How, in short, would you define indiepop?
“Well, pop music to me has always been uplifting and joyful music.
Indiepop is the present day chapter of a long history of upbeat and
happy sounds, with modern perspectives and the influence of the modern
age. The perfect sound that you can't believe is happening.”
Perhaps because it was never actually in fashion
in the US, it never seemed to go out of fashion - does that make it
easier for you to play without the audience having preconceptions?
“Yeah. In the States especially, indiepop has a pretty broad scope
of interpretation, so it's difficult to pin down exactly what you're
listening to. A band like Animal Collective has some pop elements and
could fall under the indiepop moniker while sounding nothing at all
like Boyracer or Superchunk. The lack of definition assists a lack of
expectation, so the audience has to make its own decisions about what
they're hearing. A lot of people come up to me after shows confused,
not having expected fuzz guitar solos and jumping around.”
How did you arrive at the Saturday Looks Good
To me sound: it sounds like Richman replacing Diana Ross in front of
the Supremes to me, but was it as simple as that?
“When Saturday Looks Good To me materialized, I was deep into
the hardcore scene, playing in punk bands and only doing shows in basements
and at DIY show spaces. At the same time I was listening to mostly punk
records, I was listening to just as much Motown. In the hardcore scene
I was seeing a very common phenomenon where someone would be so into
it for three or four years, then get tired of the music, tired of the
politics and tired of this very insular, convoluted group of ideas and
feelings. I worked at a used record store, and about once a month kids
who were officially out of hardcore and now djs would come in and trade
their Hot Water Music records for DJ Shadow. The directions the band
went in from there all started from a serious love of Motown and then
a hunger to understand and hopefully expand pure pop music. The Beach
Boys, Left Banke, Belle & Sebastian, Jonathan Richman. I eventually
got these records and loved the songs so much, but then I was like "What
if there was a dub mix of Pet Sounds?" or "What if The Modern
Lovers record would have had strings and brass arrangements?" That
would be insane and possibly beautiful. Our band's music is very much
a walking question like those questions, bouncing along and sometimes
Were you aware of the whole mid-80s indiepop scene
in England - the so-called C86 scene?
“Well, I had a roommate who turned me on to Orange Juice and the
Wedding Present, and who loved a lot of that sort of scene, but I never
researched it or became aware of a larger picture, I just had a 12"
of "Rip It Up" that I played over and over.”
What current groups would you consider to be your
“The Aisler's Set and The Decemberists are both working in a similar
vein as Saturday Looks Good To me. Architecture in Helsinki from Australia
are a really awesome pop band and I hear some of the same influences.
I don't want to say the two bands are much alike, but The Arcade Fire
rips off the same Supremes bass-line on their album as we do on ours.”
Can you understand why indiepop’s had such
a hard time in the UK, where fashion is all to the music press?
“I think a lot of great pop music carries a certain amount of
anonymity, and in some ways shuns celebrity and fashion. We didn't have
photos of ourselves on our first couple of records, and didn't even
list personnel or who played what. It was just this raw, non-presented
sound, and we took cues on that from other bands we respected. We wanted
to just be sound, not a baseball card or something to check off a shopping
list, and that mentality could clash with a band more interested in
their video than their songs. Really good music is just a feeling in
Saturday Looks Good To Me play HDIF Presents at The Windmill in Brixton
on Monday August 8. Tickets are £5 and available from http://www.wegottickets.com/event/6046