Leading up until the Upstream Music Fest + Summit, a Northwest regionally focused festival with over 300 acts, KEXP will be featuring a new local artist from the lineup with an interview and suggested tracks for where to start. Today’s post features Seattle power-pop group Bread & Butter, performing Thursday, May 11 on the Killroom Records stage at 10 PM.
There's a physical sensation that comes with listening to Bread & Butter. It's the same feeling that comes with cracking open a can of beer or a late night of debauchery with your best friends. Like their power-pop idols, B&B exude "good times" with every hook and infectiously melody they churn out. Earlier this year they released their self-titled LP on Kill Room Records (co-founded by KEXP's Troy Nelson), giving fans a dose of their rowdy anthems whenever they want. We caught up with the band to dig into their origins, channeling positive vibes in their songs, as well as some thoughts on both bread and butter.Your self-titled debut just came out on Killroom Records . How did you get connected with the label?
We've all known Troy for a long time. Lars used to work with him at Easy Street back in the day. We've all been playing in bands for a while and Troy really, really knows local music so we all knew each other. Years ago - like more than five years ago - I gave him a CD-R for a band I was in. The band went nowhere. But Troy remembers that CD-R and even the title of the songs! He's a legit music lover. Anyway, we're friends with Acapulco Lips and when we heard that this new label Killroom signed them, Shane basically cornered Troy at a show and dared him to put out a Bread & Butter album.That particular move didn't seal the deal, but it did start the conversation.
Later on, we met Ben (who is a pretty impressive dude) and gave them our demo. To hear them tell it, they listened to the demo and it basically bummed them out. They were still up to their ears with the Acapulco Lips release and weren't looking for more work. But they heard those songs and were like, "Dammit, we gotta do this. No choice." So it wasn't really a joyful decision. We basically boxed them in with our rad songs.
Your bio emphasizes your commitment to writing songs full of “good fun and bad fun.” What made you want to put such an optimistic take in your music? Do you think we’ll ever get a downer B&B record?
That sound is just the natural result of our chemistry. There wasn't a conscious choice to go all sunshine and skateboards, these are the songs that come out when the four of us are together. And just listen to Shane's voice - it's the sonic equivalent of a four-beer-buzz while you're playing hooky.
If we ever put out a downer record, it will mean we've officially over-thought our band and someone should send the medics to pull our heads out of our asses.
Power pop has such a rich history in rock and roll. What were some of the artist that first got you into the genre and made you want to pursue it yourselves?
Just like anyone, we love Cheap Trick, the Cars, the Pretenders, and Nick Lowe. Tom Petty. What is "power pop" but really tight songs played with some oomph? It's got the whole tough'n'tender vibe going for it. What's not to like?
When the four of us got together, Shane started hipping us to deeper acts like Dwight Twilley, Crabby Appleton, Paul Collins' Beat, the Boys, Shoes, and the local band the Heats. Shane is the biggest reason we lean that direction. He's the power pop professor. If you put an audio jack direct into his mind, you'd just hear eight badass nuggets going at once. It'd drive a normal person crazy but it seems to work for him.
It’s rare to hear about your band and also NOT hear about “cracking open a beer”. When you’re writing music, are you keeping that chilled-beer idea in mind? What beer pairs best with Bread & Butter?
When we're writing, we don't keep chilled beer in mind so much as we keep it in the room.
If you really want the true Bread & Butter experience, I guess you'd have to drink Rainier. It's simple, plentiful, and economical. And a solid Rainier buzz has been the instigator of a lot of great Seattle rock music going back a long way.
What’s your favorite kind of bread? Also, totally unrelated, but what’s your favorite type of butter?
Banana bread. Peanut butter. That's a pro-tip for all our stoner pals out there.
Your live sets always make for a rowdy, uplifting time. Do you have anything special planned for your Upstream Fest set to up the “good times” ante even more?
That's hilarious. Us planning something. That's golden.
We all work our butts off at day jobs. I mean, Ryan digs ditches! That uplift you see at the shows is our escape. We're just looking to blow off some steam.
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