The story behind Tennis is very charming. The Denver-based band, made up of husband and wife duo Patrick Riley and Alaina Moore, was born out of wanderlust. Sailing down the Atlantic coast, the pair embarked on their first attempt at making music together and created their premier album, “Cape Dory”.
Seven years later and now a “proper band”, they have come full circle: to create their fourth album, “Yours Conditionally” they sailed around the Pacific. Swooning love songs framed by dreamy melodies echo their romantic story but it’s evident that Tennis goes deeper this time around. Working out the complexities that define love, identity, and feminism, the latest album sees the band at their best yet, pairing their back-to-basics approach with a worldly confidence.
Twin catches up with Alaina to find out how it’s done.
Tell us more about the album title, “Yours Conditionally”.
It was about boundaries with regards to my relationship with the world. It included my marriage, my friendships. Over the years, I feel like I was unintentionally conforming to certain things and expectations and ideals of like how a woman should be, whether it’s a writer and a performer or a wife. I thought of how unromantic it would be if I signed a letter to Patrick, “Yours Conditionally”. And we were laughing about it but then he was kind of like, no, but that means so much.
So was it about a more mature and sensible love?
Exactly. I’m a little cynical towards romance and forever and all those things and yet here I am in this long term, straight, monogamous marriage. I try to challenge myself to do better. If I’m going to write a love song, I try to do something different. I want to write a love song that’s sincere and smart and not identity erasing or self-effacing, which love songs tend to be.
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How conditional do you think the record turned out to be?
I’ve actually made a conscious decision with this record to be a lot more open, taking more emotional risks, because I noticed that whenever I did do that with the song, I feel like people responded more, even if they didn’t exactly know what I was referring to within my own life. It’s like a symbiotic relationship. So I set that goal for myself, to do more work and be a little less guarded.
In terms of your process, were you looking to get back to the simplicity of the beginning?
That’s exactly what we were looking for. And I don’t think it had to be the sailing trip so much as it was eliminating the ways in which we were trying to prop up the expectations of the industry. We gave ourselves permission to undo everything we’d ever done for the sake of making whatever we wanted with the same sincerity and goal of just pleasing ourselves, as we had with the first record.
What was that like?
It just felt so good, I can’t explain it. It brought back the joy of writing, the freedom of the first record but with some measure of skill and ability of having made several albums.
Listening back to “Yours Conditionally”, how do you think your music has changed?
I definitely hear maturity. When I listen back to our previous records I hear all the ways in which we were experimenting and growing and trying new things. I hear that sort of transformation throughout all our records and this record is really a pleasure to sing because I was able to write myself in mind instead of pretending I was somebody else.
What are you and Patrick looking forward to as Tennis?
I am definitely looking forward to Coachella. That’s going to be a very surreal experience, especially having grown up going to the festival. I was nineteen when I went to see Radiohead, and now we are going to be playing on the same day as Radiohead!
That’s incredible, congratulations!
Isn’t it? It’s almost like a life achievement that I didn’t even know I would want. If someone asked me, make a list of life goals, I couldn’t have even thought of this one, so I am very pleased (laughs).
A three-part series ‘Chuck Forever’ explores the core cultural scenes that have made Chuck Taylors so iconic. In the latest instalment we are transported to LA, where Long Beach recording artist and style icon Vince Staples guides viewers through Chuck Taylor’s influence on street style and hip hop music in urban Los Angeles.
The video, directed by award-winning filmmaker Karim Huu Do, taps into Los Angeles’ youth culture; it shows how music and fashion combine to build enduring subcultures. During the film, viewers are also introduced to Los Angeles Lakers star Jordan Clarkson, and Born and Raised founder Spanto, who each explain their relationship with Chucks, and talk us through the way they choose to dress.
Julien Cahn, the Chief Marketing Officer at Converse, explains how, “Los Angeles has played an important role in revolutionising youth culture far beyond the west coast. Chuck Taylor has been part of all of that. He’s a symbol for underdogs, rebels and individualists all around the world.”
The newly launched series focuses on the daring, confident spirit of youth culture and celebrates the impact of Chucks on diverse cultural scenes all over the world. In the first instalment, Stranger Things star Mille Bobbie Brown introduced us to the use of Chucks in film, asking what kinds of characters wear them, and why?
The Julia Stoschek Collection in Berlin is a private collection of contemporary international art. With the gallery’s focus on time-based media, the ‘Jaguars and Electric Eels’ exhibition is perfectly in keeping with its ethos. Made up of 39 artworks by 30 contributing artists, including installation artist Isaac Julien and sculptor Guan Xiao, ‘Jaguars and Electric Eels’ includes video installations and even fragrance-based art. The works are rooted in our understanding of evolution, investigating an alternative interpretation of anthropology and zoology.
Taking its inspiration from 18th Century explorer Alexander van Hombolt, who was the first researcher to point out how the forces of nature, both animate and inanimate, work together, the name of the exhibition is a reference to Hombolt’s chronicles of the New World. The chronicles were published in 1853, in a special edition entitled ‘Jaguars and Electric Eels’. The collection of works in the exhibition describe a reality that no longer distinguishes between the natural world and artificiality, but sees them as a whole and as equals.
‘Jaguars and Electric Eels’ explores some notable themes, including looking at the existence of indigenous people today, hybrids and synthetic forms of life, migration, and the different influences that impact our constantly changing perceptions of reality.
The exhibition will run until late November The Julia Stoschek Collection in Berlin.
On Wednesday 20 August, a steady stream of suits, hipsters and minor celebrities (Samwell Tarly from Game of Thrones – yes, really) flooded into Hoxton Square Bar & Kitchen’s performance area. In the darkened room, lit with blues and pinks and reds, an audience was assembling to see a hotly-tipped, up-and-coming musician.
The lady in question was Blackburn native Charlotte O’Connor, aka Charlotte OC. Despite being tapped as the sound of 2014, Charlotte’s path to stardom has had a rather slow beginning. Although she had a record deal in her teens, she was dropped and the album never saw the light of day. In the ensuing years she worked in her mum’s hairdressing salon.
But talent will out, and now this slight, leather-clad figure, complete with perfect, blunt-cut fringe, captivated the audience from the get-go. Her rich, soulful voice filled the room, accompanied by two keyboard players.
The stand-out track is her latest EP, Strange. An ethereal, haunting song with distinctly dark undertones, its electro feel was bewitching in the performance space. The tempo changed for a ballad, and then poppy Hangover’s toe-tappingly good beat swept the audience to the finale. During Colour My Heart, Charlotte’s voice developed a raw and emotional quality that contrasted with her previously upbeat songs.
Charlotte OC is clearly going somewhere. The only complaint was that the set was all too brief. Strange releases on 22 September.
Artist Taryn Simon’s work is a fascinating blend of photojournalism and art photography. Often taking the form of a visual inventory, she’s famed for her meticulous research and crisp photographic execution.
Among her projects, the 2007 book, An American Index of the Hidden and Unfamiliar delved into America’s secret places such as a nuclear waste storage facility in Washington State to a cave where a sleeping black bear and its cubs are monitored by biologists studying hibernation,
Her new show at the Tate Modern is no less obscure, or engrossing. A Living Man Declared Dead and Other Chapters is a complex genealogy of family histories. Four years of research that took just two to photograph, the installation traces a series of 18 family bloodlines, each with its own individual story.
The opening chapter centres on a living Indian man who gives the project its title, having been declared dead in official records. Other real life characters include an Iraqi man who was apparently employed as Saddam Hussein’s son’s body double and a member of the Druze religious sect in Lebanon who believes in reincarnation and re-enacts remembered scenes from previous lives. It’s a magnum opus that’s not to be missed.
A Living Man Declared Dead and Other Chapters is at Tate Modern, London, 25 May to 6 September. tarynsimon.com
Caption: Excerpt from Chapter IV, A Living Man Declared Dead and Other Chapters a. Gold-plated Iraqi Al-Kadissiya sniper rifle seized by members of the American Defense Intelligence Agency during a search of Uday Huessein’s palace in Baghdad. The inscription on the gun transalted from Arabic reads: “A gift from the president of the republic, Mr. Saddam Hussein.” Saddam Hussein produced gold-plated weapons for use on ceremonial occasions and as gifts. Defense Intelligence analysis Center, Bolling Air Force Base, Washington, D.C. b. Latif Yahia impersonating Uday Hussein. Undisclosed location, Ireland.
Caption: Excerpt from Chapter VI, A Living Man Declared Dead and Other Chapters 51. No. 326, 27 May 2009. Inglewood, Queensland, Australia.
52. No. 327, 27 May 2009. Inglewood, Queensland, Australia.