Sunday, March 28

First & Last #6 - Keepaway

. Sunday, March 28

'Yellow Wings' is one of the best songs I have heard all year. It sounds like what I want Animal Collective to sound like, floaty and magical but clever and tight all the way through. I knew I had to grab a hold of them soon before they become something out of my league. So, shortly after they hit SXSW I grabbed some time with the Brooklyn trio.

First band you ever saw live?
Nick: When I was a baby and toddler my dad and mom would take me to rallies in the Bay Area. I saw or at least soaked up a lot of politically impassioned folk-rock. I don’t think I went to a show on my own volition until about 6th grade, probably a free show on the Charles River in Boston- I think to see Cake. I got bored and left, though. Mike was there.

Mike: Yeah, I went for the fried dough and stayed for the music.

Frank: My first show that felt like a "real" show was Spinal Tap in 3rd grade. They were touring in support of their second album, Break Like the Wind. I saw them in Phoenix, Arizona with my parents. It's a pretty good place to see something like that actually. I had not seen the movie or anything and did not know the full dimension of what they were getting at. I just liked their record a lot and would dance in the dining room to it and memorize the lyrics and stuff.

What was the first instrument you played as a child?
Nick: I played my sand toys along to “Buffalo Soldier.”

Frank: Haha, nice one Nick. I guess my first instrument was the recorder. I went to a little Montessori school in Prescott, Arizona and we all played them together. I was not that crazy about it at the time, but now I love flutes as much as anything on earth. No lies... Also, in some ways I think that the 8-bit Nintendo controller was my first instrument. The movements of the players and the actions created sounds and I became truly obsessed with the rhythm and efficiency of my play. My mom used to find me in front of the TV playing in my sleep. So it's pretty deep in my limbic system and know that it has a lot to do with how I approach samplers and drumming.

Mike: I had this Fisher Price cassette player with a mic attached that I would scream along to Kool and the Gang with.

First song you wrote as Keepaway?
Nick: In this collaborative formation, the first song we wrote was “Yellow Wings.” We weren’t called Keepaway then, though. Before that, I’d worked on stuff with Frank separately from Mike, and with Mike separately from Frank.

Frank: Yes, Nick is telling the truth. There is nothing else to say.

Mike: Yup… Yellow Wings fun fact: The sample at the beginning is from the crayon factory episode of Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood! [Editor’s note: that might not be true.]

Where was the last show you played? How did it go?

Frank: Nick and I had an important moment before the show in our bungalow trying to decide what to wear for our final sxsw appearance. We were sharing in the reoccurring challenge of what to pair with sweatpants when I realized that Nick would look good in sweatpants without a shirt on. You know, like just wearing his skin and stuff. It happened, and I think a lot of people felt sort of sexual. The internet has generally failed to cover this, which surprises me.

Nick: The last show we played was at a place called Vice in Austin, TX. It went just fine. SXSW was a giant performance unto itself.

Mike: Time Out NY’s Showcase @ Buffalo Billiards was a great show too…

First album you ever bought?
Nick: With my own dough? Smashing Pumpkins, Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness. I got it for 2 dollars at a thrift store. I couldn’t believe my good fortune, because it wasn’t that old yet, and seemed strange it was already used. My family hadn’t had a CD player until just before that, and I was stoked to blast it.

Mike: I split the cost of Prodigy, Fat of the Land with my brother. But the first single I ever bought was Gangster’s Paradise on cassette.

Frank: Digable Planets Reachin': A New Refutation of Time and Space. I still listen to this record regularly and think it is a totally remarkable achievement. Their slang is playful and inspiring and the mixing is dimensional and I sweat it. I always wanted it to be playing over the loud speakers during my indoor soccer games.

Last time you were drunk was...

Nick: Last Saturday. But I only drink when I’m thirsty.

Frank: Yes I rarely get proper drunk. It is very dehydrating. I think a couple of drinks and ONE hit of weed is a pretty fresh look though. I call it "getting tiny..."

Mike: I actually got pretty drunk on Saturday too, watching Scarface with red wine! I don’t think anyone knows how drunk I got.

Nick: That was on Sunday, Mike.

First crush on a famous person...

Nick: I have a crush on Frank.

Mike: Shelly Duvall via Faerie Tale Theatre. Or maybe Goldie Hawn in Overboard. Weird how I find both of these women absolutely repulsive now… No offense.

Frank: Ummm... Maybe the girls in SWV. That stuff gave me new feelings in my pants that I did not understand but did enjoy. Their videos were smooth and I wish girls still wore pants like that.

The last band you saw live recently?
Nick: It was the last show I saw at SXSW. I had been lamping all the aforementioned Saturday night at this one place that was giving free juice out to people in bands. There was a decent showcase that night, and I couldn’t get enough of their acai/ liquor blends. But it was really cold that night, so well after midnight I found myself relatively alone, near a fire in a trash can, while that band Titus Andronicus played to the icy wind. I dug it. I can really get down with pumping my fist sometimes. Figuratively.

Frank: I have already seen music in Brooklyn since I returned by SXSW. I saw my friend Bryce and his pal Victor stretch it out at Matchless in Greenpoint the other night. Victor's stuff made me think of futurism, which was a fun feeling to have, and Bryce's music made me write poetry for the first time in at least... a few years? I knew it was poetry because I was paying a lot of attention to what the words looked like and how I wanted to spell them.

Mike: I try to avoid live music if possible, it usually just makes me anxious- if they suck, I feel personally responsible, and if they rule I feel inadequate.

Tell me about the first ever Keepaway show

Nick: It was at Zebulon, in Brooklyn. You should go there, it’s really nice.

Frank: We listened to Bashy's "Adulthood" song before the show to get hyped up. There are other things I could mention about the show but it would be too gossipy and controversial for us right now. Get back to us in 6 months and we'll be ready to wisely select our beefs.

Last time you swore...
Nick: Shit, I don’t know.

Mike: I swear all the time. It’s bad, but it makes me look cool. Like smoking.

Frank: I think I was having a conversation with a girl that I kiss with and I mentioned "fucking." But we mostly made/make love. It's better.

First time you met your band mate(s)?
Nick: Frank and I met in college. I remember peeing next to him outside of a show and talking about how we were both feeling very strong about the music. I don’t know if he remembers that. Mike and I met in fourth grade. We were four-square nemeses and professed vocal hatred of each other until the next year, when we started making projects together.

Mike: Yeah, I remember Nick used to wear a pen around his neck to rep Ghost Writer (an American TV show where a ghost helps kids solve crimes by being nerds). I was jealous I hadn’t thought of that. I met Frank in a burrito place in Brooklyn. I can’t remember if he had a mustache or not, but I recall an instant attraction to his keen wit and playful sense of humor.

Frank: I remember what Nick was talking about, but I think we had smiled at each other before that though. I was older than Nick and I remember thinking that him and his girlfriend were the perfect hippies. I remember aiming some smiles at them one time as I passed by some event about being a farmer that they were involved in. The true birth of my friendship with Nick though really comes from the time we spent together in San Francisco. The first time I met Mike was in Brooklyn at a Mexican restaurant. We made pleasantries, and Mike said I "seemed nice" which was cute and funny. Mike is a very mysterious man, and you don't really get to understand him at first glance. Now I do understand him though, and I love him. He is a gifted comedian and has a cool body for bird tricks among other things.

Last film you saw...
Nick: We all watched Scarface together the other night. The Brian de Palma one. The colors in that movie are really vibrant.

Frank: Yes. I was glad to see it. It had been so hyped for me by so many athletes and rappers. And it stood up to the expectations. I think that the art direction in that movie is spectacular. The kind of art that cocaine dealers were buying in Miami in the late 70's and early 80's should be more canonized and fawned over. My mom used to watch a lot of Miami Vice so I think that stuff feels naturally beautiful to me and I would like to learn how to make things look like that.

Mike: I saw bits and pieces of Witness last night, with Harrison Ford. He has a love affair with an Amish broad in this classic.

Keepaway @ Myspace


jackie said...

entertaining interview! Keepaway are great guys! They did a live studio session of new songs on

Post a Comment