Lemonade are Callan Clendenin, Alex Pasternak and Ben Steidel, three gents from San Francisco who brought their party to Brooklyn shores, in search of dance music domination, toeing the line of eclecticism somewhere between oft-improvised Gang Gang Dance and !!!. Entrusted with wizardly producer, Chris Coady, who has previously twiddled knobs for TV On The Radio, Yeah Yeah Yeahs and the aforementioned !!!, the trio have made an album that’ll spread their rapturous spirit across to this continent, where they’ve already got Rob Da Bank‘s backing. The band speak to Amelia’s Magazine through the powers of electronic mail about studio time, aspirations and good old fashioned partying.
You have an eclectic mix of sounds in your music, which individual members have brought which elements to the table?
We just all liked all the elements and contributed quite equally despite each other’s expertise. We began the group during a period of massive musical exploration, and were listening to so many new things, so a lot of different sounds and ideas ended up in the music. We used to say that Alex brought the Middle Eastern and Latin sounds, Ben brought the techno and house elements, and Callan brought the more conceptual and new age-y stuff but that isn’t really all that true because everyone brought everything really.
What do you feel is the perfect track length?
That is funny, because all of our songs on the record are quite long. When we wrote them we just wrote them for dancing, and we wrote until the groove climaxed or whatever and they came out long. As a band though we tend towards patient listening, long tracks, minutes of intro, like LCD Soundsystem’s E2E4.
Tell me about you in the studio…
We sequence electronics rather crudely on a laptop. It usually starts with one person’s idea, then everyone sorta messes with it. Once it’s done we have added all our ideas. Then we teach ourselves to play to it, filling in the gaps with live bass and percussion and vocals. Once it is barely ready we start playing it live on different systems. Then based on the reactions to it, we adjust it accordingly.
Which track of yours was the hardest to finish and why?
If they were hard to finish we probably dumped them. Usually if we like a track it writes itself. We can feel if it’s just flowing out of us and if its not flowing really quickly it doesn’t get far. Big Weekend was probably written in one session.
How and why did you form a band?
We all have backgrounds in music so it was inevitable that we would do something somewhat serious with it, but the fact that it was Lemonade was a nice surprise to us all. We formed the band when we were all in San Francisco and someone asked Alex “hey you are in a band, do you want to play a show?” We had a band name, so he said yes, and we played a show after just a few practices. It was pretty primal and there was a lot of excitement and wild dancing.
Which act did you aspire to be like when you were teenagers?
When we were teenagers we listened to indie rock and hardcore punk and stuff like that. We certainly didn’t think that dance music was cool and actually thought that ravers were totally lame. Nobody that we went to high school with expected us to end up playing club nights and writing epic piano breaks, though given our interests in extreme music and DIY communities, it kinda makes sense that we ended up at such antipodes.
Which current music acts are you particularly liking at the moment?
Are there any particular individuals that you are thankful to?
We have had great relationships with the people at our labels – True Panther in the States and Sunday Best in England. We are thankful for all that they have done for us. We are thankful to Chris Coady, who gave so much of his time to record us simply because he believed in us. Also all the people who used to bug out and dance at all of our early shows and for those who still do.
What is the last gig you went to that you weren’t playing at?
Alex: random free jazz show at work last night- does that count? (yes)
Ben: I saw Twitch from Optimo DJ recently and that was pretty rad. Apparently I left before he played Human Resource’s “The Dominator”, which is a bummer.
What are you geeks about?
Do you have any bizarre tour bus habits?
We make music on our laptops and text really inane questions to a question answering service.
Describe your ultimate party…
The ultimate party is a place where everyone is on the same level, and everyone is communing with one another and sharing an experience. Your usual friends are there but everyone there is your friend too.
Which countries have the best party spirit and why?
Spain has the party. Brazil has the party. Latin and tropical countries are way more likely to have a street party with tons of drummers and dancers. The best party spirit is certainly not in the states, but that is what is so good about throwing a great party in America is that people really remember it, and it feels so different and new.
What are your aspirations as a band, short-term and long-term?
In the immediate we just want to stop working any other jobs that keep us from realizing our potential as artists… and to eat well whenever we want. In the long run we all want houses with decks and stuff like that, but I think more importantly we want people to have really meaningful connections to our music, even if it is just remembering a great party where they got really loose.
Lemonade’s self titled debut album is out now.
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