Tennis' Patrick Riley on Growing Up in Arizona, Working with Pat Carney of The Black Keys, and Living With His Wife on a Sailboat
Best Beach Wavves Coast House Fossils. There are plenty of "beachy" bands out there, and most of them combine 60's pop melodies with boatloads of reverb. Tennis plays off the nautical theme -- on in name, but in origin: the Colorado husband and wife team were initially inspired by a seven-month Atlantic sailing trip. Should we call it yacht-gaze?
Tennis' debut album, Cape Dory was released earlier this year, and the group is following it up with Young and Old on Valentine's Day of next year. Tennis is kicking off a short tour with Miniature Tigers tomorrow, December 6, at Crescent Ballroom.
We recently caught up with guitarist Patrick Riley to discuss recruiting Patrick Carney of The Black Keys as a producer, living on a boat, and what to expect from Young and Old.
I'd like to talk a little bit about your new album, Young and Old. What was it like working with Patrick Carney of The Black Keys?
It was definitely a good experience. We were really hesitant about using a producer at all. I think secretly we're all kind of anti-producer people. Throughout history, I feel like bands have the most change when they introduce a producer into the picture. We were really worried that they were going to take the reigns and run off in a different direction than we wanted. But, in the case of Patrick Carney, everything we wanted was completely fulfilled and came out in a way that we were all really happy with.
I know you wrote Cape Dory after a long boat trip, so it would be impossible to get the same exact sound twice. With that, how is Young and Old different from Cape Dory?
Young and Old is our first album so to speak. Cape Dory wasn't meant to be listened to by anyone else other than ourselves. We wrote it at home and recorded most of it at home and it was supposed to stay that way. It was a total accident that we stumbled into this career of making music and touring around the world. In that sense, Cape Dory was just an album for us. We really like it because of that, there's a cohesiveness to it that feels really good to us.
With Young and Old, we just wanted to make an album that showed that we were comfortable with making albums, and comfortable with our band, and with each other, and our writing styles. When we first approached Patrick Carney, we were just like, "Hey, we haven't really done much as a band and we were so restricted before because we were a three piece, and now we want to take out all the stops and make an album."
I find that interesting that originally Cape Dory was just for you guys, then all of a sudden, Tennis was everywhere. How would you describe your success? How did you make it as a national touring band?
It's a really shitty time to be in a band right now. The money's bad, with the internet, everything's transparent, you can't hold on to your lives anymore. I think both of us were really resisting being in a band. It really just came about by accident. Some of our friends convinced us to play a show after hearing some of our music at home and we drunkenly agreed one night and we ended up playing a show and our music just started snowballing. We couldn't stop it, this life was already set out in front of us. We're kind of like downstream swimmers if you will. We just took it where it wanted to take us.
I wish I could say that deep down inside we've been working at this for years, and years, and years. Alaina [Moore] and I have fairly strong musical backgrounds, we were both music majors in college at one point, but that dream faded pretty quickly and we both found ourselves not looking for a career in the music industry in any respect. It fell into our lap in a really interesting way and we took it.