Local Artist Spotlight: The Courtneys

Interviews, Local Artist Spotlight, Local Music
Dusty Henry
photo by Brady Harvey

Every week, KEXP features a new local artist with an interview and suggested tracks for where to start. This week, we’re featuring Vancouver BC indie rock group The Courtneys, who play Concerts at the Mural this Friday, August 18, with Thunderpussy and Dude York.

Listening to The Courtneys feels like blaring out monster guitar chords while laying on the couch, binge watching your favorite teen drama. The Vancouver trio has a knack for churning out enthusiastic power-pop licks, powered by the bond of friendship shared between the members. Earlier this year the band released their second LP, appropriately titled The Courtneys II, which does what any good sequel should: heightens the drama and furthers the legacy of the original. We caught up with Courtney Loove (the only member actually named Courtney) to talk about the friendship that binds the band, ramen, celebrities, and figuring out what makes a "perfect record."

So much of the energy of The Courtneys comes from your friendship and comradery as a band. So, how did you all become friends?

Jen and Sydney met in their hometown of Calgary and were roommates before they became bandmates. They moved to Vancouver and that's when I met them. I saw Jen and Sydney's band Puberty play, and also saw Jen drumming for Makeout Videotape, and knew we should be friends.

The new LP, The Courtneys II, feels even bigger and bolder than your self-titled debut. How did you record this record differently from your first album? 

Cool! Thanks! It was recorded pretty much exactly the same way. It was mixed by someone else though, someone who had seen us play live about 40 times and really understood the sound we were going for. We played a lot of shows between the recording of our first and second albums so we probably just sort of fine-tuned the tones of our respective instruments by that point too. Recording for us is just trying to capture our live sound as loyally as possible.

I was reading that while you were working on The Courtneys II, you all spent a lot of time debating what makes a “perfect record.” What conclusions did you come to in your discussions? What elements from those conversations did you most want to pursue with your record? 

We do spend a lot of time in the van together listening to music and admiring great songs and great records. Some of my favourite moments of my favourite songs are when there are imperfections, so doing full untouched takes of the songs during recording, and resisting the urge to punch in fixes to make things 100% perfect is important to our sound. Music for me is about emotion so being as genuine and human as possible in a performance is what I'm aiming for. Our record is the version of our performance that the most people are going to hear so it's especially important to capture that sincerity. It's hard though.

You all sound like you’re diehard fans of Flying Nun records and now you’re on the label! How did you first hear about the label? What about Flying Nun and its bands inspired you most? 

We've all been inspired by Flying Nun bands for so long and now it's a trip to be on the label! It's hard to put into words but The Clean and The Chills and Look Blue Go Purple, they just have a certain atmosphere, like a casual freeness to their sound that I admire.

Whenever I read anything about you guys, it seems inevitable that something comes up about ramen and celebrities, so let’s knock them both out at the same time. If you could have ramen with one celebrity, who would it be and what type of ramen would it be? 

Courtney: Cheese ramen with Alanis Morissette.

Jen: Cheese ramen with Harrison Ford

Sydney: Kara miso ramen with Sheryl Crow

For those who’ve never seen you perform before, what can they expect from your Concerts at the Mural set? 

They can expect 8-10 cruisin' rock songs! And our drummer is the singer which is dope.




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