We catch up with Jen Goma about riding elevators with the Pixies. Plus, watch the video premiere of "In Love with Useless (The Timeless Geometry in the Tradition of Passing)."
Noisey is happy to premiere the new video for "In Love With Useless (The Timeless Geometry in the Tradition of Passing)"
"Running a little late, be there soon!"
I'm staring at my phone when A Sunny Day In Glasgow's Jen Goma eventually walks into the bar. Her look is unassuming and laid back— sporting brown overalls and a green corduroy baseball cap. We shake hands and get a drink, creating small talk about jobs, the weather, and our favorite bars. We happen to be in one of my favorite spots in Brooklyn, Lucky Dog, a joint that reps a great beer selection and encourages you to bring your pup.
"I feel like as you get older, the things that you take more seriously you realize do take up more time," she says. "And once you dedicate time towards one thing it takes away time from something else. It was this weird thing I had to go through when I was working at restaurants and chose to do music more seriously."
We sit down, saying hi to a few different dogs who scamper by our feet, and she goes on to explain how a lot of the music gets done on in a solitary way, even though at the time it doesn't feel that solitary. Unsurprisingly, the sound of the group's new record, Sea When Abscent, out June 24 via Lefse, their best and most innovative of their career, echoes this feeling of isolation—a breezy blend of pop and shoegaze, one that feels like you're walking home alone on a swampy summer night, lethargic enough to go to bed but energetic enough to maybe want to stay out longer.
Outtakes from tour via the band
Jen works in a restaurant in Brooklyn, as most musicians do. I assume that being a musician working in a restaurant is difficult when planning a national tour with six people who live all over the world. (The ever-changing lineup of A Sunny Day In Glassgow now features Ben Daniels and Annie Frederickson in Australia, Josh Meakim and Adam Herndon in Philadelphia, and Ryan Newmyer and Jen in New York City.) "That's the funny thing about the album," Jen explains. "It was a lot of figuring things out through email." The band recorded their most recent album through a series of emails back and forth—each email recording over an old recording over an old recording, and so on and so forth. "It's weird doing stuff in different time zones on the internet because I can do stuff during the day and then they can finish it through the night. But if you get out of sync its hard to get back. You almost have to make up your own language in order to speak about the music that you are recording."
Jen isn't an original member of the band, but she feels like it after joining the band in the summer of 2009. Before then, she sang on some tracks with The Pains of Being Pure At Heart after being asked by the band. "It's really nice to be invited to a situation where everything is set up and ready to go." Her entrance into The Pains of Being Pure At Heart (although she was never an official member of Pure at Heart) mirrors her entrance into A Sunny Day In Glasgow. The band had posted on Myspace that they were looking for a singer. Thinking it was fake, she emailed anyway and asked if it was a joke. Ben Daniels, one of the original founders of the group, responded that it was indeed not a joke and sent over the track, "The Best Summer Ever" (from the group's 2009 release Scribble Mural Comic Journal) without vocals for Jen to record over. Soon after, she was invited to meet all six members of the band in Philadelphia.
"We went out to a barbecue somewhere off of the highway after the first practice and I felt like I was being so professional until they were like, 'oh you're totally in the band."
I laugh and make a joke about them meeting on the internet. She takes a sip of her beer and nods. "That's how we met. We met on the internet. That's how my mom does it. I think she was the first person to ever internet date."
More outtakes from tour via the band, recording "100/0" in Germany in the top right.
We talk about going on tour. We talk about what it's like to be both a fan of music and a musician. She tells me about traveling the world with six people. We talk about how they managed to record vocals in a hotel closet during Primavera Sound in 2010. She tells me about taking the same elevator as her idols. ("It's really crazy to be, like, riding the elevator with Pavement and the Pixies; you're just, like, eating in the same cafeteria as them!") We talk about the band recording the song "100/0 (Snowdays Forever)," from their 2010 album Autumn Again, in a crazy squat in Germany with beautiful acoustics. And despite these bursting developments, she manages to speak with a quiet confidence, somehow holding her excitement in.
"You're kind of in this womb when you're in the van. We have a really good time on tour and we used to think our lives on tour were pretty adorable," she says. "It was us taking care of each other and performing heartfelt music, then going to the next town and doing it all over again."
In a world where the Internet can bring together strangers, friends, and lovers—it makes sense that it can do the same to bring together a band. But the people who make up A Sunny Day In Glasgow view themselves more than just six people who play music together; they call themselves a family. "The band is the tie, but we would all choose to be around each other," she says, which doesn't sound too different than most of families in the world.
Kayla Monetta is scribbling in her mural cosmic journal. She's on Twitter — @kaylamomo
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