Smile Politely

So goes a half evening with your mother

An Evening With Your Mother has graced the C-U scene for the past two years with their vibrantly enigmatic alt folk rock, and in the spirit of Jake and Elwood Blues, will be taking their self-proclaimed “Mission from God” on tour this August starting on the 11th in Springfield. They’ll follow up a with a record release show at the Red Herring on the 15th for their split with Jack Anthony and the Desperadoes, joined by Renegade Lightning Rebellion that night. They’ve already traveled around to a few neighboring states this summer, and will play at Mike N Molly’s with Love Toy and Elephant Gun tonight. I sat down with guitarist Kirby Jayes and violinist Alleya Weibel before their show at the Clark Bar to talk about their new split.

Smile Politely: What are your favorite moments playing around town?

Kirby Jayes: Pygmalion last year was definitely a high point. We released our last EP at that show. It was just a really cool experience playing that show and being involved in that festival.

Alleya Weibel: Even besides that show, being in the band allowed us to be more involved in Pygmalion, be engaged and meet people.

SP: Anything funny or weird you can recall?

Jayes: Running into J Mascis at Big Freedia was weird. It was really loud; I sort of gave him a thumbs up, he gave a thumbs up back.

Weibel:  My friend went up to Ed Droste and put his hand up to shake his hand and shook his sweater by accident and it totally freaked him out. Then he tweeted about it, like, ten minutes later.

SP: How do electronic effects add to your music?

Jayes: On the recording of “So It Goes,” Cullyn was playing through reverse [effects], and he was just messing around and was like, ‘Look I can make this sound!’ I was like, cool, we’ll put that on the record.

Weibel: In “Toby,” we had some stuff that sounded like it could be electronic. I played violin, then I overdubbed myself plucking the same part. It had kind of a punch to it that sounded almost like a synthesizer, but it wasn’t at all.

Jayes: We all play pretty bare instruments. I think that’s something, at least as far as guitar playing goes, I don’t like doing that. I’m someone who, if I get a bunch of electronics, I’m probably gonna get lost in it. But I like the idea of sitting down with a guitar plugged into an amp, or just an acoustic guitar, and being, ‘OK, what sounds can I make come out of this?’ How can I make sounds that are to me?

SP: How was recording your split with Jack Anthony and the Desperadoes?

Jayes: Basically what we did is just set up in my basement, and this guy who I play in another band with, Colin Althaus, he’s really into recording and wants to do that as a career and he’s got all his equipment. The kid has unbelievably good ears.

Weibel: We also recorded in different rooms too. I did violin in the living room, some vocals in a closet.

Jayes: My bedroom’s in the basement, so my room was the mixing room. It was pretty straightforward. We did scratch tracks with of all of us playing, then to a metronome.

Weibel: Colin would do some techniques where he would put mics behind walls to create a natural reverb sound, and some of it sounded really great. It actually picked up a natural reverb.

Jayes:  It was a really fun experience, and definitely one of the easiest studio experiences to have had, where especially you’re not going to a studio and playing the songs live as a band and putting the tape and that’s the record. Going in and playing to a metronome and doing the parts one by one can be really tedious and sort of backbreaking. I actually had a lot of fun doing this record.

SP: What’s different about your new material?

Jayes: I think we’re stretching out a little more. I’ve kind of had a punk rock attitude about it for a while. It has to be loud; it has to be in your face; it has to be rock ‘n roll. I wanted it to be that. We’re not really that kind of band. I want our songs to still be powerful, and still be moving and to say something, but they don’t have to be in your face to do that.

Weibel: Kind of figuring out how to make the energy of the crowd about what you’re playing and less so about what’s coming out volume-wise. It should be the performance that’s moving it, and figuring out that balance.

Jayes: I’ve always thought about myself more as a writer than a musician for the most part. Stuff that has happened in my life all goes into my lyrics. I look at lyrics that I wrote when you’re starting as a band and what I’m writing now. ‘Who was that  guy and what the hell was he thinking?’ And I’ll probably be doing the same thing in three years, but for now I feel good about it.

SP: Can you give any examples of inspirations and influences that make up these lyrics? Including pop-culture references?

Jayes: [“So It Goes”] is a Vonnegutt reference, and that’s the oldest song on the record. I wrote it in the summer of 2011 when I was staying at home while my family was on vacation for a month or so. ‘So it goes’ in the book is sort of a resignation almost, like this is how it is. There’s an element of that in the song; there’s also this sense of cycles, and sort of the snake eating its own tail, and what have you. Right at the end, ‘I see no reason why we can’t start again, so it goes, time may be a series of moments and we’re all bugs trapped in amber,’ but at the same time, I feel like you do have some agency to redo your own fate. It’s not completely Tralfamadorian.


An Evening With Your Mother will release their split with Jack Anthony and the Desperadoes on August 15, and will play at Mike n’ Mollys tonight with Love Toy and Elephant Gun.

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