We have a special treat today for our diehard Scone-lovers. Alejandra, Mary, and Will of the darling post-pop-punk trio, Tarpaulin, have shed light on their origins, dreams, and meditations on Monday night trivia. You can listen to their new Homesick EP while you read, although they also recommend listening while eating a bowl of cereal and/or getting some “computer work” done.
Scones: What is the Tarpaulin creation myth?
Alejandra: I said to Mary, Mary can you play bass? and Mary said, I already told you I can play bass. I asked Will, Will can you play
drums? And he said, no but I can try. Then he dug a rusty floor tom, snare and cymbal out of his parents’ basement and has been the star ever since.
Will: I also decided to add an element of mystery by draping my drums in a gray blanket while i play. It’s probably worth mentioning that during our first few practices I drummed on a pair of plastic buckets.
Scones: How did you shape your intersection of punk, lo-fi and pop?
Mary: Our sound comes from how we all play our instruments. The skills we have and things we each like inform how it all comes together. I like melodic, simple bass lines that have a bit of teeth.
Will: I just try to make a decent racket to make up for my lack of a traditional drum kit. When I’m coming up with parts I tend to keep it simple, like Mo Tucker, or do a weird riff, like the guy from the National. Those guys are probably who I mainly look towards for this band, as well as my idea of what a caveman drummer might sound like.
Alej: I just sort of write these semi-indie pop songs and I bring them to Mary and Will and they just craft their own lines and really make it what it is. It’s unique and undefined. Songs often turn out how I would have never expected, but are always good because Mary and Will have their own inspirations.
Scones: Is Madison a new hotbed of musical exploration? A growing scene?
Alej: I think the more people come out of the cracks the more I really think, wow! This has been a garage/punk/metal-based town for such a long time it’s nice that the popular bands in town we like are inspiring other folks to get started. I feel like people brought pop and indie rock to the scene and now more folks are thinking, hey, I can get out there, too.
Will: My roommate (Tessa Echeverria of Gonzo Rongs, with her partner Mark Haines) just opened up an analog recording studio and performance venue- it’s where we recorded our EP, Homesick. Keep on the lookout for shows at Williamson Magnetic Recordings, it’s gonna be a great asset to the music
Mary: I have only lived in Madison for one year and almost all of my friends are in multiple bands. I am still learning about new groups almost every week. Seems like a never-ending ever-changing scene, and right now is a ‘boom’ moment.
Scones: Your songs often invoke the second person. Who are you singing to?
Alej: It really depends on the song. I try my best to direct my songs to people who have really impacted me, but while seeming vague enough that a listener could put themselves in that place with their person. I will say that in “Letter to Emilia” I am singing to one of my greatest friends, Emilia, about a tough year and how I can’t wait to be with her and really talk about that. She lives in NYC and I don’t get to see her a lot.
Scones: What activity would you recommend for listeners while the Homesick cassette spins in their boom boxes?
Alej: It’s definitely a good EP to put on while you’re getting creative. Painting or drawing, maybe getting some computer work done. Hell, maybe you’re cleaning your room.
Mary: Holding hands with a past love or getting dressed to go to your best friend’s going away party.
Will: I think the best thing to do would probably be to eat a nice big bowl of cereal while you listen.
Scones: Is your slogan “finally a pop band we can believe in?”
Alej: I think we’re poppy, but we’re not all pop. I’d say, maybe: a band that will make us sad with out making us cry. Mary likes to say we write sad songs for sunny days.
Scones: Do you ever compete in Monday night team trivia at Sett and what was it like opening for Girlpool?
Mary: I really enjoy trivia. Next time I hope our show at the Sett with Girlpool is on a Monday, and perhaps we will compete together.
Alej: I work at a restaurant that hosts trivia so I often avoid trivia, but maybe it would be nice to be on the other side! Opening for Girlpool was really rad. Mary had put “Blah blah blah” on a mix for me and I found it to be really compelling and I enjoyed how minimalist it was. It was really quite nice and I did say hello to them and they were also very nice. We had a great time, it was good to see so many people in the crowd, and the UW- Madison is great.
Will: My drums fell over, but luckily it was during literally the last beat of our last song.
Scones: How do I get a Tarpaulin cassette?
Mary: The second run of our EP ‘Homesick’ will be out just in time for Christmas on Rare Plant Records.
Alej: You can order one at tarpaulin.bandcamp.com or pick one up at a show anytime!
Scones: What can we expect next? Tour? Double LP? Replacing guitar and bass with synth?
Alej: I’ll leave this one to Mary, but I can say that we are definitely looking forward to expanding and traveling and writing/recording more music.
Mary: We want to go on tour in early spring of 2016 and hopefully record an LP after that. Tough to say what’s next when we are members of the ‘NOW’ generation.
Will: The next thing I’m about to do, personally, is make some pasta.
Scones: What are the three worst qualities of your ex?
Alej: Which one?
Check out the band’s Facebook page here
…and go to their show at The Frequency tonight in Madison!