Black Plastic Bag Washington City Paper: It seems your first record—most of it was very visceral, and then there were a couple more electronic numbers. But this one is more coherent.
Christopher Goett: I would totally agree with that. While I love our first record for what it is, in terms of documenting where we were at the time, I think it represents us figuring out how to play together. We got into the studio in Summer 2007 so we were just playing together for over a year. The last song on this new record is actually one of the first songs we ever played together, in ‘06.
Washington City Paper: I was going to ask about that song [“Ascend”]. I think you can read it as a bit of a band manifesto. Or at least that’s how I read it.
Christopher Goett: Yeah, yeah. It was literally the first song we played together. I kind of came in with those rough chords … those lyrics, they’re a little bit nostalgic, a little bit about getting a sense of your time and place. And that’s kind of how we approach a lot of things. I work for a nonprofit. I met Jenn at a community nonprofit in Northeast D.C. [eSharp Music Center] I think we’ve been involved in community in a lot of ways. I know it sounds cliché but it’s important to us. Washington City Paper: It seems you write a lot about neighborhoods.
Goett: Yeah, I think in neighborhoods [he laughs again]. I was a community organizer for several years.
Washington City Paper: The blog party line seems to be that you’re one of the last bands embodying a “D.C. sound.” Do you buy that?
Goett: I have mixed feelings about that. I think most people are saying that as a compliment, but when I think of the D.C. sound, I think of a wide swath of kinds of music. There’s so many different kinds of bands. If you take Teen Beat or DeSoto or Dischord, even within there there’s a large spectrum. I love the D.C. “sound,” I suppose, and I’m not ashamed to be part of it at any stretch. I am a part of this community, and I’m entrenched in it and I like it. It’s one of those things [where I say], “Oh yeah, that’s really nice, but I don’t really know what that means.”
Washington City Paper: Can you tell me how the band formed?
Goett: Steve and I were in a band called Eight Track Mind that kicked around for most of ‘05 and some of ‘04, and it was becoming a situation where band members were moving further apart … It was mostly Steve’s songs and I was kind of playing second guitar. And Jenn and I were working together … in a studio called eSharp. And so kids were learning midi and learning guitar, bass, drums … it was actually really cool. Some young Go-go bands started cropping up. And so Jenn and I worked at the same nonprofit right around when our other band was stopping, and I knew she was an awesome drummer. And I said, “Hey, are you interested in playing rock again?” [Jenn Thomas walks up] … that was probably March of ‘06. We played a house show, I think in May …
Thomas: It was pretty much “let’s do it right now. O.K.” Then it what was like, “O.K. it’s working. Now let’s keep going.” And that’s that.
Goett: We all bring a different thing to the table.
Washington City Paper: What are those things?
Goett: I mean our perspective in terms of our library. That’s just an audiophile term, sorry, but I mean our collection. I love My Bloody Valentine, Ride and shoegaze stuff as much as I love punk, like T.S.O.L. and The Germs and all that other stuff.
Washington City Paper: … like the horror-rock T.S.O.L.?
Goett: No, the earlier stuff, please. [Everyone laughs.] And then Jenn turned me on to the Big Boys and stuff I wish I’d heard about … We’re not one-note in terms of where we’re coming from. I don’t mean to sound nerdier than I need to be, but I think that it helps. Steve has a certain proclivity where he’s coming form, I have a certain proclivity, Jenn has a certain proclivity …
Thomas: Steve comes from a little bit more of a smoother background.
Goett: Actually, Steve was in a hip-hop band for 10 years.
Thomas: And he comes from a melodic classic-rock [background], like Pink Floyd, and he really loves the stories behind the music and he brings in a lot of that in lyrics. … And my background is more like protest punk, like early D.C. stuff. I came from Austin to here, and I was at University of Texas for a while and saw the Big Boys and Minor Threat. And I moved up here as a skate punk. At some of the shows I remember being the only girl in a bright yellow Zorlac shirt amid an entire sea of people dressed in black. I was wearing cowboy boots and people were like, “whoa …” Black Plastic Bag
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