Teen Daze performed in San Francisco on the 6th at the Brick and Mortar Music Hall. Now Teen Daze is one of my favorite Dream Pop artists and so naturally I decided to bring only someone who liked Dream Pop to photograph. Ajay (Our photographer) is a Dream Pop producer himself, and so we were well prepared to see Teen Daze together. It was a long day and I had only a few minutes to grab dinner. Before I knew it, I was sprinting across campus to grab a photographer near the BART metro station splitting back open a scab I’d received rollerskating high off my tits near the Greek Theatre the night before. Upon a quick sprint, Ajay is standing there with a freshly opened 40 in his hand, foam still billowing out onto the back of his palm. We sprint to the BART and talk about music while downing the 40.
We got on the wrong BART.
It was only upon the realization that we had gone the wrong way at the worst possible time that we decided to get baked. The next BART was scheduled to arrive in ten minutes to drop us off at our interview with Teen Daze just before the show.
With a quick flick of the wrist Ajay packs bowl after bowl until the train arrives. We hop in with a rush of blood and excitement to see one of our favorite artists. For us, finding others who like Chillwave, or Dream Pop was more than just the genre itself, but the understanding that within that realm of music we share there existed an understanding that rested below superficial formalities.
A quick sprint to the venue and we were there. I walk in confidently and am stopped by a man at the door.
"Do you have a ticket?"
"No I came to pick up a couple press passes."
"We don’t give out press passes here."
"Well Teen Daze’s PR told us we were on a list."
"What’s your name?"
"Okay, go right on in."
HAH! To think that the name I arbitrarily used in the creation of our email account when we first launched the site was now the name that was mistakenly placed was so brilliant! I’m sure Walt Whitman never thought his name would be used to obtain a press pass.
We step in and meet with him outside. The informality of such a meeting was astounding, as I was so used to interviewing artists alongside their press managers in closed spaces. Yet, here we were, outside a venue in the not-so-nice yellow district of San Francisco.
At first I was a little nervous. Did he know I was high? Would I ask the right questions or just come off as a bozo? I wanted to dig into his mind and bring into life the philosophy behind the music he made, so I asked about the difference between albums.
With the transformation from his last album to glacier, it became what he called ”sort of a natural extension.” He wanted to emphasize less four on the floor dance beats. “Inner mansions wasn’t that fancy but I still thought there were several moments where I wanted to hit that vibe.” When he did solo shows, the dance party was the emphasis. It was built over the summer, and shows were being played the entire time. With that, an emphasis was a little more on engaging the audience in the music experience while performing solo.
Glacier was during the downtime in the winter. A little quieter, it was built out of the solitude that is winter with his loved ones, and so it reflected that.
Yet in this wintertime, downtime album, more out of a reflection in solitude he had the idea of getting a band in mind.
Like a total flip.
"It’s maybe an issue of being a self-conscious solo performer. A lot of 2010 artists like Washed Out and Toro y Moi didn’t like performing by themselves anymore, and really wanted to get a band involved."
It was strange to be up there by himself and be playing mellow music. If he’s performing in this sort of medium it needs to be more lively.
Then the focus gets removed from his performing and moves it into the audience.
Everyone can share a more engaging experience.
I asked him what his favorite track on the album was.
His favorite song from the album changes based on what he’s doing or feeling.
Some live songs are better than on the record, some songs are better produced than live.
Walk - the last track is the one he keeps coming back to.
One of the downfalls of being a bedroom producer is that you can literally stack layers on a song and muddle up the sound and then you never think it’s done and you end up overdoing it.
He really had to learn to practice restraint, and that song is the most restraint he’s ever done. Every time he listens to it, he is stoked that he was able to practice restraint on the song.
It shows how he has grown as a producer by being able to create the same sounds in a more minimal fashion. He’s really glad that it can end on that note, that it’s this quiet, peaceful fall asleep to song.
You’d think his next album would focus on more restraint, but Teen Daze plans to do a full-blown, grandiose, studio album with strings and to make a melancholy in the infinite sadness, orchestral, shoe gaze psychedelic record.
Upon finishing the interview, he headed back inside to prepare while another solo Glo-Fi performer was starting his set.
Ajay and I headed outside to smoke several more bowls and laugh at how humble and gracious Teen Daze was. From within the bowels of the venue ethereal arms reach out and pull us into the building.
From the front row we took on the full force of the performance with his band. Upon ending with my personal Glacier favorite, “Ice on the Windowsill,” he shook our hands and hoped to see us again in the future.
It was the feeling of seeing this man perform and live out a dream he never thought possible that really got to us. In this blue room we experienced the wave of spirit coming from the speakers only to rest within the vibrations of our moving bodies, spilling feeling into the crossfaded corners of my temples.
Most of all, it was inspiration. It was seeing this artist first talk about his stories of graduating from college and not believing in himself to then somehow making San Francisco a couple years ago the location of the first out of country performance he’s ever done.
It was seeing him playing the music he loved, made for the people he loved, and sharing that experience, that part of himself with those who loved him back for making it.
It was realizing that intimate conversation with those we look up to makes all the difference in following our dreams.