A further sign that SF just can't stop owning the national music scene: Weekend. For a band that's only been around for a blink of an eye (two years), they've already chiseled out a sound (a roaring, wistful barrage of hooks, ravenous basslines and ferociously forboding shoegaze blasts of noise) and taken it around the world on a tour for their debut album Sports (Slumberland), which dropped last year.
Before hitting the asphalt again this summer to record their upcoming EP, Weekend plays one of their biggest local shows yet at the Independent this Thursday, May 19. We caught up with bassist Shaun Durkan to chat about their adventures on the road with legendary art-rock band Wire and their new music.
How was touring with Wire?
It was a total learning experience, those guys are professionals, they’re been doing it for almost 35 years. I made a lot of faux pas, I guess you could say, like borrowing gear and then not returning it the way it was. The first night of tour in Edinburgh, I borrowed bassist Graham Lewis’ bass rig and there was this total mix up about how I was supposed to reset the knobs back to how they were, and he came back furious after the show and gave me a traditional tongue-lashing.
He lectured you?
It was more like, “Don’t f***ing do that again.” In a stern, fatherly way.
Can you get specific about what all the touring’s done to your sound, attack, stage show?
I think just playing that many nights in a row in so many different sound situations and venue situations makes you a little more adaptable. I’m pretty confident we can show up to any venue and figure out how to make our unique sound come through the speakers. It’s really tough because all the clubs are different, and we didn’t have a sound engineer. But now we can deal with accidents, f*** ups and the pressure of supporting a band like Wire, or anyone.
What’s it like to be part of the Slumberland revival?
When we first started out we had these lofty ambitions, like whose label would we wanna be on. Slumberland was at the top of the list, and at that point it was more like a fantasy. We’ve always been persistent, a band that makes what we want to happen happen. It’s really cool, I love Slumberland’s roster right now and in the past, and there’s no one better to be working with than Mike. He’s a passionate music lover and incredibly supportive and fair and trustworthy. Not to mention all the cool bands we’ve gotten to meet and play with.
So the Independent show will be your biggest headlining show so far, right?
Yeah, it’s the biggest headlining show for sure, we’ve played there before but it was when we were supporting our friends The Pains of Being Pure at Heart, so it was a different situation. I think we headlined at Rickshaw Stop once but the Independent’s a much bigger set up. It should be really fun, I hope a lot of friends come out and enjoy the new music we play.
You guys are going to play new stuff?
Yeah I think we’re gonna play 3 or 4 new songs. We’re working on some songs for an EP that’s gonna come out on Slumberland records in September. We’re going in the studio late this month to start working on it.
I’ve read a lot about your shoegaze /new wave influences, but not a lot about your hardcore and punk ones. Can you talk about those?
Yeah I think as kids in middle school, we grew up skating and listening to punk music and stuff, like Crass, Subhumans or Dead Kennedys. Not super underground, but pretty underground for a sixth-grader. And I think all of us got pretty disillusioned with that kind of punk scene because for all the new bands that were playing it, it seemed more aesthetically based than anything. So that turned me onto hardcore because there was an emotional immediacy to it that was really great. I flirted with the idea of bringing some more of those elements back into our music. I think our music is still aggressive and confrontational and we get a lot of that from punk and hardcore, but I think it comes out a little more ethereal and introspective.
Your sound was so fully-formed when Sports first dropped– how do you see it evolving, as it will inevitably?
It’s hard to say. We did a one night recording session about a month or two ago and we didn’t have anything written and we kind of just wrote and recorded two tracks over night and they turned out really well. I’m excited about those. I can’t really say how they’re coming across yet, I think they’re less overtly aggressive, and maybe a little more intricate and mood-based. But I really won’t know until we come out of the studio because a lot of the writing we do happens in the studio. I’ve been really trying to work more New Order and The Cure angles into the new stuff.