Last week I caught up with Teddy Rowe, singer of local indie pop band Younger Siblings. He also promotes DIY shows locally at venues such as The Forge. Teddy and I talked a little about his band, the Birmingham DIY scene in general, and an awesome show he has coming up with Ashley Eriksson of LAKE and Adventure Time fame.
BHAMFM: I’ve always found that I’m really attracted to bands/artists that can marry quirky/snarky lyrics with classic pop music. Do you find that you’re influenced by artists that do this?
Teddy Rowe: Yeah, to some extent. I think there’s a notion in pop music of all kinds that the singer is revealing some grand secret about him or herself. My songwriting is a lot less autobiographical. We’ve got all of these new songs coming out that are internet and computer love songs. I guess I’m in a little of each song, but I think a pop songwriter distancing him or herself can produce a really interesting piece of work. What I’m saying here is Morrissey needs to sing more about dial up.
BHAMFM: Who are your biggest songwriting and musical influences?
Teddy: In terms of bands, I pull a lot from They Might Be Giants, the Magnetic Fields, and early 80’s indie-pop bands. But lately, I’ve been super into familiar sounds. Like, cartoon theme songs or things like that. I’m really focusing in on creating sounds that take someone back to a place they’ve forgotten about. The Beach Boys are masters at doing this.
BHAMFM: As a band from Birmingham that’s toured around a little, where are some of your favorite places to play outside of Birmingham?
Teddy: Athens, Georgia: Good food, good friends. Greenville, SC: …The crowd goes WILD. NYC, NY: We’re city boys at heart, you know?
BHAMFM: I know that Younger Siblings did a split 7″ not to long ago with the great Nightmare Boyzzz on Fat Sandwich Records. Are there any immediate plans for upcoming releases from the band?
Teddy: We released a small run of a cassette EP called “Your Very Own” via Spring St. Records for our previous summer tour. We sold out of it on tour, but we’re looking to repress it. Keep your eyes peeled for “Your Very Own” in November or December. It’s mostly old songs I wrote in high school or others we’ve been playing for forever. We’re going to start recording for an album after that. It’s going to have 10 – 25 songs and half of them will be about the internet.
BHAMFM: Are you happy with the current diversity of bands in the Birmingham DIY scene? Do you have any favorite bands, or any bands that aren’t getting as much attention as they should be?
Teddy: Yes! I would never complain if their were more pop bands, though. Dommel Mosel continually blows me away. He doesn’t have any recordings, but God, he’s good. Jangly, minimalistic post-punk crooner blues. LBTV is also underrated. He makes music interior design music, you know? Everyone needs to see him play.
BHAMFM: How important is a stable venue like The Forge to DIY music in Birmingham?
Teddy: I feel like at this point it’s ingrained in everyone that a DIY venue must exist. The periods of a new DIY space lying in limbo don’t feel right. House shows are nice, but there are bands Birmingham has been able to see thanks to places like the Forge.
BHAMFM: What are the most challenging things about setting up and promoting DIY shows?
Teddy: Getting people interested and coming out. It’s hard. There’s already a small, select group of people attending shows, and obviously, not everyone in that group will want to go to every show. Even getting the word out about a show doesn’t necessarily translate to people there. It’s frustrating to hear someone say, “Birmingham sucks, because…” when I’m striving to book interesting bands. You may like one show more than another, but there is someone here booking something you will enjoy.
BHAMFM: Can you tell us a little about Younger Siblings upcoming show at The Forge? Who else is playing, and what makes them noteworthy?
Teddy: We have a show on the 23rd of this month with Ashley Eriksson of the band LAKE. LAKE is noteworthy enough as a band, but I suspect that many have heard Ashley’s music and not even realized it. She created the “Island Song” that’s featured at the end of the TV show Adventure Time while the credits are playing. Her tunes range from piano ballads to danceable twee-pop. Dommel Mosel will be rocking the free world as well. All are welcome.