Weekend are the best band to move from San Francisco to Brooklyn since… I don’t know… Royal Baths?
The post-punk outfit picked the perfect time (or not perfect time) to come to town; right before CMJ. We’re psyched to have them on two of our showcases this year, at XPO 929 and The Gutter, but before that, we grabbed guitarist Kevin Johnson to discuss the big move, his influences and the strangest places he’s played (it’s not a bowling alley.)
Peter Rittweger: What prompted your now “well-publicized” move from the Bay Area to Brooklyn?
Kevin Johnson: The reasons were personal for all of us as much as anything to do with the band. Mainly, we all had been in the Bay Area most of our adult lives and felt we needed a change. That, and we heard there is a cool music scene here at this underground club called CBGB’s.
PR: I was at your homecoming show of sorts at Cameo Gallery. It seemed that you were met with a lot of enthusiasm. What was that like?
KJ: A lot of our friends came out to welcome us which was really nice. New York has always been a second home for us and the transition really has been incredibly smooth. It was definitely a unique feeling to play in front of a “new-hometown” for the first time. Probably like having dinner with parents who just adopted you.
PR: How does the Bay Area scene compare to the NYC scene?
KJ: It’s bigger so we get to play more often. In the bay we would only do about one show every 3 months, here it seems promoters don’t really care.
PR: What are some of your favorite Brooklyn bands?
KJ: DIIV, Rosenkopf, Violens, The Men, Ice Choir, Crystal Stilts, Fan-Tan, Frankie Rose, Speculator/Cool Angels, Prurient, Sonic Youth, Swans, Iggy Pop.
PR: This isn’t your first time at CMJ, correct? What’s it like playing so many shows in such a short amount of time?
KJ: It sucks.
PR: You recently told L Magazine that you don’t think your music is post-punk. How would you describe it?
KJ: I think it’s more that the term post-punk is used these days to describe a very specific sound that we don’t want to necessarily live by. Maybe we are a Post-punk band but more in the traditional sense of the term–not resting on laurels and always trying to find some new way of getting twisted.
PR: Journalists are quick to prescribe influences to bands; some of the names I’ve seen tossed around in Weekend narratives are Joy Division, My Bloody Valentine and Jesus and Mary Chain. Are these some of your biggest influences? Who are your influences?
KJ: The bands you mentioned are all influences for sure. Also Deftones, AFI, and Green Day.
PR: You’ve said that you’re inspired by darkness and isolation, which is evident from the tone of 2010′s critically acclaimed debut, Sports. How do you incorporate that into the creative process?
KJ: I don’t think that is something you really have to consciously incorporate into the process–it just comes out. We also watch a lot of Tim Burton films, we’re kind of weird.
PR: The follow up to Sports is due out sometime next year. What can we expect from the new album?
KJ: It’s a lot different. I think it’s more mature. The songs are more ambitious and bigger. We really tried to push ourselves out of any kind of comfort zone while holding on to what makes us Weekend–it was tough. It’s brilliant.
PR: You’re headlining one of our CMJ showcases, with Goodnight Records, The Land-Based Booze Cruise. It’s at a bowling alley, The Gutter. Is this going to be the strangest place you’ve ever played?”
KJ: That would have to be at the PUMA store at CMJ last year, *sigh.*