California Wives on Vagrant Records and the Musée d'Orsay

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Chicago's California Wives, featured most recently in a commercial for Sharpie, will grace Dallas on Saturday, when they open for Stars. Jayson Kramer took some time out to share with us about being on Vagrant Records, museums and touring with Stars.

Since you're on Vagrant Records, I'm curious as to how you heard about them? I still remember them when they were putting out Face to Face 7-inches and compilations, but a lot has changed since then. The first time I heard of Vagrant Records was probably in connection with Saves the Day and The Get Up Kids. I remember being really into The Get Up Kids when I was in high school. It's kind of strange to think that our band is working with the very same label that I was looking up to as a student in high school. More recently, I've known about Vagrant's connection with bands like School of Seven Bells and The Hold Steady. We're all really big fans of those bands, so to be a part of that group is very exciting for us.

The album is called Art History, so I'd like to ask, what's the best museum you've ever been to? I was fortunate enough to study abroad in Madrid for a few months. During that time, I would visit the Prado whenever I had the chance. I am big fan of the collection at that museum. As far as museum design or layout goes, the Musée d'Orsay has to be one of my favorites. As you may already know, the building itself was a former railway station. The whole building is beautiful to look at and walk through. I hope I can revisit that spot in the near future.

Touring with Stars must be an honor. How did you get into them? Touring with Stars is definitely a huge honor for us. Getting the opportunity to play shows with a band that exemplifies professionalism like Stars has been educational to say the least. My Stars experience probably started when I was in college. A few of my friends had Set Yourself on Fire on steady rotation and were huge fans. In college, there's always so much music floating around and Stars was one of those bands that I would hear a lot about all the time. My connection with that band probably started right around that time. Their new record, The North, is really incredible as well, so getting to hear those new songs every night is really cool.

So far, what's the worst onstage moment that happened to you or the band? In Milwaukee, someone turned down our amps after soundcheck without letting us know. So when we played the first song of our set, which I think was "Purple," everything sounded terribly thin and pretty underwhelming. As a band just trying to get our name out there, you're doing everything you can to make sure your sound comes across the right way. It was a pretty embarrassing experience and we learned a few things that night. We always double check our amps now before we start.

Name one thing that you like and one thing you dislike about Chicago. Well, I'd have to say that the food options in Chicago are pretty outstanding. There's great options for almost any cuisine and many of the well-known restaurants don't even require reservations. I'm terrible at making reservations or planning ahead for food, so that works out nicely for me. The snow would definitely have to be the worst part about living in Chicago. Things can get pretty ugly here for a few months out of the year. I could do without those long walks home in 2-3 feet of snow.

Where do you see the band in five years? That's a difficult question because who knows where the music industry will be at that time. We're definitely just focusing on touring behind this album and the next album we're going to make, so imagining what happens to the band after both of those experiences is tough. I think we all would love to be in a situation where we could keep making music we feel passionate about while still having the opportunity to share it with our fans. The whole process doesn't really have to get much more complicated than that. If people keep telling us they love our music, then we'll keep putting our hearts into it.

California Wives play with Stars and Diamond Rings on Saturday, October 13, at the Granada Theater.

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