Ever pop on a record and immediately fall in love with it? That’s pretty much my reaction to the new 7″ from California’s You Me and Us. With its bright melodies; heartfelt and mature lyrics; and upbeat performances, it’s a perfect fit into my Summer of 2011 soundtrack. In fact, if you love the crop of youthful Houston indie pop like Giant Princess, Wild Moccasins, and Young Girls, I am going to demand(!!!) you do two things. First, go see them at Super Happy Funland on Wednesday and second, click here [ http://grumpybear.bandcamp.com/ ] and download the 7″ yourself. If this doesn’t give you grab you, then you and I have nothing to talk about. Given that the band is less than a year old and this is their first time in Houston, we contacted them so they could introduce themselves to Houston.
FPH - OK you guys are coming into town from California. I’m sure you are under a lot of people’s radar but I think Paperweights is phenomenal. Introduce yourselves: tell us about the band, how you guys came together, your local scene, and that kind of stuff.
Jan- We’re glad you like it! Carlee plays guitar and sings, Ignacio plays bass and I play the drums.
Carlee- Ignacio and I met when we were in high school, and he met Jan when he left for college. We have been hanging out and playing music in other bands together ever since. Ignacio and I live in Palm Springs and we aren’t necessarily a part of the music scene there, but Jan grew up in LA and goes to school in Riverside and both of those cities have been really welcoming and awesome.
FPH - Paperweights pretty upbeat and melodic but undeneath all that are some some less than sunny lyrics. Why the juxtaposition between tone and your lyrics?
Carlee- I think that contrast has always been present in my songwriting. I love sunny pop songs, simple chord progressions and easy melodies. But lyrically, I like for there to be a strangeness. It’s a slightly more modern take on nostalgic pop.
FPH – Who writes the songs and the lyrics and how is the dynamics and personalities of the members help shape the songs?
Ignacio- Carlee writes the lyrics and comes to Jan and I with a guitar part. I think it’s our individual musical influences that write the rest of the songs.
Carlee- My first outlines of songs are usually very simple and purely surf or pop. Jan and Ignacio add a lot of dynamic to the initial idea and come up with things I wouldn’t initially think to try that end up working out really nicely.
FPH - This is pretty unabashed pop but it’s also very garagey in its production. Where do you draw your inspiration and by that I mean not just bands but from other art forms, friends, or whatever?
Ignacio-Musically, we all have a love of 50′s and 60′s pop and early punk, but the garagey undertones you can pick out in our songs come from a lot of late 80′s/early 90′s experimental and grunge.
Jan- As far as other inspirations go, our top three of all time have to be dogs, spinach and artichoke pizza, and adventures.
FPH – Speaking of Adventure, if each band member was an Adventure Time with Finn and Jake character, who would it be?
Ignacio- Lumpy Space Princess, in fact I was LSP for Halloween this last year!
Carlee- The Candy Corn, without a doubt.
Jan- I’d be the Cinnamon Bun.
FPH - It doesn’t look like you guys have been around long. Is this your first tour and release?
Ignacio- We’ve all toured with other bands before, but this is You Me & Us’ first tour and it’s also the biggest tour any of us have ever been on. Aside from a demo we recorded when we first started playing together in January, Paperweights is our first release. We love these songs and we’re really excited to be playing them every night, meeting awesome people, and seeing most of the country.
FPH – You have some live videos on your website with some great songs that are from the demo. I was listening to the demo and it’s funny how you guys have progressed from that. “Ugly Pants” seems a little hesitant in its performance and you sound like you are doing a very Pixies kind of thing and “Vegetable Soup” sound much more confident and driving in the video version than on the demo. How was that session different than Paperweights and how do you feel you guys have progressed as a band over the last few months?
Jan- The demo wasn’t too focused on the production in a sense, I guess. We just really wanted to put something out at that moment. With ‘Paperweights’, we took more time with writing and recording the album.
Carlee- We definitely gave the songs and the overall direction of the record a lot more time to develop.
FPH – Since you guys have only been around for less than a year, this is all pretty new. Where do you see the band and the music going from here?
Ignacio- We want to tour with Paperweights as much as possible.
Jan- Just looking to play more shows and write more songs along the way.
FPH – OK, you are going to be playing Super Happy Funland. Which part of that are you most excited about - the Super, the Happy, or the Fun?
Jan- All of the above!
You, Me and Us, perfroms Wednesday 17 August with Wheelchair Sports Camp, Arcane Alchemy @ Super Happy Fun Land Doors 8pm, All Ages, $??