Tell Me About That Album: Young & Old by Tennis"/>
The husband and wife team of Alaina Moore and Patrick Riley are the backbone of indie-pop group Tennis , who were one of>"/>
The husband and wife team of Alaina Moore and Patrick Riley are the backbone of indie-pop group Tennis, who were one of the highlights of this year's Bumbershoot, and who will release their much-anticipated sophomore LP Young & Old on Valentine's Day next year. But the band is hitting the road for a brief West Coast tour before the album's release, including a Seattle date on Dec. 14th at the Crocodile, where presumably you'll get an advanced listen to some of their new material. We caught up with Moore to find out more about the new album, which was produced by Patrick Carney of the Black Keys, and here's what she told us:
It's been said that you have your whole life to write your first record and a few months to write your second one. Did you find that to be accurate? I actually think that that saying is pretty true. We wrote Young & Old really quickly after our first record, Cape Dory, not because of a pressure to stay present, but because by making Cape Dory and touring with it, we learned a lot about what we wanted to accomplish as musicians and songwriters. By the time we got off our first big tour, all we wanted to do was write a new record. We felt honed and sharpened by the entire experience and we knew even better what we wanted to do from then on. We ended up writing Young & Old in like two months and recorded it right away.
What's the significance of the title Young & Old? I came across William Butler Yeats' poem, "A Woman Young and Old," which I had read in college but didn't like because I wasn't into poetry at the time. But now I have a new sense of appreciation for it. That whole poem really resonated with me. I had been doing a lot of introspection while on tour for our first record and I felt like I was seeing my life in a series of vignettes, moments from childhood to womanhood. I ended up writing a series of songs that are kind of these little moments in my life, or the life of a woman I suppose, as you move into old age. So I called it Young & Old.
Does the poem reflect a similar idea? The poem specifically deals with sex. It's one woman--and it's a series of her experiences insofar as they were significant to her first and most important sexual encounters. It's really profound. She uses that as a catalyst to reveal deeper truths about her as a woman. And I'm not nearly so hung up on sex, so that wasn't the most important thing to deal with. Mine had more to do with spirituality, as I come from a really religious background, and questions about human nature or mortality were ones that I thought a lot more about on this album.
Do you have a favorite song from the album? We put "Origins" out first because it's one of the songs that we're really proud of on the record and we think it shows a nice transition from the type of music we were doing before.
How about a favorite lyric on the album? I think my favorite lyric would be "My better self still knows that meaning comes and goes," from the song "My Better Self." I feel like it's really easy to be misunderstood. No matter how clear I feel like I'm being as a lyricist, people will misinterpret me, so that's kind of what I was thinking about, how meaning is assigned by the listener, and that's kind of what the song is about.
How did you arrive at asking Patrick Carney from The Black Keys to produce the record? We really liked the idea of working with someone who was a musician, and Patrick Carney has been producing and engineering most of The Black Keys' repertoire. They're one of the bands that I think consistently sound amazing recorded, and they have a strong sense of identity, which I really respect. We also wanted more edge and grit and rock & roll than what Tennis recordings had previously had. We were trying to escape the cuteness thing, which I realize is impossible when the backbone of the band is a married couple, but I feel like there was this void we were sinking into of just being cute and never serious, and we thought Patrick Carney would be good to help us make poppy music that we like without coming off as cloying.
Is it appropriate that the album is being released on Valentine's Day? I've never celebrated Valentine's Day in my life, and neither has Patrick. I'm not upset about it or anything, but it was randomly chosen. It just happened to be the right amount of weeks from when we were preparing the release. I'm sure a lot of people are going to read into it though, for better or worse.