I wrote about the amazingness that is Pony Up! last week (Mr. Mickey loves them), but this week I was lucky enough to have a little Q&A session with Lisa Smith (bass) and Laura Wills (keyboards). I'll assume that Lindsay Wills (drums) and Sara Moundroukas (guitar) were off trying locate a decent burrito in Montreal. After reading their answers I learned that these girls are not only pop song-writing masters who all participate in the singing/songwriting, but they are intelligent and thoughtful as well. For those of you who live in the New York area, we might just all be blessed with their appearance in August and even as early as July! I'll keep you all posted, but until then read on...
Let's talk about your lyrics. They are incredibly accessible and yet personal at the same time. Are they based on actual occurrences or are you ladies just THAT good at hittin' the tail on the donkey?
There is definitely nothing intentionally fictional in the songs. Usually for me I will start writing a song with a particular person in mind. By the time the second verse gets written it could be a different person, but I always need to have something very concrete to connect lyrics to. Abstract ideas just don't inspire me to write. I think Sarah operates a bit differently. Sarah says writing songs is like connecting dots for her. It's just that those dots are very far apart. In other words, another person listening might not make the same connections.
Do you think music should be personal in order to be truly appreciated?
I think the best music is personal, though I have enjoyed manufactured pop all my life. I mean, 60's girl groups and Motown were manufactured and, you could argue, very impersonal (just by virtue of separating singer and songwriter). It doesn't mean the songs can't be taken personally, and appreciated. There are a lot of songwriters out there right now who opt for cleverness over intimacy in their lyrics. It's this kind of 'coy boy' school that I have noticed a lot in indie pop right now. Kind of infantilizing themselves and saying stuff without actually saying anything.
Have boys already started yelling slightly inappropriate and/or silly things to you? If so what's the most ridiculous thing and how do you guys handle it?
One time a guy said " I wanna be on you!" and I thought he said "I wanna pee on you!". Either way it's kind of a dominating image that I want no part of. The only thing to do in those situations is to remind them that you're on stage and they are not. They need to shut the fuck up and listen to the music. Embarrassing them in front of the rest of the crowd is really optimal.
Keeping with the all-girl band stigma, what's been the hardest obstacle you've had to overcome with regards to the band's gender? Or have there even been any obstacles?
It's impossible to control the words or the tone people use when describing the band. Journalists tend to have difficulty fitting the music into a broader sphere than that of past or current female focussed bands. And they can't get over the 'love and lust'-y lyrics on the album (though I am hard pressed to find a pop/rock band that isn't all about the sex and love).
Pizza or burritos? Or both?!
Depends on the town. In Montreal it's hard to find good either. But if we're gonna be in a van all day, pizza is probably the smarter choice.
What other bands/artists are you guys into right now?
I am in love with Okkervil River. Lisa loves the new Mates of State album.
What kind of a name is Moundroukas?
What are your day jobs?
Sarah and Lisa are hair stylists at the same salon, which is how they met.
Lindsay and I have juggled various minimum wage jobs since the band started travelling. She currently works in a coffee shop and I at a record store.
Finally, what do you love most about being in Pony Up!?
The sense of camaraderie, the democratic nature of the band, getting to hang out and be creative together. There are too many things to name.