Believe it or not, Silversun Pickups, the alternative rock band from Los Angeles, released their first EP 10 years ago. Although Brian, Chris, Joe and Nikki may be more experienced from when we first met them, their attitude and outlook on the industry has not changed. We sat down with the band as they were gearing up for the release of their new album, Better Nature.
Q: It’s been 3 years since your last studio album, what have you guys been up to
SSP: We are always 3 years apart with records and the reason for that is we love to play live shows. We don’t just like to play big cities, we want to play everywhere. That itself takes almost 2 years. Then we need to go home, shut down and listen to our brains a little. That’s where the song writing comes from. This latest album is a little late by just a couple of months.
Q: Not to date you, but it’s been 10 years since your first EP. Has anything changed when it comes to the songwriting process?
SSP: I hope so. As a band you should always grow and mature. But what is not different is that songwriting was difficult for us then, and it’s difficult for us now. That is a good thing. If we were really comfortable with [our songwriting], the songs would be boring. If we don’t feel comfortable with it, we feel like we are doing it right.
We are still a new band in our heads. We don’t feel established. We will go to our own record release party and say, “How did we get in this thing?”
It's really funny because we just posted an Instagram from our first EP Pikul that said, “Available in-stores and on iTunes.” We thought people would trip out about the in-store line. But all the comments we got were, “Whoa iTunes, throwback.” But that’s how fast it moves. It’s a wild west for everything now.
Q: I wanted to ask you about your appearances on David Letterman. You performed on the show a few times and were asked to put on a “Live On Letterman” show. What memories do you have of playing the Late Show and what was it like to see him go?
SSP: Man, that was the first late night show we ever did. What was really cool was that Dave genuinely liked us. It’s not like us to boast, but we were being told by everyone on the show how much Dave enjoyed our music.
He took a chance on us. He got our name wrong at first. He introduced us as the Silver Spun Pickups, and we thought oh man that’s it, we're done. And then he kept taking chances on us.
The second time we were on, he snuck back up in the balcony and watched us. We felt so welcomed on that show, which we remember watching as kids.
Now as we are set to release our next album, and come back to New York, we feel like something is missing. We felt at home there and we are a little home sick. We played there a bunch of times.
Q: Let’s move on to the new album. The first single, “Nightlights,” features the lyrics “Putting more makeup on the masks that we wear/Turning our nightlights on in the daytime to scare.” Can you give us some insight on what this means and the inspiration behind the song?
SSP: It’s a cheeky song. “Nightlights” is the closest thing we have to a protest song. People are asking for rights in their lives. What they do in their life that makes them different from other people is so ridiculously small, what they are asking for is so little, and it’s insane that it causes such a hubbub. I thought it would be funny to think; what if we turned our nightlights on in the daytime, how it would create a different human. It’s angry but it’s cheeky.
Q: Your new album Better Nature drops on Friday, do you guys have any album release day rituals?
SSP: We are actually playing in Los Angeles in a small little place. But, we think this is the moment where we are working so hard on becoming a great live band that we forget about the release and all that. At the same time, we don’t love all the attention of the release. It feels better when the album is out and people pick it up and talk about it themselves.
Check out Silversun Pickups on iHeartRadio. Their new album, Better Nature is available on iTunes now!
Photos: Rachel Kaplan & Silversun Pickups