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February 25, 2011 / punkcakes

Laura Stevenson, an Interview

Laura Stevenson & the Cans are one of those bands that truly love what they’re doing, and the people who appreciate them. The road the music world brings to young bands is a long and treacherous one, and these guys kept their heads and never ceased to make inspiring, chillingly beautiful songs the entire way. Laura puts everything into her music, and as fans that’s all we really could ask. This band deserves all of the success their new album Sit/Resist will bring with its April 26th release. I had emailed Laura from an address I found off their website, and she had no problem answering these questions personally. The best band in the entire world? Probably.

You started out with Bomb The Music Industry!, but what is your musical background? How did you originally start out?

When I was really little I would sit at the piano and fool around, picking out songs I knew.  I would also do a lot of weird singing in my room, which made my mom think I was a little strange.  When I was about 5 or 6 I started taking piano lessons and throughout school I always sang in the choruses and the acapella groups.  I started playing the guitar and really writing songs when I was in my late teens and after that, joined BTMI and toured around.

Who and what are your influences when it comes to writing music?

I really like Leonard Cohen, Neil Young, and Jeff Mangum.  Those’d be my top influences probably.

Your music is so personal and full of emotion, which inevitably create the best songs. Do you completely put your heart on your sleeve when it comes to writing lyrics? Do you ever get “shy” when it comes to making your emotions public?

I try to just put it all out there.  When I’m writing I’m alone and I’m not thinking about sharing it with anyone.  I’m just doing it for myself, you know?  Sometimes things are even too hard to talk about with myself anyway, so for that I do get a little shy and just cloak stuff in metaphors… that’s just me not being able to deal with my own stuff though.

What is your favorite thing about playing a show? Do you have a favorite show (or venue) you guys played to date?

I just really like the act of making music… and I have to admit, I’m not really a showman.  I get totally freaked out about singing in front of people, even my closest friends.  It’s terrifying and doesn’t get any easier.  I just close my eyes and get wrapped up in it when we are playing but I would say the best thing about playing live is after the song is over, and I open my eyes back up and there are a bunch of people that are really psyched and happy to be there.  That makes me feel like I’m doing the right thing. I’d say my favorite venue would be…The Triple Rock in Minneapolis.  That place rules.

What are you most stoked about with the release of your new album Sit/Resist?

I’m super excited for the release but I am also super nervous about it.  We recorded this record in January and have been waiting for people to hear it and tell us what they think for like, 3 months now… it’s driving us crazy.  I’m stoked for it to be out so I can push all of my crippling self-doubt onto another project.

If you could describe Sit/Resist in one word (or a few), what would it be?

That’s hard!  I would say: “emotional rollercoaster plus fun”

With the single release of “Master of Art” , you have been gaining a huge amount of (well deserved) attention. Do feel that it is going to change who you are as a band?

Thanks for saying it was well deserved!  I think it’s making us feel like all of our hard work is starting to pay off.  It sucks when you feel like you’re killing yourself for this thing and it’s not moving forward.  So now it’s moving forward and that is really, really good for our poor, tired, little hearts.

Do you have a favorite song off the new album?

That’s a hard one… they are all really different and really vital to the record as a whole.  I maybe will say “Montauk Monster” because that one ended up being the most fun to record, or maybe “I See Dark” because that song means a whole lot to me.

I have always admired how truthful and honest you seem to remain with your growing success, and I think that is key to creating the best music possible and why Laura Stevenson & the Cans is such a rad band. Do you have any advice for other musicians and bands starting out?

Thanks for saying that!  That’s really nice to hear.  I would tell other musicians starting out that- things are different, they’re not as easy as they used to be, and you need to throw yourself into this for a long time before things start happening.  No matter how good you are.  So,  I guess it’s about persistence, just believe in what you’re doing and keep doing it.

Punkcakes is a music blog with an appreciation of the pastry, do you have a favorite baked good you’d like to share?

I make this carrot spice cake thing.  It’s basically this recipe with the addition of some golden raisins, chopped walnuts, cayenne pepper, and apples.  Sometimes a banana if I have a brownish one.  Oh also- just throw it in a bread pan instead of muffin tins.  It’s pretty good for the winter time.

Laura Stevenson, you truly are an inspiration. Everyone keep their eyes and ears open for Sit/Resist, April 26th via Don Giovanni Records. And if you haven’t done your ears the favor, the Holy Ghost! EP, Bomb the Music Industry! split and Laura Stevenson: A Record are available here, free!!

Samantha Sicilia


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