Arts & Culture / Mosaic / Music / April 1, 2010

Bassist of Silversun Pickups talked with TKS

Nikki: Did you enjoy the Muse light show? I really liked watching it. It’s nice to see a band that prides themselves on putting on a good show. I don’t think we’ll have a million lasers in our future but it’s nice to see what other bands are doing. And it’s over the top but I think they do it really well.

TKS: Where did you get the band name from and were there other ideas?

N: I think it was always Silversun Pickups. We got the name from a liquor store called Silversun Liquor and was on the corner of Boulevard. We joked around that it would be called “A Couple of Couples” because we started out with Brian [Aubert] (lead vocals and guitar) and his girlfriend at the time and me and my boyfriend at the time, so it was two couples. But it’s pretty much always been Silversun Pickups.

How would you describe the band’s music?

Brian likes to say we’re schizophrenic lucky rock; basically indie alternative music.

How did the band create their style?

It’s just what happens when the four of us get together. We could potentially plan on a sound, but our sound is just what has happened from playing together over the years.

Why did you personally decide that you wanted to be a musician and be in a band?

It’s always been in the back of my mind. My mother put me in piano lessons when I was five years old and I took lessons for ten years so I’ve always kind of been around music. Then when I went to college, my best friend’s brother was selling a bass so I decided to buy it for $100. When we were starting the band we didn’t have a bass player and I’ve always enjoyed listening to the bass, I’ve always been drawn to the instrument. But in college I didn’t want to major in music because I didn’t want to burn out from it, so I majored in art history.

If you weren’t in music what other career would you have had?

In college I interned at several record companies…so I was always doing things related to music. So, yeah, I’d probably be working on some videos I was working with a little bit.

Did you ever have any interest in art history professionally?

Yeah, definitely. I’d always be interested in working with a museum or along those lines. That’s also a very competitive market and there aren’t a lot of jobs open. That is something I would definitely have done if I hadn’t gone the music route.What music did you listen to growing up?

It’s kind of diverse, but during my formative years Modest Mouse, Wilco, but also Madonna and Prince. But in general, we have a lot that we all grew up listening to, which brought us together as friends first and then we started the band a few years later.

Who writes the lyrics and what is the creative process that you guys go through?

Brian writes most of the lyrics. Sometimes, when I do my parts I’ll write those parts, but in general, Brian writes all the lyrics. He’ll come in with song ideas and then we’ll work out creating some songs. Then the lyrics will come in usually only after we’ve been recording in the studio. He’ll have melodies but he likes to wait till towards the end of the recording process for the lyrics.

What is your favorite song or songs to perform live?

We really like starting off with “Growing Old is Getting Old,” and I love playing that song. I like how it begins quietly and just builds. It’s also a harder song for me to play so I enjoy the bass end of it. I’d say that’s my favorite one to play right now.

How do you think hearing your music live is a different experience than hearing recorded?

We’re able to get more dynamic live, and, musically, can mix sounds more live. We don’t want it to sound exactly like the CD but, at the same time, we don’t want to stray too far from it. Live is more of an extension of the CD.

Where is your favorite venue to perform?

One of my favorites is The Fillmore in San Francisco. Right now we’re playing in a lot of arenas but before that we were in a lot of theaters. I enjoy playing in those because there’s so much history to them. Also The Wiltern in Los Angeles.

How has Silversun Pickups gotten along with Muse?

We get in a lot earlier than them, so before the show we don’t get to see them. But once the show is over, we’ll see them backstage. They’re very nice and it interesting to see Matt [Bellamy] so reserved after rocking out before during the show. They’ve been really nice to us.

What is it like being the only female touring with all the men?

Luckily there are some girls working with Muse so I’m not the only girl backstage. But overall, it is mostly a male dominated area. I get along well with everyone so they’re fun to travel with. There is about ten of us that travel together and we’ve been traveling together so long that they’re like brothers to me.

How does Muse’s over-the-top performance mix with Silversun Pickup’s relaxed show?

As an opening band, we just don’t get the opportunity to have all the craziness, but they have definitely inspired us for our upcoming headlining tours. It’s opened up a whole world of what lights can do. In general, we focus so much on the music, we sometimes forget that a lightshow could be cool to watch as well.

Jennifer Lloyd


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