Who are you and what do you do?
Laura Stevenson I'm Laura Stevenson, I am a grad student studying art history and I work at a temp agency but they don't call me. I also play in a band called Laura Stevenson and The Cans.
How's the band going? Anything coming up?
Everything is really good right now. The Cans feels like much more of a band than it ever has. and we practice! That was our new years resolution. We've been writing a lot and it's been a lot more of a group dynamic during the writing process. The past couple of 7"s and the new songs for our next full length which we're in the beginning stages of feel a lot different from "A Record". There's much more going on compared to when it was just me and it was way less fun.
So I hear Asian Man is rereleasing A Record, how did that happen? Are you excited?
Mike Campbell We are really excited about it! It kind of happened when we had a barbecue with Mike Park in San Jose. He cooked for us in a park and we had a catch and threw a frisbee. We gave him a CD-R of music that we were working on and records that we had already put out and he ended up liking it. We've been talking with him about putting out a record for the past few months. We're really happy it's happening. We are also including 3 unreleased songs in addition to the original 8 tracks to make it a bit more special.
Who are the official/unofficial members of the band?
LS Oh no. Okay, right now the "official" cans are Alex Billig, Mike Campbell, Wen-jay Ying, Chris Parker, Jeff Rosenstock, and Matt Keegan. we have some current auxiliary members who I guess would be considered unofficial cans including: the illustrious Dave Garwacke (::bows::), John Dedomenici, Sean McCabe, Michelle Young, Steve D'Agostino, Aidan Koehler...agh and many, many more.
With so many people involved, how do you go about writing songs?
I pretty much bring the skeletal frame-work to practice (words, vocal melodies, chord progressions, some musical melodies) to the core cans who play with it, expand/minimize parts, and make changes in the instrumental melodies etc. Also, drum parts are impossible for me to come up with so I leave that to the rhythm section (Mike and Chris).
How about the city, how hard/easy is it to function as a band here?
Well, we all live in Brooklyn, we practice at alex's apartment which is within walking distance of my apartment so it's super easy to practice for us. Other bands pay rent at spaces or hourly at places like the Sweatshop, which we've done but it gets pricey. Playing shows here is awesome, and I used to say yes to every Brooklyn show for that exact reason but then I realized that my friends would get bored of coming out if we kept playing all the time. So now we're spacing it out a little more.
So you were just telling me about a traumatic techinical problem, how has it affected your life/music?
My computer committed suicide, or I guess my hard drive (harddrive?) did. I went to Tekserve today actually and they said it would be $800 to retrieve the data (my life for the past 3 years) and I don't have that kind of money so- I had to let it go. The saddest part about the whole thing other than all of the papers and research that I've lost is the fact that I had so many songs and little pieces of songs on there that are just gone. I do write down lyrics for songs that are done or near-done but a lot was lost. It's okay, I'm not going to sulk about it because that will be more wasted energy, I just have to start over on lots of different fronts. I was watching the show "Hoarders" last night and I guess it's kind of like the "Got Junk?" people came in and threw everything out and maybe my life will be less cluttered now. But I'm buying an external harddrive so I can hoard more stuff.
It's hard deciding what to back up. It's a lifeboat situation. Who gets saved?
Women and children I guess...and porno.
photo by: joe at out.go.in photography
So Eric Solomon, of O Pioneers!? asks "how does the count at the beg[inning] of the songs go?" I think he's joking about your tendency to count in before you start a song, usually with an arhythmic "1..2..ah you know what to do". What compels you to count off before a song? I for one, don't mind it.
I get a lot of flack for counting in songs... but it has become a really bad and dorky habit which I can't break, nor do want to really. I feel really awkward talking in front of people (which is weird because I'm fine with singing and playing but I usually keep my eyes closed really tight) so I don't know... the counting makes it feel less weird transitioning from talking about god knows what to singing a really sad song... I hope it gets easier but right now, this is what I do. Drummers hate it.
Any bands you are excited about, local or elsewhere?
Hmmmmm... locally the band Ava Luna is really, really awesome. also- a lot of IYMI bands, I've been listening to Igood old war... they make me want to practice more.
They practice for hours a day.
I know, that's fucking insane to be that disciplined. but I guess if you have a lot of vocal harmonies and stuff it's important to practice that much more. I don't think I could ever do that, personally... it would make music feel like too much of a job.
So you want to practice somewhere in between Good Old War and the amount you do now?
I guess, yeah. haha. maybe they've uncovered the secret to success. but I'm going to uncover the secret to... near success.
Any funny tour stories?
We recently played with a band of 14 year olds in Michigan called Catalina Wine Mixer and they fucking ruled, they played Green Day and Blink 182 covers. During a Sum 41 "Fat-lip" cover, Jeff Rosenstock, Ian Graham ( of Cheap Girls) and I got on stage and sang the raps.
Davorin Petek asks "Are there any plans on doing a euro tour?"
I'd like to, I'll be in italy this summer researching for my thesis so hopefully I'll play some shows while I'm over there. Nothing is official yet, but I'll keep you posted.
Eric Schmidt says "Ask her if she wants to play ninja turtles in my back yard?"
Ahhhhhhh yessssss! As long as I don't have to be Irma. My sister would get to be April and told me that I couldn't be a turtle because turtles were boys so... Irma it was and let me tell you, Irma was boring, I would just hang out at the office and wait for April to get back from adventures. It sucked.
Also, is it okay that I did that whole interview in my snuggie?
That is totally fine
Thanks to Laura for talking to me, and make sure to check out her recent 7" on Mandible Records entitled "Holy Ghost!". You can listen to a song here. http://www.ifyoumakeit.com/recommendation/laura-stevenson/holy-ghost/