“I really like you, but I’m leaving on a sailboat after college.” The origin of breezy Denver-based band Tennis can be traced back to those 12 words spoken by Patrick Riley to his then-girlfriend (now wife), Alaina Moore. But instead of being scared away by his whimsical goal, Moore wanted to come. “Alaina hadn’t even seen the ocean before,” Riley says. “So it was a little more of a task for her than it was for me.”
After graduation the couple saved up for a few years, adding to a sailing fund that Riley had been building since high school. The pair eventually chartered a 30-foot boat along the East Coast for eight months, making their way from the Bahamas to Baltimore. While at a bar in Marathon, Florida, the couple heard “Baby, It’s You” by the Shirelles and became determined to replicate its early ’60s girl-group sound. “I don’t think we would’ve played music if it wasn’t for that night,” says Riley.
Upon returning from sea the two recorded the songs that would become the Marathon EP, which was released this summer. The collection chronicles their travels as Moore’s dreamy vocals rise up over fuzzed-out guitars. Internet buzz soon followed. “The internet founded our band,” says Riley. “Without the internet none of this would have happened, which is weird ’cause leading up to this trip, I basically condemned the internet.” But if anyone is prepared to weather the waves of hype, it’s these two sailors.