh, 2014 will be the year of privacy! 2013 was all about having our innocence about the internet completely shattered, and I think 2014 will be the year we start taking it back. It’s on.
SBS: When is it acceptable to NOT rock?
SPRIGHTLY MOANS: Never.
SBS: I’ve heard it said many times that AC/DC’s album Back In Black is like, drumming 101 for the new drummer. I was wondering what you guys might say as far as songs go – what’s the ultimate rock and roll blueprint out there?
SPRIGHTLY MOANS: What a question! I have absolutely no answer for you! Fucker- you stumped me!
SBS: Websites! Do some promo! Add a smiley-face! Whatever you guys wanna promote, have at it – but send these people somewhere specific online to find your music and stay updated on the details of the new album!
SPRIGHTLY MOANS: Oooooo, point. Absolutely savvy. Okay, then I’ll say this:
Come to our show on January 30th, 2014 at Red Eyed Fly in Austin and you’ll get a hell of a present. You will get a free, limited edition copy of Demos III. Plus, the first ten people to arrive will get a USB stick that has lyric sheets and beautifully done guitar tablatures of all the songs on Demos III. How dat?
SBS: Dave – just wanna say thank you again for being a part of this interview and taking the time to answer all this madness on behalf of yourself and Jeff. Before I let you go for good, I’d just like to offer you the open floor as we do with all of our guests. Take this next spot to say anything you like, shout out anyone you want or bring up anything we missed!
Sprightly Moans – you guys ROCK. Keep doing what you do.
SPRIGHTLY MOANS: Thank you! We will! As we’ve been given the opportunity to get on a soapbox, here are our tips for being a driver in Austin,TX: