The Soft White Sixties will be celebrating a bit of a homecoming when they appear at The Chapel in San Francisco this Saturday night. The band, who recently relocated to LA, still very much considers the Bay Area their home and are looking forward to introducing their new songs to hometown friends, family, and fans. It’s always a guaranteed great night out with TSWS, and this time they take to the stage as part of Noise Pop 2016, now in it’s 24th year. Octavio Genera (lead vocals) and Aaron Eisenberg (guitar, keyboards, vocals) shared their thoughts on the upcoming Chapel date for Noise Pop, the band’s new songs, and their very recent move to Los Angeles.
Wendy Oakes: The Soft White Sixties have played Noise Pop before; is this your third Noise Pop?
Aaron Eisenberg: I think this is our third official time but we’ve done stuff with Noise Pop almost every year, whether it was the festival or not. This is the third official on the poster Noise Pop show.
WO: So you’re obviously fans of the festival.
AE: Definitely. It has so much history. I know when I first moved to San Francisco it was definitely one of the festivals that you hear about, have as a pretty major goal. It’s always fun to be part of it.
WO: Speaking of moving to San Francisco, you’ve just moved from San Francisco to LA. The Soft White Sixties have been part of the San Francisco music scene, and beyond of course, but part of this community since the band started. How has it been for you making the transition?
Octavio Genera: We had talked about it a few months prior. For us it’s been really good because it’s [shaken] us up a little bit and reenergized the band and refocused everybody ’cause it just makes everybody get a little uncomfortable. By being in the same city, no matter what city, you can kinda develop your own little bubble. That bubble doesn’t transfer to other cities as easily. For us to be in LA, which is a bigger thing, we stepped out of it. Being from San Francisco, that is what we are; we will always be a San Francisco band and that’s it. Being down here is more a step of us making ourselves step out more, get more focused, and it makes you realize we have to work harder all over again.
WO: Does it also mean a little bit of reinvention? It can be liberating in that sense.
OG: I think so. Definitely.
AE: Yeah. Moving in general lets you do that and enables you more to do that.
WO: You were working with Matt Linesch at United Recording in LA. Are you currently in the process of recording?
AE: We did four singles with Matt, so we actually finished a batch of songs with him that’ll be starting to trickle their way out over the next month. Right now we’re probably looking at having a single premiere in the next few weeks. We are still recording and demoing things but the United session was a batch of four songs.
OG: It’s all leading towards a full-length album but instead of going in and having them all done ahead of time we tried to work more in batches. We treat every song as a stand alone thing.
WO: That’s what a lot of artists are doing. We’re somewhat lamenting the sometimes lost art form of the album yes, but having these other options to work with is good too – being able to share things without having to wait through the whole process of creating an album is good too.
AE: Yeah. It was a lot of fun writing with the single mindset too. We looked at each song on their own and they definitely have come out to be four very stand alone kind of songs. They all go together but each one is it’s own piece. That was liberating in a way too.
WO: Will you be doing videos for each one of them?
WO: Aaron, you work on the videos that the band puts out, right, because you also work in film?
AE: Yeah, definitely. I went to school for film and work outside of the band in film production. I try to get involved and help where I can.
WO: Do you have plans to tour on your new songs soon, maybe this summer?
OG: Yeah. We want to start touring again. The thing that we ran into in the past is we could’ve kept on touring on the album we had in the past but it kind of takes you saying, “OK, we need to stop and step back and write again.” It’s very easy to keep on going with the songs too but it can be kind of be detrimental if you don’t step back and regroup and write new material. You have to make time for that.
WO: Plus the songs that you’d written for Get Right, your last LP, were the result of being together as a band for a few years by the time you released it.
OG: I would say that’s that one of the major [differences with] these songs that we have. It was definitely more of a writing approach as opposed to, “Let’s make the song ready to play tomorrow.” In the past we had written our song, worked on it, and we’d start touring and start playing it immediately. This, we wrote, worked on it, and we actually would start recording and have it done before we had shows where we’re playing some of the songs. It was more of a writing process as opposed to just making a recording of what we do live.
WO: And when you do play live you’ll have Rob Fidel joining you on those shows.
AE: Yeah, Rob’s playing guitar and keys. We’ll have a second keyboard or a second guitar on a lot of stuff, which’ll be nice. We kinda had that going on on the first record too. It’ll just be nice, certain parts of the arrangements can be present now. A lot of the newer stuff has a lot of background vocals and Rob will be singing backups with everyone too. Everyone’s pretty much singing in the band now live, there [are] a lot more vocal parts on the new music. That’s one thing that Matt Linesch brought to the table, was encouraging more interplay between backups and lead vocals. It’s cool. You get a choral kind of feeling on a lot of the stuff.
WO: It’ll be good to hear the new songs at Noise Pop.
OG: Noise Pop [comes] at cool landmark, bookmarks for us as a band. With this one it’ll be nice because we have new songs that a lot of fans in the area haven’t heard at all.
AE: It’s true. Each time we’ve played Noise Pop it’s a milestone with something cool.
OG: Yeah. This one, especially with us being out of town now, it’s even more special for us because we all have our families and friends up [there]. It’s even more of a reunion feeling for us, being able to come back, playing songs that we’ve been working on. It’s definitely a sharing experience like, “Look! Here’s what we’ve been up to.”
AE: Last time we did Noise Pop it was when our album came out. And the first time we played Noise Pop was opening, first of four, at The Independent. That was kind of a milestone for us too just ’cause it was the first time we had played that venue. That was definitely a considerable step up venue-wise from some of the other size rooms we’d been playing. They’ve all been pretty memorable shows.
WO: I remember that Noise Pop night; that was a great lineup. You opened for The Stone Foxes.
AE: That was actually my 23rd birthday.
WO: So that means you have a birthday coming up. What day?
AE: [The] 24th.
OG: He’s gonna celebrate down here but a lot of his friends and family will be able to see him and celebrate with him at our show at Noise Pop. That’s how we’re advertising it. (laughter)
AE: As my birthday. (laughter)
WO: So bring cake or something?
WO: So bring cake. And presents.
TSWS play The Chapel this Saturday, February 27th. Also appearing on the night are Taxes, B. Hamilton, and Growwler. Show is at 8.