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VMP Interview with Sylvan Esso

On June 16, 2015

picture via WUNC

VMP chatted with the lovely Amelia Meath of Sylvan Esso…this is what we chatted about.

VMP: What was a typical Saturday morning like for each of you growing up?  Where was that by the way?

AM: I would be woken up by my dad tugging the comforter all the way off the bed by a corner in one pull and squealing “freeeeeeze!!!” Then we would go to The New Yorker Diner in Watertown and eat scali toast.  Then Mom and I would walk around Fresh Pond.  Sometimes a movie.

VMP: What albums do you remember first digging into as a kid - any weird phases you remember?

AM: The first album i ever received was Pure Moods, which I saw on Nickelodeon and really wanted.  IT WAS SO GOOD.  A bunch of vibed out new age tunes. I was so down. My first favorite band was Foreigner, when I was in kindergarten.  Then of course, The Spice Girls (viva foreva!).  Then I bought the Miseducation of Lauren Hill and it was all over.

VMP: We’re a vinyl club so we always ask - do either of you collect vinyl?  If so, what’s the first album on vinyl you remember purchasing for yourself?

AM: The first records I bought were The Microphones Live in Japan and Sung Tongs. I got a record player so I could listen to a Nervus Rex record that pop had on vinyl. At that point it was not anywhere on the internet. I try not to buy vinyl, because I move a whole bunch, and usually I am not home enough to actually have a nice sit and listen to records. BUT, Nick has an amazing collection that I listen to all the time!

VMP: What’s your take on the vinyl revival?

AM: I think the vinyl revival is lovely and exciting. Really stoked for musicians to get excited about creating an object as well as music.  That being said, its super heavy, and there are few plants who actually know how to make it well. BUT! The manufacturing is getting better.

VMP: I watched you perform this year at SXSW and took away two things from the experience.  First, you seem to be having a hell of a good time together doing this.  Second, I had a lot of flashes in my mind to Four Tet & LCD Soundsytem.  What makes this collaboration better/different than anything you’ve done in the past.  And…am I anywhere close to the mark on Four Tet / LCD Soundsystem as being influences on some of what you do?

AM: Four tet and LCD Soundsystem are definitely influences. Nick and I are good at what the other is abysmal at, which is why I think we work together so well. We both are also not afraid to have a good time in front of people playing music, which somehow has become a unique thing. Being in this band rules!


picture via Grimy Goods

VMP: I read that you’re into vegetable gardening & foraging for mushrooms in the woods, which showed me we’re kindred spirits.  How is progress on these activities coming?  Any new insights or discoveries?  I lived in Tacoma and it was easy and made me cocky, then moved to Vegas and everything went to hell.  Now I’m packing up the family and headed to Colorado, which I think will be somewhere in between.  

AM: Nick is much more into gardening than I am, he did not have time to grow anything this year because we have been running around all the time. Mushrooms! I am currently reading The Mushroom Hunters by Langdon Cook, it’s about commercial mushroom foraging and how the whole weirdo industry works.  I still have not had time to actually get in the woods yet, hopefully I will learn enough to not sprain my ankle when I actually get into the North Carolina woods and stop playing Zelda all the time.

VMP: You have a 3-day festival to curate called Esso Mania (our marketing guy came up with this) - who do you invite to headline dead or alive?

AM: Four Tet, Bill Murray, Dire Straits, Jon Hopkins, Marvin Pontiac, Kesha, and Nick’s dad Steve will do a solo mandolin set.

VMP: Did you watch True Detective?  Is time a flat circle?  If not, what shows have you watched in the past year that caused addictive behavior?

AM: We have never seen True Detective but, I showed Nick Star Trek The Next Generation which I grew up on but he had never seen. It was all over from there. I had him watch the pilot then skip to the fourth season. We finished it, and now he has started from the beginning. We also listened to all the Harry Potter books on tape which should count for something. I am a fan of Orange is the New Black. Nick is really into Mad Men, I have been waiting to dip back into it…

VMP: What do you admire most about each other?

AM: Nick has an amazing sense of time.

VMP: What album should we be looking at for our next pick?

AM: Mr.Twin Sister! Or Porches if they come out with a new record. Or Marvin Pontiac’s Greatest Hits (even though that is not a new one at all)


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