Smile Politely

Dizzy from the fall

Throw Me the Statue has a new album, Creaturesque, out on Secretly Canadian, and is a few days into a national tour. Tomorrow night, they kick off the Courtyard Cafe’s fall season with a free show at 8 p.m. with Nurses, the Brunettes, and World’s First Flying Machine.

We caught up with TMTS’s Scott Reitherman on the phone late last week:

Smile Politely: Is this your first album for Secretly Canadian?

Throw Me the Statue: This is our second full-length for them, our third album overall.

SP: How did you get hooked up with them?

TMTS: Guardian angel, I guess.

SP: Do you consider this album much of a departure from your past work?

TMTS: I would say it’s a little bit more low-key. The songs have a new maturity to the songwriting point of view, mostly because I’m 27 instead of 24 now. The content’s a little bit different.

SP: What kind of music did you listen to growing up?

TMTS: I listened to a lot of pop growing up, from Beastie Boys to Bobby Brown, New Kids on the Block, Paula Abdul. That was my introduction to buying my own CDs, embarrassingly enough. My dad introduced me to the Beatles, Zeppelin, Clapton, so that was always playing in my world as a kid.

SP: Are you from Seattle originally, or did you grow up elsewhere?

TMTS: I’m from Haskin Bay, California, near San Francisco.

SP: What brought you to Seattle?

TMTS: I moved up there with some friends to start a record label and make music, because that place was inspiring to us musically, artistically, because of the bands we were listening to that were from there. We liked what the energy was like in Seattle, on K Records, for example, the Microphones was a favorite artist of mine, and of course the classic Built to Spill/Modest Mouse type records that were coming out of Seattle. And I wanted to get back to the West Coast because I’d been going to college elsewhere for four years, so those were the main factors. I’ve been here for five years, and I’m having a blast so far. It’s a great place, it’s a good place to be from if you’re doing music, people really support live music out here, as well as their local artists. It’s a good thing going out here, I think.

SP: Yeah, my brother lives in the Wallingford area of Seattle, somewhere out that way.

TMTS: Oh yeah, right on. I have to run an errand in Wallingford today, actually. I have to pick up our next batch of band t-shirts in Wallingford.

SP: How long are you going to be out on the road when you go out on tour?

TMTS: One month, at first. Hopefully, probably, a bit longer after we come home after that first circle around the country.

SP: It looks like you’re touring with Nurses and the Brunettes. Are they people you already know?

TMTS: No, we haven’t met yet. It’s going to be one of those funny things where you meet someone who you’re going to spend a lot of time with. But I respect both of their music very much, so I’m looking forward to getting to see them play every night.

SP: I really like “Dizzy from the Fall” from your new album, and it has a really nice lo-fi pop vibe throughout.

TMTS: Oh, cool man, thanks a lot.

SP: Who do you consider to be some of your influences, or have you been compared to someone that you don’t think fits?

TMTS: Well, I listen to a lot of different kinds of music, as most people will claim, and I’m also interested as a songwriter in pushing myself to write different types of songs from track to track, because it keeps me interested in the somewhat narcissistic, but important, task of listening to your own songs. So, consequently, people tend to compare us to a pretty wide variety of other bands, aesthetically, for better or worse. Well, not for better or worse – it’s only natural. I have a tough time citing my own influences, because I think I’m fairly sponge-like in my listening habits and influences, in that whole artistic cyclones. So, I could tell you what I’m listening to right now, but I don’t think it would be indicative of anything that showed up on that record, and like I just told you, having listened to a fair amount of New Kids on the Block when I was six, seven, eight years old, I haven’t listened to New Kids in a long time, but I think it would be pretty unfair to say that there aren’t some of those elements that sneak up in my music subconsciously, from song to song. It’s always a tricky question to answer; a fair one, but I don’t think I can answer that question very well.

SP: It’s interesting to hear your thought process as you’re trying to, whether or not you came up with a definitive answer. So long as you’re willing to acknowledge your music’s amazing similarities to NKOTB’s later work, I think we’re fine. (laughs)

TMTS: I definitely have a soft spot for mainstream hip-hop, or as I like to call it, candy rap, sometimes. And that’s a tricky thing to work into an indie-rock band’s songwriting for sure, but there are some moments on the records where I listen back now, and there are a few moments where the cadence of the lyrics, the lyrical poetry, or sort of the bouncy pop vibe of the instrumentation probably is coming from a moment soon after which I was listening to Clipse or Kanye West or something.

SP: It’s infectious, that’s why it’s popular, I guess. Where did the name Throw Me the Statue come from?

TMTS: It was the name of a mixtape I made for a girl a while back. I was pursuing music as a solo project, because that’s what Throw Me the Statue started out as, and I needed a music alias for the project, and I didn’t just want to call it Scott Reitherman music. So I reached back into my personal musical history and extracted that amazing nugget, and I made it into a band name. And it’s been confusing people ever since. I don’t know if it was a good decision, but that’s not worth fretting over. For better or worse, that’s the fascinating story of where it came from.

SP: Was the mixtape successful?

TMTS: Well, the relationship did not last long, I guess, if that answers the question. In all seriousness, though, I think it was a pretty good mixtape, so I don’t think it’s fair to blame the quality of the tunes on the mixtape.

SP: Nah, sometimes I think that’s a good weeding-out process. You don’t want to sell yourself short.

TMTS: There you go.

SP: Was there anything else you wanted to talk about?

TMTS: Nah, just looking forward to coming back to Urbana, rocking another college show. It’s a cool town. I can’t remember the name of this bar that we went to in Urbana, is it potentially an old bar there called the Blind Pig?

SP: Yeah, that’s it.

TMTS: Wow, I’m surprised I remembered it. We had a birthday in the band that night, so we went to the Blind Pig and drank more tequila shots than we should’ve.

SP: One might be more tequila shots than one should drink.

TMTS: I don’t know about that. A birthday is a special day.

SP: One of my co-workers is nursing a Patron hangover today. He’s cursing that particular beverage.

TMTS: Yeah, that’s usually my tequila choice, Patron. The one I can handle.

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