Our favourite married, wonderfully musical couple, Tennis, have recently released their new album Yours Conditionally, if you haven’t already listened then you’re in for a treat as it’s a touching, melodic art piece that will wash euphoria over your ears. We had the pleasure of catching up with Alaina…
Yours Conditionally is great, but is there a song which you are most proud of on the new album, if so, why?
‘Baby Don’t Believe’ is the last song we wrote for the record. Sonically it’s our proudest moment. Since we play different instruments, Patrick and I approach writing differently. It isn’t always easy to find common ground without compromise. This song meets both of our needs without sacrificing a single thing.
What would you say is the overall theme of the album?
Lyrically, Yours Conditionally is a consideration of my relation to the world as a woman, as an artist whose work is transformed by another’s experience and the conflicting needs that arise from these intersections. It is also a joint effort to recast Tennis’ musical identity in our own terms. Patrick and I worked hard to distance ourselves from the expectations and obligations that had built up in the past several years. With this record, we were able to regain control over our creative lives.
You have quite a vintage aesthetic and sound, but are there any current artists you’re really into at the moment?
Absolutely. We listen to music from all genres and all eras. I definitely don’t privilege music from the past over contemporary music. That said, when we’re writing, we try hard not to channel or allow ourselves to be too heavily influenced by our peers because we don’t want to be too trend oriented. We don’t see ourselves as pioneering a new genre anytime soon. We want to be timeless, which is a lofty enough goal. Lately, we’ve been listening to a lot of Kevin Morby, Whitney, Weyes Blood, Angel Olsen, and Mild High Club, just to name a few.
What is it like being in a band, touring and creating music with the person you’re married to?
Patrick and I have structured our lives in a way that allows us to be together all the time because that’s what works for us. More than space, we need shared goals. We also have a deep respect for each other’s autonomy. We resist characterizing ourselves as a unit, or a couple, because it hides that fact that there are two separate people involved, with two irreducible freedoms. We also have a pragmatic view of marriage and partnership. We know it’s hard. We know the odds are against us. I’m not here to glamorize married writing teams. But so far, it’s working for us.
How do you feel like your music has developed since the very beginning?
We’re much better at it now.
You wrote much of the album at sea again, what is the experience like and how did it differ this time around?
This experience was vastly different than the conditions that brought about Cape Dory. Firstly, we know how to sail now. Our passage from San Diego to the Sea of Cortez was much more extensive and difficult than the coastal sailing we did seven years ago. Our writing has evolved as well. I had no desire to document the sailing itself, but to use it as a backdrop to my work.
Do you listen to any music when you’re sailing, or is it purely a time for creating your own?
We listen to music whenever possible, usually when we’re anchored, or at night during watches. We divide our shifts into albums. 4 records beginning to end usually equals one shift. It beats staring at a clock.
‘Ladies Don’t Play Guitar’ addresses the topic of sexism in music, do you feel hopeful for changes in this area?
I feel very encouraged by the way feminism has found its way into the mainstream conversation. Prominent individuals who used to dismiss feminism now proudly identify as feminist. I feel less encouraged by Donald Trump’s rise to power.