Music: Interview with Tennis

Fuzzy 60s, delicious American pop. Denver's husband, wife and drummer; Tennis, record using analog equipment to make their 'minimal, vintage pop'. Their music returns them to the ocean - where they once lived. Here follows an interview with Alaina.

Written by Helen Martin

Tennis by Jane Young
Illustration by Jane Young

Could you introduce yourself please?
This is Alaina from Tennis.

Where are you from?
My husband Patrick, our drummer James and I are based out of Denver, CO.

Could you describe you music?
We like to describe our music as minimal, vintage pop. We like to write and record with limitations and use mostly analog equipment, and draw most of our inspiration from 50’s and 60’s pop–not anyone in particular just the general aesthetic of the times.

Do you write it yourselves?
Patrick and I write all of our music.

What are your songs about?
Our album Cape Dory happens to be specifically about a sailing trip Patrick and I took in 2009. We learned to sail and live aboard a boat together, it was such a life-changing experience that it inspired song writing for the first time.

Who/what are your musical influences?
50’s and 60’s pop, musicals, Grandaddy and Todd Rundgren.

Tennis Tiff 2

Where/what else do you draw inspiration from?
From life experience. We make it a priority to live a life full of new experiences that are challenging and unfamiliar. For us creativity comes from uncomfortable and new situations. Patrick and I began writing music after spending seven months living on a boat and sailing the Atlantic coastline together. The first pieces of music we wrote were dripping with nostalgia for the coast, for sailing, for sleeping under the stars. We missed the life we left behind so much that song by song, we catalogued our experiences, so that when we wanted to reminisce we could just press play.

You sing of places; e.g. South Carolina, Bimini Bay – why is this? Are locations/ and particularly these places important to you?
These places were important to us while traveling. We spent a considerable amount of time in both places and writing songs about them occurred quite naturally.

How did you get together?
Patrick and I met in college. We were philosophy majors and our paths crossed.

Is it true you purchased a yacht and sailed around the east coast for eight months?
Hardly a yacht, it’s more the nautical equivalent of a Honda Civic. But yes, we did purchase a sailboat and sail around the east coast for seven months (we lived aboard for eight).

tennis

What was this like?
Learning to sail and live aboard a boat was the greatest adventure of our lives. It was the experience that made us want to create something. We didn’t know it would be music at the time, but it was the catalyst that made us realize our creative potential.

Do you enjoy adventure?
Absolutely, we think adventure begets creativity.

And touring? What is it like?
Touring has been a difficult adjustment for us. We love to travel but touring is quite different. Fortunately we are very close as a band. We are supportive and caring of each other, and we appreciate the opportunity to share our music.

Do you plan on playing in the UK? …Any festivals?
We were just in the UK in January and had a wonderful time. I’m not sure when we will be in the UK but we will be playing Primavera Sound in May.

What’s next for Tennis?
Quite a bit of touring, followed by a break this summer to write and sail again.

Tennis‘ first album, Cape Dory is out now on Fat Possum Records.

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