New York DIY punks Parquet Courts are on their initial tour of the U.S.
Texas transplants/co-songwriters Andrew Savage and Austin Brown infuse their raw and dynamic sound with smart lyrics, hoping to build the foundations of a new chapter in American punk. Their first proper release, “Light Up Gold,” is out now, and draws from enough influences to make it difficult to describe.
While driving through Memphis, Savage spoke with SoundDiego about what they’re going for and what the future holds.
The band will play at Soda Bar on Monday night.
Scott McDonald: This is Parquet Courts’ first tour, right?
Andrew Savage: It is. And it’s great. Can’t complain a bit. We’re filling up rooms and people seem to be really enthusiastic. It feels really good.
SM: Seems to be a nice buzz around the band as well.
AS: You know, I’m kind of surprised at the enthusiasm behind all the accolades we’ve been getting. But I’m not complaining. It’s great.
SM: Is it similar to the way (Savage’s first band) Fergus & Geronimo was greeted?
AS: That band met quite a bit of initial praise for our first singles because they were very accessible and it was more disposable pop stuff. The LPs we did were far more weird and slightly subversive. I felt the records were great, but I understand why they weren’t huge indie records. But with Parquet Courts, I feel like there’s been a hunger in underground American rock music for more noisy, guitar-based, loud, punk kind of stuff. I think it’s been lagging for a while now in the larger consciousness of independent music. I think now is the right place and the right time. And I think it’s something the kids are hungry for.
SM: So you set out to make a specific sound with the band?
AS: Absolutely. We wanted to represent what it is to be an American, independent, punk band – something that comes at you from the margins and on the fringe.
SM: I love that no one is using the word “alternative” for this project.
AS: Well, it’s such a tame word. It’s almost meaningless at this point – especially when you’re describing a band.
SM: Your first release, American Specialties, was cassette-only.
AS: That was the band finding its footing. There were never any huge ambitions for it. We did a small run of 200 cassettes through a friend in Austin. But a couple of weeks ago, it got released on vinyl, so we have that on tour now. We were finding our sound, so it’s a bit more ugly and rugged, but we still play those songs and I like it a lot. I think it’s an interesting glimpse into the band becoming the band.
SM: Are you letting all of this marinate, or are you already working on the next thing?
AS: We are definitely the latter. We already have a ton of stuff planned for this year – as far as touring and recording goes – including releasing a new record. We’re all meticulous planners and everyone in the band has very specific functions that they’re responsible for. We don’t do much else. I had to hear from a friend last night that we were on NPR. That stuff comes in the form of text messages because we’re all too focused on what’s ahead.