Acrylics is a NYC based band formed around the songwriters Molly Shea and Jason Klauber.
Give me the Acrylics formation story.
Molly Shea: Jason and I started playing together at Oberlin College, when I was a Junior and he was a Senior. I was trying to start a band and a friend of mine played Jason a tape of my songs I’d four-tracked. So that’s how the first incarnation of the band started. The two of us playing guitar, and that friend of ours playing drums.
Then we both moved to New York and we started a new incarnation of the band, a four piece. We had that band going for about four years and when it broke up and Jason and I decided to continue playing. And that’s where we’re at today.
Jason Klauber:We started building our ideas in the recording studio before getting things happening live. Patrick from Chairlift has been amazingly helpful. He produced the first Acrylics recordings. Patrick’s my roommate and both of us have bedrooms next to the recording area. The studio is called L’hotel Bushwique because we like to pretend we’re frogs just vacationing in Brooklyn. Then we spent a lot of the fall and winter in and out of Matt Boynton’s Vacation Island studio working on a full-length. Most recording happened before we had a band, so we did as much as we could ourselves and relied on our talented friends to help flesh things out… and in the meantime our band started to form and now we have a full live act. So when you come to see us, there’s five people: Jake Aron on bass, Travis Rosenberg doubling on Keyboards and pedal steel, and Sam Ubl on drums. They are all friends from around the way.
MS: It feels great to have a consistent band to work with after spending so much time just the two of us.
A lot of people have been talking about your band yet you don’t have a lot of recorded music available. How do you deal with the pressure of expectation when you’re recording the album?
MS: We’re totally isolated from whatever anyone’s saying. But…it’s cool (laughs). We have recorded many songs that people haven’t really heard yet, like way more than an album’s worth of material. We’re really excited to unveil them.
JK: Being embraced or just having other people’s attention is humbling and makes us feel…it’s actually given us a lot of hope and injected energy into to the creative process.
Your music doesn’t really follow the current trends; that is, I don’t see the music you’re making as a fashion trend. What do you make of the music coming out that’s basically a trend?
JK: I think fashion is always going to shine a spotlight on certain areas at certain times…generally, it’s harsh but pretty fair. We’d like to remain current… you’ve gotta be influenced by what’s happening out there but can’t let all the white noise drown out the songs you hear in your head.
What music do you listen to? Who would you consider your “kinship” artists that you bond with, either musically or personally?
JK: We’re big both record geeks so it’s a whole bunch of things…the core of influence for this project would be…
MS: Fleetwood Mac.
JK: Really, really crystallized pop from the seventies like that but also a lot of sixties pop and late sixties psychadellia. Psych covers a broad spctrum in my mind. Hendrix to Skip Spence to Incredible String Band, Can. I love Early seventies country-rock, what Gram Parsons called “Cosmic American Music” is very important to us because it was like a humble reaction to the tripped-out stuff that happened before but equally cosmic. Townes Van Zandt man. Fleetwood Mac was reacting to the same circumstances too. We relate very much to what Neil Young was doing during that time and the Rolling stones too in a major way. So that’s a big part of it, reacting to what’s around and doing your own thing in a simple way. Angelo Badalamenti's scores have been intoxicating as well.
MS: I was also into the big indie bands from the nineties like Pavement, Guided By Voices, and Sonic Youth and then a huge New Zealand phase. I love The Chills. Jason and I got to see The Clean reunited at Cakeshop last year. So great. But I say now I’ve returned to more classic rock. Beatles, Zeppelin, The Stones… It changes so much, what different phases you go through.
JK: There are three types of rock and roll kids who came of age in the nineties: Pearl Jam kids, Smashing Pumpkins kids and Nirvana kids. We were Nirvana kids. There’s always gonna be a old punk thing that I can’t help and shake because it’s just part of me, something that resonates deep inside me. New York stuff like Ramones, Johnny Thunders, Richard Hell and all that… Replacements too. I like freaked out Midwesterners though. Iggy Pop is the most important one of those. Molly once said that we “just wanna make people dance and cry” so we’ve started to get really into disco and house records.
What “new bands” do you like?
JK: In terms of current bands…We were just talking with our manager about what bands we’d like to tour with in our wildest dreams, and it’s really tough to think about. It’s so hard to see where you fit in.
Generally when I ever talk to any musician, even musicians who I may have wrongfully put down in the past, I can see where they’re coming from and I’ll usually gain a better insight into their work. I really recommend giving something a second listen because first impressions can be misleading. I gravitate towards older music because It’s like the attraction old objects have, things that are weathered, books with yellowed paper, leather bound covers that are torn, clothes that have been washed a lot, I have a tendency, and I think Molly does too, to be attracted to those types of things. I’m working really hard to
find the same kind of appreciation for music that I know I’ll really dig in a little bit of time once it’s weathered. I don’t necessarily dig new music like I dig old music, when it’s old, it’s like “I’ve discovered it,” the way time has treated it has given it a palpability that I enjoy. New records are so important, and so at the same time, I’m really working on listening to new sounds and it's a really fertile time right now.
What do you think of the clumsy classification of music nowadays? Everyone seems to try and label a new band or a new song through some sort of generalized classification.
JK: The band’s image sometimes benefits from that, but usually in some way the music gets a disservice because people come into it with a certain expectation and they’re seeing it through a filter. “Oh, they’re like the new Fleetwood Mac!”
MS: It’s all self-referential…
JK: It’s all attitude, and marketing, and that’s where fashion is really important. Because that’s where they’re gonna be like “Ok this band is marketing themselves in the way that Fleetwood Mac marketed themselves.” Everyone needs a frame of reference on some level but I’d rather see the image service the music than vice versa.
MS: But anything with fashion though is fleeting. It’s always changing. That’s the best part.