Somewhere, sometime in the midst of all the the songs you might hear in a day, and always when you least expect it, what should come popping out of your speakers but something so magnificently musical that it literally picks you up and puts you in a state of bliss. That's how I felt when I first heard the semisweet melodic strains of minipop, a 5 person band from the San Francisco bay area that brings such a unique brand of magic to our indie music world. The sound is so full, the harmonies so perfect that this is one of those rare cases where you might actually employ the adjective Beatleesque with no qualifiers required. minipop is simply one of the best bands on the planet right now and I suspect there's no stopping them if they continue writing songs like these.
The chemistry of
this 2 woman, 3 man band reminds you of the kind of songs you would
hear on your transistor radio during the hottest and best days of
summer, when your life was changing by the hour, depending on what new
person came into your world. While there are many elements to
their sound including rich rhythm guitars and lush, soaring keys, it
registers as one whole vibe as you listen and get swept
away. minipop has already had 2 songs reach number
1 on the Kayak Big 50 including Butterflies which is the only song ever
to have more than one week at the top. Another song,
Generator, is on the way to the top presently. I recently had
a chance to ask the band a few questions so we could get to know them a
Scott: ok where should I start ? Butterflies is one of my favorite alltime indie songs. What different things in life give you butterflies ? Do you really take a drink before your shift ? I hope you work for the government. :)
Tricia: Thinking about Asta (lauren’s dog) gives me butterflies- she’s a fuzzy bundle of love. Fat Mike (lauren’s cat) isn’t too bad either.
Matt: butterflies is a song I wrote about a girl that I used to visit almost everyday before work. She was a waitress and worked in the restaurant across the street from the night club where I worked. I’d always order a beer and an appetizer and try and start some kind of conversation with her. I’d get so nervous about it and would just end up fumbling with my fork and looking like a dork. As to the things that give me butterflies, I still get nervous before shows and need to mellow myself out a bit before I go onstage. Fortunately I don’t work for the government.
Nick: i get butterflies when i
watch hoosiers or rocky. † these are movies i've seen a
jillion times and know the outcome yet when ollie has to make those
freethrows at the end...very tense moment
Scott: Your bio says one of you was a star water polo player and gave it up to write songs. Was it a tough choice ? And do you find that your buoyant quality helps in your music ?
Matt: I played water polo in
college and played on the United States national teams for a
while. When I was about to graduate from college I had a
choice of trying to go to the Olympics for water polo or playing
music. The choice was difficult, but playing music has always
been such a dream for me and is really the only thing that makes me
truly happy. I’m glad I made the decision I did, although
going to Australia for the Olympics would have been pretty
fun. Hopefully we’ll get to tour down there and I’ll know I
made the right choice.
Scott: I see you are also a live act. How does your live music compare to your recorded music ? I hope you someday put some live tracks up on our site (he says selfishly). What's your ultimate live show venue ?
Tricia: I have no idea what it is like to see minipop live. All I know is we tend to use lots of lights, lanterns, heavy signs and way too much equipment. We use quite a bit of electricity. It would be pretty cool to play at Coachella, not for the sound quality because outdoor sound isn’t the greatest, but for the experience.
Matt: I think our music translates really well live because tricia’s voice is so soothing and beautiful. Also, it’s a chance to feel the power of the music. We’re a pretty loud band when we play live and it’s a nice combination of dreamy vocals and heavy guitars and drums. I really enjoy playing live and we’ve had a great response from the audiences. My favorite venue is the great American music hall in san francisco.
Nick: i have a recurring dream
that we are playing at my high school except that i've forgotten my
clothes or i've left my bass at home. † so probably not
there. † i'd settle for coachella though.
Scott: ok let's jump to something philosophical. :) Do you believe in fate or in hard work ? When you first got together and you heard your sound, did you feel that something magical brought you all together or do you have more of a practical vibe about it ?
Tricia: So far for us it’s been a combination of fate and hard work. When I ran into Matt again at the Independent after not seeing him in 5 years, everything fell into place because we were exactly what the other person was hoping for (musically.. haha). That was a sort of magical time. So I think fate, or luck or whatever you want to call it is what started minipop. Hard work and maintaining a somewhat positive frame of mind is what has brought us to where we are and will keep us going.
Matt: I believe in fate to an extent. I don’t think that things will just happen without putting a lot of effort into it. I’ve dedicated my whole life to pursuing music and have tried to put myself into a situations that will make it possible to be successful. But for all that hard work, I do believe it was fate that brought tricia and I together. She came along at a very interesting time in my life and our musical creation was indeed very fatal. I do feel “magical” sometimes when our band plays. It really feels right…
Nick: it weren't for fate i
wouldn't even be in the band. † all the events that had to
occur to bring me here had to happen a certain way. †
however, i do believe something magical did bring us together.
† i call them cars. † have you † ever looked inside
the hood of a car? † magical.
Scott: Does your band set any goals for itself as far as breaking thru into mainsream music or do you mainly just do your music and try to let things take care of itself ?
Tricia: We haven’t set those kind of goals. We really just want to make music that we like. If someday we end up on MTV that’s great, but they can find us.
Matt: we set goals for ourselves that revolve around booking shows and getting tshirts made and recording. Our music will either appeal to people or it won’t. as long you’re making music that you’d want to listen to then you’re staying true to yourself and doing the right thing. Hopefully other people share your vision…
Nick: I think benjamin franklin
said it best when he said "life is a series of bone crushing defeats
until someone kicks you in the groin". † i think the point he
was trying to make was to set lofty goals like having a multimillion
dollar record contract and a house in the hollywood hills with a solid
Scott: Are there issues you just can't get away from being in a band with guys and girls ? I often hear that it's much harder to maintain a mixed band, care to share any of the drama behind the band's chemistry ? :)
Tricia: Yeah, these guys are bullies... what are you going to do?
Matt: well, there are definitely times when priorities in the band are different, ie some want to shop for records and some want to shop for clothes.
Nick: you'd think so,
like having pillow fights and sleepovers and doing each other's hair.
which does happen on occasion. it's pretty smooth sailing
most of the time. except for when lauren hits me and i have to start
telling people that "i fell." overall, it's similar to the
brady bunch except without having parents or a house keeper and instead
of 3 boys and 3 girls you have 3 boys and 2 girls and no dog but we do
Scott: I think I hear elements of the Beatles and Fleetwood Mac in your music, maybe also Pink Floyd and Radiohead. How far am I off guessing some of your influences ?
Tricia: Yep. Beatles, Pink Floyd, Radiohead, Flaming Lips, Mazzy Star, and many many others.
Matt: I’d say Pink Floyd is a good
call from my end. They are my favorite band and I’m sure that
comes through with some of my writing and guitar parts. I’m
pretty much a Floyd fanatic and feel that they are the most
accomplished band ever. Their albums are so diverse and the
quality never suffered. I do however feel that ‘The Final
Cut’ is the last true Pink Floyd album. Roger Waters is
incredible and probably my biggest musical influence.
Scott: Your song Fingerprints, about leaving fingerprints on every surface, it's kind of thought provoking. What I get out of that is that every act you do in this world has some kind of impact. Anything you can add to that, can the writer recall what led to writing that song ?
Tricia: I generally prefer to leave the interpretation open to the listener. But in a broad sense, the song is about remembering the past and being hopeful for the future.
Matt: that’s a great
interpretation of the song, I like that a lot. It’s so great
to hear what people visualize with our songs, and it’s usually
different from person to person which is what makes music so
Scott: Have any of you had any major turning points in your life that you want to tell the story of ?
Tricia: Um, yes…. right now. We’ll see which way I turn.
Matt: I think my two biggest turning points were graduating from college and the forming of this band. Graduating from college is such a reality check. It’s basically like getting thrown out of a tree and realizing you’re not a bird. When the idea for this band came to me I realized that I was going to put everything I had into it, (financially, emotionally, creatively) and that it would be my last musical ambition.
Nick: i'm waiting for the day i
become a man. † when that happens i'll let matt tell you
Scott: Do you believe in UFOs, had any strange experiences in that realm ?
Tricia: I’m sorry to disappoint you but no, I don’t believe in UFO’s. But in all seriousness, I once thought Matt was my guardian angel… that’s pretty weird right?
Matt: I don’t believe in UFO’s but I definitely believe in life all over the galaxy. I think someday they will shoot someone into space on a one way ticket and that could be super cool. I bet a lot of people would sign up for that trip. I’d be tempting to go, you could record everything with video and audio and then when you were about to die you could fire off a rocket that would contain all that you filmed and send it back to earth. I don’t think we’ve been contacted by any aliens, the timing to me seems too improbable. But they are out there for sure. Good question…
Nick: if the ufos ever come to
take over the earth i'll be one of the first to side with them.
† if instead it were zombies....that would be a dream come