Tapes 'n Tapes Press Pause

Indie buzz band on the three steps for breaking big

Along with like-minded contemporaries Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, Minnesota's Tapes 'n Tapes has come to epitomize the power of digital media in the new millennium. Thanks to the band's instantly memorable and magnetic blend of Pixies post-punk and Slanted and Enchanted-era Pavement, along with a handful of choice reviews, the quartet independently boxed and shipped more than 10,000 copies of their debut, The Loon, which was recorded for about $70 with a handful of mics, before inking a deal with XL Recordings, home to Jack White's Stripes and Raconteurs and Radiohead's Thom Yorke.

Instead of collapsing in response to their own overwhelming hype, the group, in true punk fashion, spoofed the entire situation with Human Giant's Aziz Ansari, Paul Scheer and Rob Huebel.

"It got ridiculous," founding guitarist and vocalist Josh Grier says. "People thought that there was some kind of force behind us making [things] go well for us. In reality, we just put a record out and sent out a few MP3s to people. After that, it took on a life of its own." Here, Grier, also known as Tapes 1, responds to the indie marketing guru Clell Tickle's "Three Steps to Breaking a Band."

STEP ONE: GET THE BLOGGERS ON BOARD

Are there any blogs that you regularly read?

There are definitely some sites I check out regularly. The main three I'm into are Brooklyn Vegan, Gorilla Vs. Bear and Stereogum. They seem to have a pretty good idea of what's going on.

STEP TWO: GET THE MUSIC TO THE PEOPLE

How did Tapes 'n Tapes originally hook up with MLB 2K7 for the current tour?

Basically, they first asked us if we wanted "Insistor" to be on the soundtrack for the game. Since we're all baseball fans and all but one of us is a pretty big videogame fan as well, we said sweet. On top of that, the soundtrack is killer: Iggy and the Stooges, Nirvana, the Thermals, all these awesome bands. A month later they came back and said they'd like to sponsor a tour. So there's going to be gaming consoles set up at the venues, and we'll be challenging fans to a home run derby contest. It should be pretty cool.

Who's your team?

That's a tough one. Based on geography I have to go with the Twins; I follow them most closely. I used to be an Oriole fan growing up, for no apparent reason, but I'm definitely a Twins fan.

Have you created yourself as a character on the game already?

I didn't know I could do that. I haven't been able to play it very much because none of us have the console. It's out on Xbox 360 and Playstation 3. I only have a Playstation 2. I actually need to start practicing. We're not going to get schooled on the game while we're on tour.

STEP THREE: GET A GOOD REVIEW ON PITCHFORK

How concerned is the band with writing a follow-up toThe Loon that matches up to the hype the first album created?

It's definitely a concern, but the next album is coming along pretty well. We've actually been demoing the last month or so off and on. We are all really excited about playing the new stuff, none of which has been recorded or even named at this point. It'll be good though to mix things up a little bit.

 
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