By Jhoni Jackson
The Fresh & Onlys are riding on high in the wake of their latest release, but that’s nothing new. The San Francisco natives have been churning out EPs and LPs at a rate that rivals Heidi Montag’s plastic surgeries. Since forming in 2008, the melody-friendly, fuzz-heavy band has amassed seven official albums, including this month’s August in My Mind EP on Captured Tracks.
After plenty of phone tagging, bassist and co-songwriter Shayde Sartin found some time amid the SXSW chaos to chat about his love for Atlanta, what they’ve been listening to and, most importantly, his teenage goth phase.
You guys are at SXSW right now. Like most bands, you’re playing several shows each day. How are you faring? Tired?
Yes, we are tired. We’re really exhausted. Playing rock and roll in the daytime is really weird. It’s a nighttime breed of person, and it’s kinda weird.
You guys aren’t playing more than three in a day this year, right?
We’re doing two days where we’re doing four. We’re doing 11 shows total. It’s rock and roll and athleticism.
Do you guys get a break before the rest of tour?
No, we leave Austin Saturday and we’re going to New Orleans, and then we go all the way down to Miami.
When you’re in the van for hours on end, are you each plugged into your own iPods or do you listen to music collectively?
We don’t do iPods. Cassette tapes only. No iPods. It’s not a thing of righteousness or whatever, it’s just we’re all fucking poor and don’t own iPods.
What have you been listening to?
A lot of, like, ‘80s jangle-rock in the van. It’s really good driving music. The Mekons, REM — that kind of stuff. Then a lot of really heavy new wave, like OMD and stuff like that [laughs]. And we do a lot of rap tapes too. Tim, our signer, is really into rap. He grew up on it.
Tim’s voice is pretty deep and dark, sort of like Stephen Merritt’s from The Magnetic Fields. Did any of you ever go through a goth phase?
Wyman, our guitar player, and myself. We both had really substantial goth phases. Neither of us ever got into hardcore as teenagers or anything like that so we were…goth kids. Tim doesn’t know shit about goth, but part of the reason it works so well is because he’s accidentally goth. He’s got the baritone voice. My and Wyman definitely had big goth phases. [Laughing in background]
You guys will be here next Saturday with King Khan and the Shrines. Have you played a show in Atlanta?
We’ve never played Atlanta, and it’s my favorite city in the country.
Well, after San Fran.
I thought you hadn’t played here. I’ve wanted to see you guys play for a while now. I hoped I didn’t miss a chance.
We were supposed to go through there on our last tour. I kinda screwed it up with the booking, and ended up having to reroute us last minute to get to Montreal in time. So we had to skip Atlanta, which was a bummer ‘cause I have a lot of friends there. I love the city and the people there. There’s nothing really like Atlanta in the world.
Where do you hang out when you’re here?
I always go to Eats first thing. I love Eats. MJQ, 529, Star Bar. You know, places you’d expect. I’m a fucking white guy in my early 30s. I’ve been playing rock and roll music for 15 years; I do pretty standard shit. Not a lot of curve balls from me.
The Fresh & Onlys play The EARL with King Khan and the Shrines, March 27. Tickets are on sale at Ticket Alternative.
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