from Liverpool to Washington, DC; an interview with garage punk band Teen Mortgage
I get a lot of music in my inbox and sometimes it’s overwhelming to keep up. However, this band Teen Mortgage really caught my eye. Originally coming from Liverpool this two piece recently relocated to Washington, DC. In my head I thought “Perfect, I can interview them!” I met up with James in a cafe to have a chat over some beers to find out more about this garage surf rock sound that captured me.
What’s your background in music? How did you get started?
When I was 11, I saw a video of The Beatles playing “Twist and Shout” at the 1963 royal variety performance. It was the first time any rock band had played for the queen. Before they start playing John Lennon says “Will the people in the cheaper seats clap your hands, and the rest of you, if you’ll just rattle your jewelry”. I just thought, shit man, I wanna do THAT.
Why decide to go with a two person sound instead of a larger band?
Honestly I’m somewhat of a control freak. It means theres less cooks in the kitchen. When its just me and a drummer, it means I don’t have to rely on any other guitarists or bass players. It gives me the ability to improvise and change up what I’m playing if I want to, and in that your limitations can become freedoms.
Who are your cultural influences? Favorite movies, tv shows and what character from a film or tv did you really identify with?
That’s such a cool question. I love Harmony Korine’s movies. Gummo and Kids have such powerful imagery and soundtracks. Baker 3, to this day is the best skate video ever made in my opinion. The energy is so contagious and every song they use is sick and fits in with each skater’s personality. I wish I had the balls to talk to people like Alan Partridge does. Steve Coogan is one of the funniest people on the planet in my opinion.
What song best represents your current mood?
“Forgetting Everything” by Pink Mexico. He (Robert Preston, singer) repeats “I’m so tired of everything”, just says it all really doesn’t it? Feels like he’s talking about 2016, or I just interpret it like that.
What are your future plans with music?
I just want to see how far can I take it while keeping it fun. Meet as many people, play as many shows, and go to as many places as possible. I’m very much an open book.
Name 5 of your top favorite albums?
This is such a difficult one [laughs]. In no particular order:
1. Misfits – Collection
2. The La’s – The La’s
3. Weezer – Pinkerton
4. Ty Segall – Melted
5. The Unicorns – Who Will Cut Our Hair When We’re Gone?