The Courtneys Belong in the Arms of Harrison Ford
I sat down to chat with Jen, Sydney, and Courtney for some girl talk...or whatever you want to call it.
I hate it when people think that girls who sing about boys are lame or not strong, like it’s some grandiose sign of weakness to pen a catchy pop riff and make fun of a dude you once fucked. It’s cool. It’s insolent. West Coast trio the Courtneys know this, but they sing about men, not boys. Celebrity men, mostly (their first EP was named after Keanu Reeves) and television shows and insufficient bank accounts. The Courtneys are a feel-good band that sounds a little like Grass Widow and a little like Fly Nun, but they smell a lot like the bong water you threw out last night. They recently finished recording their self-titled debut LP, which drops on Hockey Dad Records on June 7. I sat down with drummer Jen (who also played in Mac DeMarco’s band, Makeout Videotape), bassist Sydney, and guitarist Courtney for some girl talk or whatever you want to call it.
Why did you call your band The Courtneys when only one of you is named Courtney?
Jen: We wanted to name the band after Courtney, because she is the most modest member of the band.
Remember that shirt you guys made for one of your earlier shows? It had images of Courtney Love, Courtney Cox, and Kourtney Kardashian. I loved that fucking shirt and I am pissed I don’t own one. Anyway, are those the best Courtneys on the planet?
Jen: We considered Taylor Taylor from the Dandi Warhols, but we went with the three most recognizable Courtneys. Those shirts were a one-off pressing from a party we did at Pinhole Printing. There are probably only 10 in existence. Which reminds me: Johnny [owner of Pinhole Printing] wanted me to tell you that he had a sexy dream about you last night.
Oh! Nice. Someone else told me that. Maybe I’m just a dream creep
Jen: You totally are.
The Courtneys seem like a really happy band to me. Maybe I just think this because I’m in an angry band, but what are you guys so happy about? What do you sing about?
[Laughs] Our band is sort of like an extension of our friendship, so a lot of our sound just comes from us having fun. The funny thing is that a lot of lyrics are actually about sad things, but this isn’t the place where we relieve our frustrations. Sydney makes angry music in her other band, Shearing Pinx, so by the time she gets to us, it’s all pop.
How is drumming and singing for you, Jen? It looks exhausting.
It gets exhausting sometimes, but I really enjoy doing it. I often have to keep my beats simple and straightforward in order to sing at the same time, so I get this craving to play in a band where I just play drums or I just sing. Recently, I started jamming with this band called Flyin' while their drummer is away, so that's really fun for me! But also, I really like singing, because I feel like drummers don’t contribute as much as guitars or something.
I noticed that on your previous releases, you guys kind of have these quirky song names. You also named your EP K.C. Reeves (Green Burrito Records) after Keanu Reeves. What is that about?
I pretty much just write lyrics about what is going on in life at the moment, and a lot of the times, that is what TV show I am watching. Sometimes, we make weird titles and they just stick. We watched Point Break the day we wrote “K.C. Reeves.”
Courtney: Keanu isn’t even Jen’s favorite actor. It’s Harrison Ford.
Jen: I love Harrison Ford. I think he’s so hot. When I was 10 years old, I had a Harrison Ford scrapbook. I printed out his Encarta Encyclopedia page and put it in there along with the pamphlet from the Indiana Jones ride at Disney World. But the movie that did it for me was American Graffiti. He’s like a young, hot cowboy dude with a fast car. My first debit card’s pin number was Harrison’s birthday.
Courtney: It was stalker-style all the way, eh? You were keeping a deep secret.
Who were your celebrity crushes, Courtney and Sydney?
Jonathan Brandis in Ladybugs.
Sydney: David Duchovney and Gillian Anderson, at the same time.
Jen: Sydney went as Scully for Halloween three years in a row. She even cut her hair and dyed it red.
Sydney: Jen went as Mulder once. Maybe we will bring it back this year.
What were you guys like when you were teens?
I was a punk, science nerd. I started going to all ages shows when I was 14 and I really was, like, moshing. [Laughs]
Courtney: I was really quiet and into 80s goth music. I got into music when I was a little kid because my dad made us all take different types of music lessons. I started playing guitar when I was 12.
Jen: I was an only child and my older cousins babysat me and made me wear grunge clothes and sleep in with them until 2pm. I was like seven years old. The first CD I got was Siamese Dream by The Smashing Pumpkins.
If you girls could have anything on your rider (not including booze, that’s a given) what things would you pick?
All: Three Kintaro Cheese Ramens, a slurpee machine, some hot skateboarders, steam and sauna, fresh socks, and weed.
If you had to pack and move to a new city together, where would you go?
Jen: We like it here in Vancouver. But if we had to go, we would probably move to Los Angeles. It fits with our sensibilities. Music, beaches, Mexican food, In-N-Out Burger, and Courtney loves driving. Plus, it’s close to Joshua Tree. I would never live in Joshua Tree. We’d be dead in three days from the heat.
L.A. has so many positive, bubble gum punk bands. You guys would fit right in. Last question, what did you dream about last night?
Courtney: I had a really stressful dream about work.
Sydney and Jen: You.