Boy-girl duo Tennis spent eight months sailing down America’s eastern seaboard before deciding to write an album about their experiences. What happened next was completely unexpected – the sweetly nostalgic pop songs were picked up by the blogging community, before the record labels got in on the act. We caught up with Patrick Riley (guitar) to talk messing about on boats and beautiful music…
Why did you decide to go sailing?
It was kind of a childhood dream. I grew up in a landlocked state, so we didn’t get to see the ocean much, but the few times we went, my dad took us out and we chartered a sailboat.
I started saving, and after graduation Alaina [Moore, vocals] helped me for two years, and we were able to save up enough money to buy a small sailboat.
What was your favourite moment of the trip?
We sailed to the Abacoes, and anchored through a huge gale with 75mph winds. We almost lost the boat on a coral reef. Finally we got through and sailed into this cay and had the most beautiful day out on the beach, we anchored and had this huge dinner with our friends we made in the Bahamas. You experience extreme lows and highs when sailing.
Did you find that experiences like that brought you and Alaina closer together?
Yeah. We weren’t married before we left on our trip, but we were afterwards.
What was your favourite beach in the whole trip?
There’s this little tiny island in the Abacoes that’s called Grand Cay, and on the northern end there’s a beach. That was the most beautiful one we went to.
The sand extended out about 100 feet into the Atlantic, and it was two feet deep the whole way.
So you ended up back in Denver without any money writing your songs. What happened?
We came back and we recorded the first few songs pretty quickly. We put them on Myspace for our parents, and then drunkenly told one of our friends. He went and told another friend, who told another friend, until this French blog posted our song.
Pitchfork then posted it, and we had loads of small labels ask if they could put out a 7” of our song, so we were like, ‘Sure!”
Your sound is very nostalgic. Was that a conscious decision?
It was fairly organic. Sailing’s something that’s a really raw and natural, so we tried to use raw sounds, so it’s gonna come out sounding throwback-sounding, fifties- and sixties-inspired.
And the future?
We’re touring a lot, we’re gonna release an EP over the summer, and then we’re going sailing again. I think we’re gonna head for the Grenadines.
To see the full article on Beach Tomato, click here.