When drummer Ali Koehler left Vivian Girls for Best Coast, things were looking bright: She had jumped from one successful group to another possibly buzzier successful group like it wasn’t no thang. But things took a turn when Koehler was, ermm, kicked out of Best Coast.
Undeterred, Koehler rallied when she met Hole drummer Patty Schemel, on Twitter no less. Thus began a series of events that resulted in the retro garage-pop trio Upset, with Jenn Prince of La Sera rounding it out on lead guitar.
With this kind of indie star power, it’s no surprise Upset’s causing a stir. They’ve been making the blog rounds, have played with Parquet Courts, and are prepping for a November tour with Screaming Females. Upset dropped its first LP, She’s Gone, this week via Don Giovanni. Their sound is sweetly brash, infused with a zero-fucks-given sort of confidence, and dare we say that also came across in our Q&A? We talk pigeonholing and social media in our quick chat with the trio.
Everyone’s commenting on your past: Ali from Best Coast, Patty from Hole. Obviously this has added to the buzz, but are you afraid of being pigeonholed? Have you been battling preformed notions?
Ali: Everyone has their expectations and that’s fine, but I defy you to pigeonhole me.
Patty: I love a good notion.
Coming from such notable bands, did you have to actively change the way you developed your sound, or did the unique Upset sound happen organically? For example, did you ever have to stop yourself or make a musical decision because something might sound “too Best Coast?”
Ali: Bands that try to sound a certain way are usually the worst kinds of bands. We’re a good band.
Patty: I’ve never been concerned with sounding a certain way. Ali had great songs and Jenn’s guitar parts added great melodies.
In that same vein, do you find your past musical lives influencing your music? If not sound-wise, than thematically? Ali, other outlets have said your dark post-Best Coast period influenced the album.
Ali: Everyone’s past influences their present, musically and otherwise.
Patty: I love that Ali has a dark post-Best Coast period already!
Jenn: We all come from a punk background and grew up loving certain bands like 7 Seconds. I think that definitely shows in our sound too.
Ali, was making the switch from drummer to vocalist strange?
Ali: The switch was refreshing. I got bored with sitting and playing the same old drum beats day after day. I sang in Vivian Girls so it was a smooth transition.
Patty, Ali, you guys met on Twitter. What are your thoughts on social networks in terms of shaping the scene these days?
Ali: Social media is awesome. People can connect with each other so much more easily now.
Jenn: It definitely makes promotion easier. So far, we just use social media to promote shows and press. I think as we begin traveling to play we’ll be using it for more fun things, like silly tour antics.
Patty:It’s great for promoting shows and getting your music out there. I still love a good flyer on a telephone pole though.
What are your plans now that the album is out? Any tours in the works or bands you’d love to team up with for tour?
Ali: I’d love to play with Potty Mouth. I’m really into what they’re going for.
Jenn: I’d love to tour with Mean Jeans.
Patty: I love the Coathangers. That would be a fun tour.