Simon Hadley 28/03/2010
Forming from the ashes of previous bands in the Boston, Massachusetts area, Lo-Fi indie band, Girlfriends have been making waves both in America and on message boards across the UK.
I recently caught up with Jenny, Andy and Ben to find out what has been behind their current success and their plans for the future.
How did the formation of the band come about?
Jenny: Well we all knew each other through mutual friends and we all knew that we all played different instruments and none of us were playing in band at the time really... so we decided to play together and now we have a band!
Andy: Ben and my band competed for the high school battle of the bands and we both lost, but we were both neck and neck.
Ben: I didn't really meet Andrew though until 2008 in The Holiday Band, he played drums and I played acoustic guitar and we covered Spiral Staircase.
What kind of feedback have you guys been receiving in the US?
Andy: Well... good feedback, lots of love, blogs like us, local weeklies.
Jenny: Shows have been pretty well attended and have been really fun.
How did it feel to be featured on the Boston Herald's 10 Bands to Watch List for 2010?
Ben: I was really surprised because we'd only been around for like a few months.
Andrew: Well maybe we had only played a handful of shows.
Jenny: But we had a tape out. It was surprising but it felt good, the only thing is that they said we destining to break up.
Andy: I didn't understand that comment.
What are you favourite types of venue to play live?
Jenny: Basement shows, definitely because you get to stand really close to your friends and play music for them and it's really fun. It's comfortable as it's almost like you're in a practise space.
Andy: The sound normalises and everything goes at the same level.
Any plans to release a debut album within the next year or so, either digitally or on vinyl?
Yeah, there's a 7-inch coming out in late spring and hopefully another one. We have a bunch of songs recorded; I think we're going to release a couple of 7-inchs.
How successful have website such as Last FM and Myspace been in getting the band across to a wider audience?
Ben: Last FM has a really terrible interface, where if you have the same name as another band you have to share your name with them.
Jenny: There are other bands that share our name, there's like a competition to see whose picture pops up when you type in Girlfriends.
Ben: But myspace is useful for having streaming audio up and a centralised location. People know to look for myspace, but it's definitely like the lowest common denominator for websites.
Jenny: It's weird though, as I feel that myspace has failed in comparison to facebook recently as a social networking website, but as far as the music goes it's not bad.
Ben: It's really ease to get stuff on there (myspace) and that definitely a benefit. In the DIY punk community, people want to avoid it because of who owns it, but then people want to use it because it's the easiest thing to use if you're doing it yourself.
You guys are building up quite an underground fan base on message boards across the UK, are there any plans to tour the UK in the future?
Yes! Yes! Yes! If you'll have us!
Hopefully within a year, we'll be there (UK) and Europe in general, but there will be a US tour in the summer.
Where did the idea come from to release a lot of your early songs on cassettes and what sort of reaction have you been getting from fans at shows and online?
Jenny: I'd say it's a mixed reaction. A lot of people are like: “Cassette... WHAT?” but then a lot of people are excited about it too, because they're neat to have.
Ben: I think generally that people who listen to music like that we're releasing stuff on cassettes because people who are fans of music are fans of different ways in which music comes out, some people like vinyl, some people like compact disks, but a lot of us in this age bracket (mid 20's) grew up with cassettes. They're really fun and make me feel good, but people tend to ask us questions about them a lot.
They seem to be pointed questions sometimes, there sort of insinuating like its pretentious or something...
Andy: Yeah, like: “I hate your cassette?”
Ben: We're been asked if we think it's pretentious or wilfully like we it's dead media and we shouldn't be doing it, which I think is silly. I think the format can fit what type of music you're doing; I think pop songs sound good on cassettes also, their cheap to make and cheap to sell.
It says on your Myspace page that you are more or less influenced by everything (apart from rap!) Are there any particular bands that you've been influenced by more than others?
Ben: The Hollies, The Beatles, we cover The Vaselines and The Modern Lovers because we like those bands.
Andy: I think we're very inspired by a lot of bands around here that are doing things, I mean you're very inspired by what's going on around you.
A lot of 60's pop, surf bands.
Girlfriends' new single: 'Good To Be True' can be downloaded for free at http://ampeatermusic.com/aem075 while cassettes of the bands first initial demos can be bought from floatinggarbagecontinent.org