I chatted to Matt Holden (of Legs Like Tree Trunks) and Nico Lawless (of Nic Lawless) about the two bands' upcoming tour alongside one another, the upcoming releases from both bands and a shitty regional snack foods tv show.
What are you up to at the moment?
Matt: Sitting in my living room drinking coffee and listening to some Japanese band.
Nico: i'm drinking coffee at Matt's because i have no Internet at home right now... The band is called Supercar, by the way.
If you were to describe your band/music to a new listener, who would you describe it?
Matt: Guitar rock
Nico: Uh oh, I actually had a weird dream last night that someone was describing us and said we sounded like The Hives or The Strokes. I like to think it's like richard hell but in 2013.
Tell me about the tour you've got coming up.
Matt: It's a short-ish run up the east coast. I like that it’s a mix of houses, diy spots, and venues
Nico: We are going with Legs Like Tree Trunks! Tour de Subaru - as in, we are gonna try to fit all of our stuff and a bunch of people into two Subaru Outbacks
We are all gonna get really really close... Really. How close?
Matt: Too close. I think this tour is really just an excuse to buy shitty regional snack foods so I can start my tv show where I review shitty regional snack foods.
Isn't that pretty much the reason everyone tours?
Nico: Hmmmm.. I think that I like that
Matt: That and the couch research aspect.
Nico: Like.. ‘Where am i gonna sleep?’ kind of thing
Ah, fair enough. Why did you decide to tour together?
Nico: Ooh! Big secret? Matt is my neighbor and he also plays the bass in my band, Young Criminales.
Matt: I know Nico will get bored without me down the street, so I figured we'd bring the boys.
Nico: Yeah, it can get pretty drab... Is that a word?
Matt: I don’t know, you're the poetry student.
Drab is indeed a word. What can fans expect from the tour?
Matt: Well, they can expect new songs from Legs Like Tree Trunks - we just got out of two weeks in the studio for our debut LP.
Nico: Excitement! we have been working a whole lot, and so has Legs.
Matt: Dave's beard is looking nice these days so you could expect to be jealous of that
Nico: This is going to be some high intensity shit, I think... Let's throw champagne in the air and stuff.
Matt: Yeah, this tour is an extended birthday party for Nico.
Nico: Oh yeah, I'll be 21! and our guitarist Josh turns 25 at our tour kickoff!
Matt: I just turned 22 a couple days ago.
Nico: Wow, so many birthdays. Leo?
Matt: Lots of leos
What can you tell us about the Legs LP, Matt?
It's...broader in scope, a culmination of sort. It sounds like us but we're playing with lots of different ideas. We've been listening to lots of samba music, jazz, classical [and] I’ve been obsessed with Chopin's funeral march.
How different is it to what we've heard before?
Matt: If you liked the old stuff you'll like the new stuff but if you didn't like the old stuff, I think you're more likely to enjoy this LP, it's definitely an evolution of our sound. We recorded it more live whereas the old stuff was more meticulous [so] there's more energy in this new stuff.
Is there any tracks in particular that you're excited about people hearing?
Matt: Alll of them! But really, there's one where it's just acoustic and upright bass that’s super raw [which] I’m nervous about people hearing and it's about how we're fucked cos the government is bought and paid for. There's one about how we're addicted to screens and notifications. There's some happy songs too
Awesome! When do you plan to put the record out?
Matt: We're still talking to labels at this point, and we have some more tracking to do before we can start mixing. Winter.. and you know we're touring south when it drops to escape that cold weather.
I look forward to it! Nico! What's your position in terms of releasing music?
We are putting out our first record as a band on August 2. My friends are putting it out for us on Ageless Curse Records. It's a little label that was just started up by some friends of ours But yeah, August 2 - that's gonna be online, at shows, everywhere the internet goes
What can we expect from the record?
Well, we recorded it the record in my bedroom where everything that has been conceptualized for this project so far has happened. It was recorded to 8-track cassette tape, but then it was mixed and mastered at Treelady, so it sounds pretty. This record is 12 songs in like 25 minutes i think? It's a lot of lyrics, catchy at times, but also very aggressive, and heavily influenced by some of my favorite songwriters from Pittsburgh. I really don't even know what to expect. This band played our first show at my friends "wherehaus" in October and things have just been moving fast, and this record is that. I like it.
You mentioned Pittsburgh songwriters. Which songwriters are they?
Nico: Well one of them is my friend Dean Cercone. I used to play in his band for a little while when he lived in Pittsburgh. The others are Alan Lewandowski of Poison Dartz (his New York project..) and Colin Baxter of Robin Vote, who we often share the stage with. We will be playing with Dean and some members of Poison Dartz in Brooklyn on August 10
Cool. What inspired the record?
Nico: This record was a mix of things, I am playing with a really talented band now and so while the record is still simple, it's different than my first EP. The start of the songwriting for a lot of this record came with the addition of a second guitarist, as well as with the pressure of some shows... In April, for example, VIA, a promotion company in Pittsburgh, gave us a slot opening for Iceage, and at that moment i just had to step up.
I write a lot of songs to keep things fresh for our live shows.. Also I was listening to a lot of Television, Richard Hell, The Fall, Poison Dartz at the time of this record, and watching bands like Iceage and Parquet Courts become really successful. It really drives me, to see Iceage. especially being they are all right around my age. And lyrically I just became more honest than ever- this record holds no bars.
Awesome! How was opening for Iceage?
Nico: So much fun! They were great and that whole show was great- it really put us out there in this city. We also got to open for Parquet Courts back in January at a house show! Both of those shows were big stepping stones for us... and now we are headlining our own shows here so it is just crazy and exciting for me.
Wonderful! So, what are your plans for after the [Legs Like Tree Trunks & Nic Lawless] tour?
Matt: I gotta move house. Go to philly and track vocals for the record.
Nico: We are all moving out of our houses into new houses this week- Matt is gonna be living with most of the Young Criminales so that's cool, I think.
Matt: Tour more. Trying to get to Chicago again in September or October.
Nico: I am gonna maybe try to get home to New Jersey/New York for a bit because we are ending there and it's kind of been a little while. I am going to be finishing school as well, and i'll be a TA for intro to poetry. I guess I'll probably try and get a little chapbook together, and we have some new music in the works... We also have some nice announcements coming soon and GOD, I wish I could say them here, but sorry, you will see... I’ m gonna go eat 500 dollar vegan lobster. In a museum...
Matt: I’m legit serious about that shitty regional snack food review show. I’m gonna quit the band and focus on that, I think. Yeah, I'm gonna film it - 9 second clips... mmmmmMMMMm
Any final words?
Matt: Always leave a note
Nico: I want to give a quick shout out to Shisa and the Postlife crew in Pittsburgh- y'all are great! Also to VIA and Edgar and i guess I should introduce my band so uhm..
Josh - Single
Tim - Not so much
Matt- Matt? Single.. Haha, just kidding. Sort of
Matt: But seriously - a big shout out to everyone who helped us fund our kickstarter campaign! shout out to the homies in PGH and beyond. can't wait to show you this record. I’m single, you fuck.