Californian couplet, The Submarines have perfected their nostalgia-tinged acoustic pop and are taking their album 'Love Notes/Letter Bombs' on tour supporting the likes of The Mountain Goats and Eels. We caught up with them ahead of their Newcastle date and captured a couple of beautiful live performances.
You guys have been touring the UK for the last few weeks with The Mountain Goats as a duo, instead of a full band. How have the gigs been going?
Really great. It's been a lot of fun getting to know the Goats and hearing them play every night. The duo thing is a bit of an adjustment. Even though we did start the band out that way, just Blake and myself, we've been working really hard with Jason and Scott to get the four-piece in shape. It's nice though, to play the songs in a more minimalist manner.
Now I know the session you did for us was very stripped back, but what can fans expect in future tours as a duo (such as the Eels support slot in August) compared to your usual live/studio sound?
The Amazing Radio session was just two guitars and glockenspiel. For the "Analog Duo" set on the Eels tour, we're throwing in some beats and sounds... a variety of guitars and maybe a bit of keyboard. We've also taken a different approach with some of the arrangements. More of a live remix. It's still very stripped down compared to the full band. A bit more song focused, minimal sonics. Still, we try to rock it out.
Speaking of the Eels tour, you must be bouncing off the walls with excitement for it, how did it come about?
We're very excited. We've been fans for a long time and are looking forward to watching Mark and his band night after night. I'm sure it'll be inspiring--we always learn a lot from the bands we're on tour with.
I read your bio about how you both met, collaborated and eventually married. How do you find both working and living life on the road together?
Oh my. We could write a book about it. Haha! Overall, it's a very positive experience. Making records, playing shows and traveling the world together has been beautiful. It does, however, have its challenges. It can be difficult to find your own time and space. It's also tough when you both go through the same lows - it's harder to lift each other up. It's also nearly impossible to separate the work from our personal lives. Still, it's a choice we make.
Living in LA, would you say it's more difficult to be heard as an artist in such a crowded place (with regards to the music industry) or easier to be discovered because of where you are? I guess the UK equivalent would be bands who pack up and move to london to try and get signed.
You know, I'm not really sure. It all seems difficult to me. I don't think it's really necessary to be in a big city these days. You've got great bands in Idaho and Kentucky. That said, it's been great for us. We've also been focusing on film and television soundtracks as well as producing other bands. Los Angeles is a great place for that. There are some of the best musicians and writers in the world here. It can be totally inspiring... and intimidating.
Being an active emerging artist in today's digital music climate, what advice would you give to other emerging acts trying to get where you are?
Maybe this is for the early stages, but I say forget about everything else and truly lose yourself in the musical process. I loved being naive and idealistic! Haha. Write songs and record them - or get together with your friends and have fun. The business, and all the social media networking stuff... yeah, it's important, but there will be plenty of time to figure that out.
Having been to Europe a few times, what would you highlight as memorable cities/shows?
Playing the stage at Koko in London. That venue has so much history. One of my favorite bands ever, The Clash, played a residency there in 1978 when it called Music Machine. I also loved Dublin. Oslo and Stockholm are rad cities too. And of course Newcastle! The Ouseburn - such a groovy zone.
So what's next for you guys, release wise?
The new album has only been out for about a month, so we have a lot of work to do. Tour. Tour and tour. When that's finished we'll likely get back into writing and recording mode. I have some things I'd like to try and Blake is planning a solo record.
How did you find your Amazing Radio session experience in our studio?
Thoroughly enjoyable! We were a bit delirious though. Late night prior and an early morning drive!
The Submarines are set to support Eels throughout their American tour this summer so catch them if they're in your town! In the meantime, check out more from The Submarines at their amazingtunes.com profile.