Gimme Your Answers: An Interview w/ The Blank Tapes

The Blank Tapes
Photo by Travers Jacobs

The other day I was driving through the beautiful countryside; the sun was shining down, and the smell of summer in the air. Just when I thought the moment couldn’t get better, The Blank Tapes’ Coast to Coast started to play throughout the car and out through the window into the fields. The summer tamborines, ethereal harmonies, and lush sixties nuances made the moment feel movie-perfect. When music can have this timeless affect and effortless impact on someone, you know a band is doing something right. To my absolute pleasure, AMBY had the opportunity of speaking to the people behind the music. So have a look as we talk to The Blank Tapes’ Matt Adams about the band’s brilliant album and EP artwork, ultimate festival line-ups, and old drunk men that love dancing on stage.

AMBY: Hello The Blank Tapes! What’s the band been up to lately?

The Blank Tapes: We’ve had a little break from touring, so we’re spending most our time in the recording studio finishing up some new tracks and hanging out in LA & Joshua Tree.

AMBY: How would you describe your sound to those unfamiliar with your music?

The Blank Tapes: It’s catchy pop/folk/rock music with a dash of psychedelia and surf guitar solos.  I also tell people it’s like if the Velvet Underground recorded the White Album.

AMBY: You recently released your debut record Vacation. Which songs are your favourite off the album?

The Blank Tapes: This is actually our 12th album so it’s funny that people are calling this our debut.  With that said, it IS my first full length studio-recorded album that’s been released.  As far as my fav’s on the album: I wrote ‘Pearl’ (my girlfriend / bandmate) the night I met her so that one stands out.  I’m proud of the lyrics and message in ‘Workin’ too.  I’d also like to comment on the song ‘Earring’ – make sure to wear ear plugs at all these INSANELY LOUD SHOWS.

AMBY: Coast to Coast has an infectious vibe. What’s the song about?

The Blank Tapes: It’s about me packing my bags and moving back to LA from Oakland & SF where I had been living for the past 6 years.  I hadn’t yet made the move, but it was on my mind.  It wasn’t until I met Pearl down in LA that I made the plunge.

AMBY: What do you consider the best lyric you’ve written?

The Blank Tapes: I’m overwhelmed thinking about all the lyrics I’ve written.  Different ones mean different things to me, but I guess one of the ‘BEST’ lyrics is from ‘Workin’ off the new album VACATION. It goes: “I’ve been workin, ohhh but it aint workin at all. So I’ll work on being me from now on.”  There’s at least a dozen other lines I’m proud of like “Riding the wave on the pavement driving out of my mind” & “Some people get older, and colder and colder, with a chip on their shoulder. Don’t ever get old.”

AMBY: The band has some amazing album and EP artwork. Do you have any particular favourites?

The Blank Tapes: Thanks!  One of my favorite things about releasing an album is making the artwork for it.  I’m really proud of the latest album cover for VACATION.  Some of my early ones ‘Landfair’ & ‘Daydreams’ seem pretty “classic” to me at this point.  For the album ‘The One EP’- the picture of me with the orange Ukulele in the empty swimming pool with the cat sitting on the slide behind my head has always been a favorite of mine.  It was actually taken in Las Vegas long before my hair got out of control.

AMBY: What would your ultimate festival line-up be?

The Blank Tapes: I assume I’d be playing it so I’d get to hang with everyone backstage.  Here it goes: Paul McCartney (still haven’t seen him), the Kinks (at least Ray Davies), Neil Young / Buffalo Springfield, Leonard Cohen, Rodriguez (Pearl’s favorite!), a reunited Creedence Clearwater Revival, VU, Prince and a few other newer bands like the Flaming Lips, Beck (doing some of his older songs), Air, Yo La Tango, Magnetic Fields, Tame Impala, Dr. Dog, Beachwood Sparks, White Fence, Jonathan Wilson, Foxygen, Cayucas, Sonny & the Sunsets, Floating Action, the Growlers, Allah Las, Magic Leaves, the Range of Light Wilderness, Ash Reiter, Sugar Candy Mountain, fpodbpod, Sun Hop Fat, KillBossa & a few other last minute additions. That’ll be the Friday & Saturday line-up, still working on Sunday.

AMBY: If you could hang out with any of your influences for a day, who would you hang with and what would you do?

The Blank Tapes: I’d hang with any of those people from the ultimate festival.  If I had to pick one, it’d be Paul McCartney hands down. He’s a fucking BEATLE!  We’d hang out in one of his home studios, and he’d regale with me stories of his Beatles and Wings heyday.  Ideally Ringo would swing by and then we’d have a jam with Paul on bass of course.  At some we’d probably eat some vegetarian food and smoke a joint or two.

AMBY: What’s the funniest thing to happen to you at a gig?

The Blank Tapes: Wow! Too many to recollect, especially all of the old drunk men that love dancing on stage with us.  One that comes to mind, is when me & Pearl played a show in Strasbourg, France and this out of control drunk girl who was screaming her praise to us, grabbed a guy to dance – the dude got up and put his food through my guitar case and after the show the girl asked me to sign her and her friends boobs.  I looked over at Pearl for a look of approval, but instead she rushed over, grabbed the pen, and finished the job.

AMBY: What’s the best song of 2013?

The Blank Tapes: Dang, we’re still listening to hits from 2012! Let’s see… the upcoming Allah-Las single (not sure if it’s an A side or B side) “Every Girl” is a bona-fide hit!  Sugar Candy Mountain has a new album coming soon too that’s sure to blow some minds.

AMBY: And lastly, what’s something about The Blank Tapes that nobody knows yet?

The Blank Tapes: Pearl doesn’t know how to ride a bike.  DA’s a trained classical pianist.  I lost my swim trunks in a wave when I was a kid.

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Thank you The Blank Tapes, for giving us your answers!

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Alicia Atout

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