Earlier this week we took you down in front for a dose of feel-good, indie-pop elegance from our Communion-endorsed pals, Tennis. Before taking the stage at Webster Hall, Aimee Curran spent some time catching up with Alaina Moore and Patrick Riley on a picture perfect, New York afternoon, chatting about dashed dreams (that have something to do with that namesake of theirs), working with some of rock's finest producers (and drummers, I might add), and of course, their brilliant new record, Ritual in Repeat.
- Hey, what's up with Amy from Baeble and we are hanging out with Tennis before their show tonight at Webster Hall. Hey guys how's it goin'? - It's goin' good. - So do you guys play tennis? - Okay, so this is why... Okay so Pat used to play tennis really seriously and it was his first childhood dream, and... - It crumbled, it was terrible. - It was his first... You know, when our generation was like, "you can do anything, if you try. " And this is his first hope dashing experience, where he was actually really really good and worked really really hard, and he totally deserved it but he didn't get his dream of being a pro tennis player. And... - So it crumbled. - Yeah, absolutely. He had his Royal Tenenbaums meltdown on the tennis court, like cursing, and punching through his racket, and quitting. So when we decided to form a band, I was like we're calling this "Tennis". - Now we're go to pick it back up. - It's to commemorate your broken dream, and hopefully this will be like one that's fulfilled. And I would say that it's way more than fulfilled our expectations. - Absolutely. - So have you guys ever considered actually incorporating tennis terms or the sound tennis ball hitting the court in any of your music? - Fuck no. It's like I actually kind of don't like the sport as far as the culture goes, it drives me nuts. Like, how hoity--toity it is. I wish it was tougher and like, had like a... I don't know. - I wish I had a picture of his outfits when he compete in high school. He wore like women's volleyball clothes, and looked classic angsty. You are like so alternative even though you were a mainstream jock, still. - Yeah. Thanks. - Your welcome. "Ritual and Repeat", congratulations on that. Do you think that this was kind of a moment of transformation for the band? - Yes, but it wasn't a moment it was actually a year...maybe a year and half... - Okay. - I think we're literally at the two-year mark. - So it was a very long transformation but it definitely feels like a transformation. - Yeah we didn't really know what we were doing for a long time. And we knew we wanted something new, and something that made us excited about music again. But unfortunately, that was like two years of self discovery and existential crisis. - We called it an "existential tailspin. " It's not that we wasn't excited about music, is that we weren't excited about our music. We would write a song and shrug, and then we'd hear the new Tame Impala record, and be like "oh my God, why didn't I write that?" And so yeah it took a while but we finally hit our stride and figured out what we wanted to be doing, and it's this record. - Very cool. So what was it like working with Pat Carney and Jim Emo? What did you learn from them? - Pat Carney is all about, I feel like, minimalism and power. Like he's trying to strip down a song to its bare essentials, and make it the most powerful song possible, just with the least amount of parts. - Right. Jim you know is like, I feel like he was really precise and had this very delicate-- He, like, listened very intuitively and was very good about making sense out of our very dense demos and helping us rearrange them into something that was a lot more emotion. And I think was more intuitive as a listening experience. - So is there anything that they were able to bring out of you guys as a band and musicians, that other people you've worked with haven't been able to do? - Yeah, I think everyone we worked with on this album, really pushed us as far as they could. We all like kind of hit our breaking points at some point or another during the making of this album. And they were all in different regards, too. I think that's a good thing. I think every time we hit kind of that wall, were we'd find like this boundary so to speak, we'd like find something new about our band that we cared about. - Okay, so what's your favorite fashion era and do you incorporate any of that style into your current wardrobe? - Um, definitely late '60's early '70's rock 'n roll, just that. I conquer. I think you like that era, too. - It stayed with all of us, I feel like. I don't think there's like any aspect of that has really faded. Maybe the bell bottoms. - I would be either...these are kind of extremes but I would want to be either Debbie Harry or Patti Smith, fashion wise. into what you're gonna were on stage? - Very little for me. - Very little for Pat. It varies for me. I usually will plan like this really amazing outfit, that's like very statement making, and then at the last minute just put on jeans and a T-shirt, and just skip it. Which is what I'm doing tonight. - I have this really elaborate dress, that I was really excited to wear tonight and I just can't. I'm just... I can't. we're from Colorado... - At the end of the day. I want to be a glamorous dress kind for girl, but I'm just a pants girl. - I'm exactly the same. It's like I'm gonna dress great, I'm in New York, and then every day it's skinny jeans and a band T-shirt. - Yep. - You guys have played like all the major late--night show. What was your biggest surprise doing those? Like what was something that you maybe thought was, and then it was a complete misconception? freezing it is. It's like 45 degrees. And it's 'cause the hosts are dudes wearing full suits. But you can't tell 'cause all their female guest are wearing like bandage dresses. And I was like... I got there and I was like actually like shivering, and goosebumps all over my whole body. And I was like, "I can even sing, it's practically snowing in here. " And they're like, "yeah everyone just suffers through it for five minutes. " And I was like, "Okay. Weird. " That's my surprise. - We can't do halves and halves. It's either one person does it or... - Okay. No, no we can 'cause I have to say my name. What, are you going to introduce me? - Okay. This is Alaina. - And Patrick. - We're Tennis and you're listening to....your listening...your dancing on... I just... I literally can't you have to do it... - Alright, alright. - ...or else. - This is Patrick. - This is Alaina. - And you're watching... Son of a bitch. - Can we just to a blooper reel? - Alright. This is... Alright, this is Patrick. - This is Alaina. - And you're watching Baeble. - Music TV. - Is it Baeble or Babel? - Baeble. - We nailed it then.
Tennis is Denver couple Alaina Moore and Patrick Riley. The duo began writing music together as a way to document the history of their time living aboard a sailboat. The result was their first release, Cape Dory. Moore and Riley followed Cape Dory with Young and Old, which The New Yorker described as "winsome as it is ebullient," and debuted #1 on Billboard's Heatseeker Chart and #1 on CMJ Top 200, where it remained for three straight weeks The album also debuted on Soundscan's "New Artist Chart" at #1 remaining there for nine consecutive weeks. The band performed on "The Late Show with David Letterman," "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno," "Conan" and "Last Call with Carson Daly." Twenty thirteen brought Small Sound EP and the band's Spring tour with Haim.