Things I learned from Vegas this past weekend, the locals are terrifying, my friends and I do the stupidest things for New Found Glory and blueberry lemonade daiquiris do not like to stay in my system. Now it’s back to the reality of my life which telling you about bands I’ve heard through the grapevine that is made up of countless emails that are stacked up in my inbox; bands like Sweatshirt Weather.
Back in February I got a note about an acoustic video from this band I’ve never heard of up until that point. Sweatshirt Weather’s “Sleepy Eyes” was an instant favorite that I found myself listening to one too many times (which, is that even possible?). I had no clue that this was just for the acoustic record they put out this year and that they actually have more upbeat past records that utilize piano to drive their pop rock sound into the base of your brain until you can’t deny them any longer. True story.
Then a few weeks ago I made a note (an actual, not mental) to request an interview with these guys. Of course time got the best of me and the note went untouched until the opportunity came from their end. So finally my written word met Sweatshirt Weather’s Daniel Inskeep. Now keep your eyes on the characters that form words and sentences to learn a lot more about the back bone of Sweatshirt Weather’s existence, like how they manage to keep it all together from separate states, and the future of piano in their realm, plus much more.
Kendra: For those who have yet to fall for your music, I’d like you to compare Sweatshirt Weather’s overall sound to a Spring Break activity, since it’s that time of year…And don’t forget to explain why.
Daniel Inskeep: Our acoustic music I’d describe as laying out on the beach. It’s just relaxing — and your skin will glow when you’re done. Results not guaranteed.
Kendra: Now that we know the music, I want to get to know the men behind the music a little more. I end almost every night watching The Golden Girls. So if each of the guys were one of the Girls, who would be who? (Hint if you’re not a Golden fan: Dorothy-serious business, Rose- bubbly/not all there, Sophia- sassy pants and Blanche- flirt/frisky)
Daniel: We’ll say Chris is Rose, Nate is Sophia, I’m Dorothy, and Chad… well I’m not sure he fits Blanche’s description, but he’s a laidback no-nonsense creative guy.
Kendra: Okay, now onto the meat of the interview…With the first release three years after the band started, was that the point when it sunk in that the band was actually happening, or did you get that feeling way before you had any official album out?
Daniel: It probably sunk in after I quit my job in LA and moved back to Indiana to make the band a priority back in the spring of 2009. Before then, it was just a hobby we spent our free time working on and trading files back and forth on AIM, so moving back to Indiana made it all real.
Daniel: Chris did a full US tour singing in a Rise band for a month or two, along with playing in two other bands and starting a full-time job. Nate booked bands and ran sound at the Irving Theater, along with a full-time job and full-time college classes in Indianapolis. Chad has been working all the time and teaching guitar lessons, and took many trips via bus out to Chicago to work on Translations. I lived in my parents basement delivering pizzas until I moved to Chicago, worked at a few recording studios and became a video editor.
Kendra: Was Translations the result of going stir-crazy and having the need to create?
Daniel: A little bit of both. It was something we had started before Getting By and kind of put on the backburner while we worked out other parts of our lives. After a while, we rejoined with Chris and decided to finish what we started. I think taking a break was necessary for us at that point, but after a while, we all missed working on Sweatshirt Weather and were able to come back to it refreshed.
Kendra: What was the process was like to pick the older songs to acousticify (made that up or murdered the spelling by the way)? Did you already have the songs in mind, or was it more trial and error?
Daniel: We had a preliminary tracklisting of what we thought would be fun to do, but once the vision for the EP was full realized, we ditched a few songs that we thought didn’t fit the overall feel. Some songs just translated to acoustic a little better than others. Initially, we thought we’d do a piano version of “Escapade,” and we even tracked guitars for “Fall and 106,” but I think we were a little tired of those songs and they weren’t relevant to where we are in our lives.
Kendra: Did you go with a Something Corporate bonus track over a more well-known song because you were nervous to tackle a more popular song, or did you just have a personal connection with “Watch the Sky?”
Daniel: Something Corporate has always been an important influence on us musically and personally. We ended up having Jim Wirt — who has been involved with every Andrew McMahon project — produce two songs from Getting By. “Watch the Sky” always seemed like it was overlooked (probably because it was a UK bonus track), but when Chris suggested that we cover it, I could really hear how the overall song would turn out. I knew it was a perfect fit for the EP.
Kendra: Since you guys are currently calling three states home, does that put more stress on the band than it would a romantic relationship in certain ways?
Daniel: There’s always certain stressors that are involved when joining in on a creative and business venture with three of your closest friends, but in the history of the band, we’ve never all lived in the same city at the same time as each other, so we’re used to it. There are definitely limitations to the distance, but between Emoji-filled group text messages and Google Hangouts (the only use for a Google + account), we make it work.
Kendra: I read that when the time comes the LP will have “more guitars and bigger drums,” where does that leave the piano?
Daniel: We’ll see where the piano fits in. At this point, most of the demos still have piano, but it’s less of the focus and used more as texture and depth. We’d like to get away from our MIDI controllers and laptops, leaving the electronics for atmosphere instead of lead parts.
Kendra: The Midwest will be seeing you soon, but what about the coasts?
Daniel: It remains to be seen. We would love to tour full time if the opportunity presents itself, but for the time being we’ll probably be restricted to the Midwest.
Kendra: Let’s stick with the Midwest. If you had to make a mixtape for someone that was titled “Midwest Love” what five songs would be on it?
Daniel: Sticking with mainly Midwest-based bands, it’d look like:
“Broad Ripple is Burning” Margot and the Nuclear So & So’s
“Fast Times at Dropout High” The Ataris
“You Ruined This” The Audition
“You Will You Will” Bright Eyes
“Come On” Number One Fan