If you’ve been following us for a while, you’ve probably figured out the secret code to our hearts and minds. Enter “C86″ and we’ll follow you to the ends of the earth. Frankly, plenty of British bands know and exploit the nostalgia for a great period in British indie rock. Hailing from New York, Weed Hounds attack the genre without realizing it. Which means we get a lovely mixture of the C86 sugar and a little lo-fi, while making it sound fresh and exciting for a new generation.
Interview conducted by Sania
TDOA: Since you guys are pretty fresh, let’s grab some background info on you all. How did you meet and decide to start creating music together and what’s the tale behind the band name?
Laura & Nick: Well, Nick and I had been friends for a while and decided that we wanted to start some sort of musical project together because we liked some of the same bands. Nick had been in a few bands before and I never really did anything like this so it was kind of a new thing. We jammed a few times in a cramped rehearsal space in Queens with our friend Josh who was involved with other projects at the time. He recommended his friend Cesco as a drummer because he had similar tastes in music and once we started jamming with him in my basement, things kind of started to take shape. We played our first two or three shows without a bassist, and then our friend Patrick, who we’d known for a long time, was into the songs and offered to join in on bass. Our current drummer Keith has been a friend of ours for a while as well, and since he also shares similar musical tastes, he’s a good fit for us on drums.
As far as the name, in the very beginning stages of us being together, we were working on some songs at a big, shared space where a lot of bands practice. It was the first time we tried to record any of our ideas and we used one of our laptops to do it. In between songs, Nick, who happens to be artistically gifted as well as musically, picked up a pen and a notebook and drew a magnificent, mural-esque portrait of a pooch who happened to be in pursuit of some tree. Atop the dog’s head, Nick wrote “THE WEED HOUND.” Later that evening when Nick was home labeling the songs on iTunes, he put “w33d houndz” as the artist. He sent the songs to Darren, who would later be the one to record them and also fill in as drummer for a few months. When Darren was making the flyer for our fist show, he asked what to put as our band name and we didn’t really know what to call ourselves yet. After numerous attempts to get us to decide on a name, he needed to have the flyer ready in time for the show so he put “The Weed Hounds,” and for better or for worse, we’ve stuck with the name ever since.
TDOA: The first U.S. tour was this past summer, I’ve heard nothing but great things about the Denton show at Rubber Gloves, how was the touring experience as a whole? What’s the most awesome craziest memory you have?
L & N: Thanks! Yeah, we had a really great time in Denton from the moment we got there. Teenage Cool Kids were kind enough to give us a delicious meal of vegetarian chili and cornbread before the show and they put together a great line up. It was awesome to finally see them live after listening to them for a while.
Tour was great for so many reasons. First off, we got to travel with Girlfriends from Boston who are so great as a band and just as great to hang out with. It was awesome to be able to see them play every night and hear them get tighter and better as the tour went on. They have so much energy live. We’re playing with them again in Boston in November and we can’t wait.
Touring allowed us to see so many places we would have probably never gotten to otherwise: big cities like Baltimore, Memphis, New Orleans, and Austin, and all sorts of small towns in between. It was great to try different local fare from around the South, like local food and local beer, and to check out record shops along the way. Part of what made the good places so good though were the awesome people we met. Southern hospitality is no myth. In fact, being a jaded New Yorker, I felt a little weirded out (only for about five seconds) by people being so nice to us and offering us a place to stay for no reason other then them being nice, but it was really easy to get used to and all of the kindness we encountered along the way kind of left me feeling more positive toward humanity as a whole. On the other hand, we also met a lot of wackos.
We spent a lot of time in the van, obviously, and managed to amuse ourselves by repeating the same jokes (that would be funny to no one else) over and over to the point where we kind of arrived a bit delirious to different destinations. We tried to stream the movie Do The Right Thing along the journey via instant Netflix, but AT&T’s 3G coverage across America isn’t that great.
TDOA: What was being listened to on the road? A quick 5 song playlist from the trip?
L & N & Patrick: We were constantly listening to different things and we didn’t really repeat much (except Mary J.) but here are some that stick out in our minds. We threw in two more for good luck:
1. “Real Love” Mary J. Blige (starting in Baltimore and so many more times throughout the trip including a spin from Dent May in Oxford, MS)
2. “Down by the River” Neil Young (while we were down by the river near Charlottesville, Virginia)
3. “Cowboys from Hell” Pantera (while driving through Texas)
4. “Do My Thing” Busta Rhymes (while driving straight home from Texas to NY, we put this on somewhere in Arkansas because I was getting delirious from driving and wanted to hear something that reminded me of home.)
5. “No Surrender” Bruce Springsteen (Nick showed me [Patrick] the truth that is the b-side to Born in the USA)
6. “Jackson” June Carter & Johnny Cash (while driving to Jackson, MS)
7. “Walkin’ After Midnight” Patsy Cline (also around Jackson, I think)
TDOA: I saw an excerpt on the Tumblr from a secret tour diary? It had an interesting diner story and some pretty pictures. Care to elaborate on that?
L: I found a really cool looking notebook at a craft fair that was made from an old book so I picked it up. I didn’t really know what to use it for, but I wanted it to be for recording something worth keeping, so I thought it might be cool to write short accounts of what we encountered on the road or any thoughts or musings we’d come up with in the van. It actually turned out to be very entertaining and useful for remembering what happened, so we’ve decided to keep it going on future trips. We’ll send you a couple of snapshots of drawings, some of which allude to the aforementioned ways of entertaining ourselves in the van.
TDOA: Being based out of Bushwick, what do you think of the DIY music scene there and who is your favorite Brooklyn band at the moment?
P: The band is based out of Long Island, too, because Laura and Keith live there and that’s where things got started. Brooklyn rules, but Bushwick is especially great for music right now. All of the best shows are only a short walk away from my front door. Personally, my favorite newer band from Brooklyn right now is Sweet Bulbs – they’re putting out a really great 12″ on Blackburn Recordings sometime soon, so keep an eye out! Even better, two of my favorite bands from Long Island, Lost Boy and Data Dog, just recently moved to my neighborhood. I’m excited to see what comes out of Bushwick this year.
TDOA: There’s so many different mediums used to put your music out on (mp3, cassette, record, cd), how do you decide which one to use for each release?
L: Well, everything kind of stemmed from the mp3s being available online. Once the songs were finished, Nick posted them and within a few hours Ben from the Crooked Direction label asked if he could put our demo on cassette, and we were thrilled. From there, National Archive based out of Canada offered to release the demo on a pair of 7”, and we’ve been lucky that some of our other songs have made it onto vinyl releases as well. So we’ve just been lucky that people have shown interest in our songs enough to make them available in other formats.
TDOA: There is a split 7″ out with another New York band, Dude Japan, how did that come about?
L & N: Dude Japan is another band based out of Long Island, and we were kind of the only two bands making similar music in the area. Mike from Dude Japan owns the Rok Lok Label and thought we’d be a good fit for a split 7”. They are great guys, we had a lot of fun with them last year when we went to Philly with them for a weekend to play a pair of shows. We planned on putting two songs on that split, but didn’t take song length into consideration beforehand and realized that only one would fit, so we made the other song, “Beach Bummed,” a 7” single and wrote “Skating Away from the Cops” as a b-side for it.
TDOA: What should one be doing while listening to your music? The perfect setting?
L: Whatever/wherever he or she wants. Hopefully something good. I mean, it makes me happy to be making music with my friends so if any of that good feeling can be transferred by listening to it, that would be nice, not to sound all hippie-ish. One person in Texas told me that they listen to us before going to sleep sometimes and that’s cool. Sleeping is great.
TDOA: Any surprising influences to your fuzz drenched and beautiful mesh of sound? Maybe one that couldn’t be spotted right on the surface?
L & N: This is a hard question! Maybe some music that we like and listen to a lot that may or may not come through would be a band like New Order or even Stereolab or Broadcast. And The Velvet Underground, perhaps, because a lot of bands that influence us, whether or not in an obvious way, are influenced by them.
P: I like a lot of post-punk, punk and hardcore, so I like everything to be really loud and noisy.
TDOA: Any plans for a full length release in the near future?
L: Yes. We’re working on it now. Our friend Adam is putting it out on his label, Katorga Works, in the winter.