When indie-pop duo Tennis first arrived on the scene in 2011, people were amazed at the fact that the married couple (Alaina Moore and Patrick Riley) wrote their first album after they took an 8-month sailing trip. The product that resulted was dreamy pop-music with retro guitar licks and Alaina Moore's airy vocals.
Now on their fourth release, Tennis went back to the drawing board — or in their case, the sail boat to re-discover the magic of making their first album. We caught up with Moore to talk about the new album before their show tonight at the Magic Bag in Ferndale.
Metro Times: Congrats on the new album! I am loving it so much. Can you tell me a little bit about what went behind making it? Moore: Thanks! I wasn't really feeling any joy after we toured the last album, honestly. Patrick and I started this band because we loved making music together and that spark just wasn't there. So we really wanted to level everything and start from scratch.
Metro Times: What is it about sailing and taking a trip that sort of reignited the flame? Moore: Well we sailed down the Sea of Cortez in the Pacific Ocean, so a lot of that area is untouched by humans and the nature and animalistic ways of it were inspiring. We didn't go into the trip thinking we were going to make an album. We ended up writing half of the album on the trip and then finished it up with just the two of us again back in Colorado.
Metro Times: Was their a catalyst or moment that made you feel this unhappiness with music? Moore: I just think that we weren't doing it all on our own. There is a ton of pressure to succeed in this business. We loved working with other producers, but I knew that if we made another album that it would have to be just us.
Metro Times: Is there an anxiety with making music with your spouse? Like you may be oversharing or he may not like what you write in a song? Moore: Oh, definitely. Luckily for us, the music and the band came after our relationship formed, so it's never been the only thing connecting us together. We can have a relationship outside of making music.
Metro Times: Can you talk a little bit behind the song "Ladies Don't Play Guitar?" Did you have a shitty interaction with a man or something? Moore: Thankfully the men that I surround myself with aren't awful, but I know a lot of women in music face sexism a lot. A lot of people just assume that Patrick writes all of the music which is totally untrue. They think that just because I'm playing piano and he plays guitar that he's the one writing music and I write lyrics. Metro Times: Seriously? Moore: Oh yeah, all the time. The fact that I was taught piano at a young age and not electric guitar says a lot about how we treat women and assume things.
Metro Times: What's the message behind the album title "Yours Conditionally?" Moore: A lot of things, really. It's addressed to each other first of all, but also to the people who have supported us. Friends, family, fans, producers, other bands, all of it.
Metro Times: There were two separate moments on the album that I found really profound. In "In The Morning I'll Be Better" you sing "I'll be your woman" and in the song "Please Don't Ruin This For Me" you sing "I'll be your man." Where does that difference come from? Moore: Well I wanted there to be a distinction between two different ways that I feel and show the different perspectives. We live in this binary world and so much for me has been trying to figure out what is femininity and what it means to be a woman.
Tennis' new album Yours Conditionally is out today. You can catch them tonight at the Magic bag in Ferndale. Tickets are $15 and you can grab them here. Doors are at 8 p.m.