Los Angeles' favorite new spooky/dreamy pop/rock act Useless Keys play next Monday for free at The Echo with Castledoor (and then on Sunday, June 14th at The Viper Room). We felt like it was long past time to interview the band -- who have been getting better and better in the last year since they first formed -- so we chatted with them via IM mid-last week, right before they played a last minute show over at Spaceland.
Haven't heard Useless Keys yet? Go listen to tracks from their upcoming EP over on their myspace page and come back to read all about them.
Then figure out how to clear your schedule for Monday night...
UselessKeys (11:06:22 PM): Hey, there. This is Useless Keys.
RFSL (11:06:23 PM): Hey!
UselessKeys (11:06:31 PM): Where in the world are you?
RFSL (11:06:37 PM): I moved out to Boston for a job about six weeks back.
RFSL (11:06:44 PM): Everyone is there after or before practice?
UselessKeys (11:06:55 PM): We just got a last minute show at Spaceland and we just finished soundcheck.
RFSL (11:07:07 PM): Oh, excellent. Who are you playing with?
UselessKeys (11:07:39 PM): BM Linx from New York.
UselessKeys (11:08:05 PM): They seem like nice fellows so far.
RFSL (11:08:15 PM): Cool. Hope you guys have a good night.
RFSL (11:08:24 PM): Tell Mel and everyone I said hey.
UselessKeys (11:08:29 PM): I will.
UselessKeys (11:08:36 PM): She's working tonight, plus Sylvia at the back bar.
UselessKeys (11:08:45 PM): Solid Todd and Dia are djing.
RFSL (11:08:53 PM): Oh, cool. I miss Spaceland... And taco trucks. And a buncha other stuff.
RFSL (11:09:01 PM): So, you guys have been recording.
UselessKeys (11:09:15 PM): Yes, we just got back our six-song EP from mastering.
RFSL (11:09:21 PM): Excellent.
UselessKeys (11:09:25 PM): We put most of it up on the myspace already.
RFSL (11:09:32 PM): I really like what I've heard.
UselessKeys (11:09:37 PM): Thanks.
RFSL (11:09:37 PM): When is it coming out?
UselessKeys (11:09:46 PM): Probably within the next month or so.
UselessKeys (11:10:09 PM): We've been debating back and forth how to release it, what format, etc...
RFSL (11:10:15 PM): itunes?
UselessKeys (11:10:24 PM): i think we've all settled on definitely putting it out on vinyl.
UselessKeys (11:10:27 PM): And itunes.
RFSL (11:10:45 PM): Great. I'm all about itunes lately. And respect vinyl.
RFSL (11:11:00 PM): Did you guys record it yourselves? How did that come together?
UselessKeys (11:11:50 PM): Michael Regilio was in a band called The Green and Yellow TV and their last album "Sinister Barrier" was recorded by Sheldon Gomberg. Sheldon is the producer of our EP as well.
UselessKeys (11:12:09 PM): We recorded it at The Carriage House in Silver Lake.
RFSL (11:12:15 PM): Great. I liked The Green and Yellow TV.
RFSL (11:12:31 PM): You guys have an interesting background. You're all from good LA bands.
RFSL (11:12:52 PM): What's everyone's background? (So I don't fuck it up.)
UselessKeys (11:17:12 PM): I (Michael Bauer) am from St. Louis and moved out to Los Angeles in 2005, formed The Front and we disbanded in early 2008. I (Rory)/drums, moved here 2 years ago from Boston. I grew up playing in punk/hardcore bands blackflag type stuff and was looking to broaden my horizon. Michael Regilio is from Boston and was in The Green and Yellow TV and just played with Great Northern as their bass player for a couple tours. Guylaine is from France and used to be in various Silver Lake bands and did publicity for Brian Jonestown Massacre.
UselessKeys (11:17:29 PM): Sorry that took so long.....
RFSL (11:18:04 PM): It's hard to write a Reader's Digest version of a few years of each of your lives quickly.
RFSL (11:18:07 PM): No worries.
UselessKeys (11:18:16 PM): Totally.
RFSL (11:18:19 PM): So how did you guys end up together?
UselessKeys (11:18:54 PM): Michael Regilio and I started writing demos in 2007 just for fun.
UselessKeys (11:19:35 PM): We didn't have any aspirations for anything, my band The Front was still going and Michael Regilio was writing with other people so it was more or less just writing songs for the sake of it and for fun.
UselessKeys (11:20:35 PM): When The Front disbanded, Michael Regilio suggested bringing Rory to play drums, they met from a studio project.
UselessKeys (11:20:50 PM): We met Guylaine on craigslist.
UselessKeys (11:20:56 PM): Best find on craigslist ever.
RFSL (11:21:08 PM): I'm always amazed when that happens.
RFSL (11:21:18 PM): I think that's how The Happy Hollows met, too.
UselessKeys (11:21:40 PM): I was just telling Mel at Spaceland to put out an ad on craigslist for a drummer.
UselessKeys (11:21:44 PM): She's looking for one.
UselessKeys (11:22:03 PM): I told her for every fifty responses you get, there will be one worthwhile but it could work out, you never know.
RFSL (11:22:14 PM): It's true.
RFSL (11:22:35 PM): And sometimes, you can find furniture for free when people break up badly.
RFSL (11:23:00 PM): I once put up an ex’s desk as "Free To A Bad Home."
UselessKeys (11:23:07 PM): The products of someone else's pain...
RFSL (11:23:12 PM): I know this question sucks, but I have to ask: How would you describe the material?
UselessKeys (11:23:49 PM): A joyful expression of darkness.
RFSL (11:24:10 PM): Oh, see. You guys nailed that. Everyone usually chokes.
UselessKeys (11:24:10 PM): It's rock and roll, too.
RFSL (11:24:27 PM): What's next for you?
UselessKeys (11:24:55 PM): Releasing this EP, playing shows, writing more music, recording more music, playing better shows, etc....
UselessKeys (11:25:12 PM): Our first show was June 2008 so we like to think we are headed in the right direction.
UselessKeys (11:25:23 PM): We'd like to expand from Los Angeles.
RFSL (11:25:45 PM): Beyond LA or beyond CA?
UselessKeys (11:25:49 PM): Yes.
UselessKeys (11:26:09 PM): We'd like to go to Seattle, Portland and Olympia within the next couple months.
UselessKeys (11:26:19 PM): We've already been up to SF a few times.
UselessKeys (11:26:35 PM): We are going to make a push to go to CMJ this year too.
UselessKeys (11:26:45 PM): And we want to conquer Merced this Saturday.
RFSL (11:26:52 PM): Oh, cool. If you make it out to Boston, you've got a place to crash.
UselessKeys (11:26:56 PM): Rad.
RFSL (11:27:06 PM): Are you doing an EP release show?
UselessKeys (11:27:43 PM): Yes, inevitably. No defined plans just yet.
UselessKeys (11:28:44 PM): Where in Boston would you suggest a band like ours play?
UselessKeys (11:28:52 PM): Have you mapped out the city already?
RFSL (11:29:06 PM): Middle East, TT The Bears, and Great Scott are all pretty cool.
RFSL (11:29:23 PM): It's pretty compact. I've been getting around.
RFSL (11:29:46 PM): Lots of touring acts come through. Henry Clay were out last week. Good to see them.
UselessKeys (11:30:00 PM): Groovy.
UselessKeys (11:30:11 PM): They rock, we just went to their residency three of the four nights.
RFSL (11:30:17 PM): So, last question for you and I'll let you guys go:
RFSL (11:30:27 PM): What are you listening to these days?
UselessKeys (11:30:37 PM): We'll answer this person by person.
UselessKeys (11:31:30 PM): Michael Bauer- Pavement, The Dodos, Grizzly Bear, Abe Vigoda, Piper at The Gates of Dawn
UselessKeys (11:33:09 PM): Rory: The Pixies, Nirvana, Calypso (new punk band from nyc), Neil Young, The Bronx, Led Zep, Velvet Underground, Sinatra.
UselessKeys (11:34:53 PM): Guylaine: GBV, old French stuff, Faust, Brian Eno, The Replacements
RFSL (11:35:18 PM): I'll sneak mine in... Joe: Chad VanGaalen, The Wooden Birds, Loney Dear, HCP, Fever Ray, Deer Tick, The Low Anthem, Brian Eno, Leonard Cohen.
UselessKeys (11:36:53 PM): Michael Regilio: Clockwork Orange soundtrack, Empire Strikes Back soundtrack, Simon and Garfunkel, Built to Spill, Belle Berth, The Zombies, Piper at the Gates of Dawn, Fantastic Planet (Failure)
RFSL (11:37:17 PM): You guys made me just go buy The Dodos on itunes.
UselessKeys (11:37:51 PM): Hey Joe are you coming to the show tonight? ha ha
RFSL (11:37:58 PM): Ha, ha.
UselessKeys (11:38:27 PM): Thanks for talking to us .
RFSL (11:38:38 PM): I'll be out in a few weeks to visit friends, eat at the taco trucks, the Signal Hill EP release, and Castledoor's residency.
RFSL (11:38:44 PM): (I'm such a dork...)
(11:38:50 PM): It's been great talking with you all.
UselessKeys (11:38:54 PM): Thanks!