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LAist Interviews Smoosh. Band Reveals Dark Secrets of Their Rider: Candy! Candy! More Candy!
Having achieved a degree of musical success in their pre-teen years that would make most adult musicians green with envy, Seattle indie rock duo Smoosh has become a musical sensation that manages to transcend the twin curses of both the tween and indie rock genres. Unlike the cloyingly precocious, prefab stars of Nickelodeon or the earnestly self-serious icons of indie rock, Smoosh has a unique sound that manages to be charmingly naive and authentically sophisticated all at once.
Comprised of sisters Chloe, 13, on drums and, Asya 15, on keyboard and vocals, Smoosh was formed in 2002, when Chloe's drum teacher suggested she begin playing with other musicians to become a better drummer. (PS-Her drum teacher was Jason McGerr of Death Cab for Cutie.)
Their first album, 2004's She Like Electric, became a bona fide hit thanks to fun hooky songs like "Make It Through" and "It's Not Your Day To Shine." Smoosh followed this up with 2006's Free to Stay, which featured another batch of poppy songs anchored by Asya's keyboard hooks and emotive voice and Chloe's rock-solid drumming.
Currently on tour in North America, Smoosh took a few minutes out of their busy schedule for an email interview with LAist. You can catch the band this Saturday night (4/21) playing an early evening show at the Knitting Factory in Hollywood.
Interview after the jump...
You've opened for Sleater-Kinney, Death Cab for Cutie and Cat Power and all before graduating from high school. Where do you go from here?
Well, we haven't really planned anything out but we would still like to do music. We might not be in Smoosh when we are older but I want to be in a band still, probably not a huge band because I would want to have a normal life too.
Do you plan to start any more family-based bands?
No, not really but our sister Maia is starting to play bass and is playing with us on this tour we are on.
What's been your favorite show that you've played and why?
Well there has been so many really fun shows. But one of my favorite shows was at the Crystal Ballroom in Portland, the crowd was so good and nice.
Also it was so fun playing with the Eels because we got to go on stage for them, and we got to go on stage for one show we did with Bloc Party.
Do you have any pre-concert good luck rituals or talismans?
Well, we like to run around and go crazy so that we aren't nervous or anything. Sometimes we do this thing where we hop up in the air at different times (I don't know why we do that.)
When you're creating songs, do you ever argue? If so, what kinds of things do you argue about?
Well, Chloe used to always want to make loud rock songs and I wanted to write quiet piano songs. But now, we usually don't argue too much.
What crazy demands do you make on your concert rider?
We just have candy on our rider.
How (if at all) do you think your sound has evolved over the two albums you've released?
I think our sound has changed. Our songs used to be pretty simple and pop-like, and some of them still are but now I think they are more complicated.
From a creative standpoint, what's the hardest part of recording an album?
Well, usually for an album I write songs that are kind of similar because I write them at one point in my life. The songs usually come out sounding sort of the same, I have to try to write songs on different patches on the keyboard and using different instruments (like guitar.)
After the critical and popular success of your music, were you treated any differently at school and by your friends at home?
No, not really. Some people at our school don't even know about Smoosh.
What's the best perk of being a rock star?
Oh, definitely that you get to travel! I love traveling!
What is each of your favorite albums that have come out in the past year or two?
Well I (Asy) really like the Silver Sun Pickups album Carnavas, and Chloe really likes Menomena Friend and Foe.
If you could collaborate with any band or musician in the world (living or dead) who would you choose and why?
Well there are so many I would like to collaborate with, but I think it would be really cool to collaborate with Sigur Ros and Sufjan Stevens because their songs are so amazing, I love them.
Have any other former teen stars offered you any advice?
I don't think so, most teen stars probably wouldn't pay attention to a small indie band like us.
If you ever have kids and they want to become rock musicians, what advice would you give them?
Hmm, well probably to just have fun and not do it for the money and try to make your own sound so you don't sound like everyone else.
Photos via Smoosh.com