Interview: Weekend

Weekend - Photo by Joe Lubushkin

Weekend - Photo by Joe Lubushkin

It’s a Thursday afternoon, just 24 hours before a pending flight to Europe, and San Francisco indie shoegaze band Weekend is in the recording studio in California, mixing the final track of its upcoming EP.

“I’m excited,” guitarist Kevin Johnson said of the trip. “But I also haven’t packed, or, like, taken care of any of the things I need to do before we leave, so I’m also kind of stressed out.”

It is the three-piece band’s second trip to Europe, its first having been a full-fledged tour earlier this year as support for Wire. But this time around, the members are headlining a handful of shows in Western Europe, as well as playing its first festival, Denmark’s legendary Roskilde Festival.

After that smorgasbord sampling of various countries, Johnson said there’s one country the band has been particularly looking forward to returning to.

“Germany,” he said. “Like, just the German [fans were] really cool and really easy to talk to, and we sold a ton of records, like, more than we’ve ever sold, like, at all the shows. People were really into it…we had a ton of people that hadn’t even heard of us and came to the show and just, like, became fans I guess.”

And now, the German audiences will be some of the first to hear the new Weekend songs, which will officially be released later this year.

“Everyone is really really stoked about it,” Johnson said of the forthcoming EP.

He went on to explain that the songs on the band’s debut LP, “Sports,” were written two or more years ago, and while the band still loves to play them, they aren’t as fresh, nor are they representative of where the band is now.

“We’ve like, kind of expanded [since then],” he said, referencing how playing or hearing them make him think of the place he used to be in. “There’s obviously a lot that I appreciate about the songs, but they don’t really feel like, current to me, anymore.”

In Johnson’s mind, movement toward progression is an important element of the band, considering he and bassist Shaun Durkan had been throwing around the idea of being in a band for more than a decade before it came a reality (current drummer Abe Pedroza didn’t enter the scene until later).

“There [was] this huge, like, cathartic explosion of music and sound [when it finally came together], and, you know, we just got in the studio and we just were so excited to be playing together that we just, like, just like wrote all this stuff,” he said. “That was awesome, but I think now we’ve had a chance to just like, grow more into our own skin. [And] I wouldn’t say we’re any more, like, sophisticated, but maybe a little bit more refined.”

That refinement came about as a result of a lot of time, persistance and dedication invested by all the members.

“I think that if you start and a band and you’re doing it with people you really share, like, sort of a common ground with, and you have kind of an emotional connection with, and you’re really passionate about what you’re doing, people catch on to that and they understand that energy.”

In turn, that energy has been something which has both encouraged and sustained the band, even when things get tough.

“It’s just a matter of survival. That can be difficult but I think we all do it because it’s what we want to be doing,” Johnson said, talking about the struggle between choosing a stable career or an unstable pursuit of music. “We have a lot of passion for what we’re doing, and that allows us to get through some pretty difficult times pretty easily, you know, because we’re just really excited to be playing music and playing shows and doing what we want to do.”

And in spite of those financial uncertainties, Johnson said the music still has the ability to regularly surprise him.

“There’s definitely this weird thing where you write something and you don’t really have a clear idea of, like, how people will react to it,” he said. “And so there [have] definitely been times when I was surprised by, like, the feeling I get when we play something live.”

In addition to audience reaction and the way playing live has affected him, Johnson said even though the members are involved in all the steps of creating and recording music, the finished product still often ends up being completely unexpected to them.

“It comes out so much better and more interesting than you thought,” he said. “And it’s just, like, this kind of new thing that you’ve brought into the world. That’s really exciting for me.”

Weekend plays tonight at Comet Club in Berlin. The show begins at 20.00

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