I get fascinated by sort of the inside on all that stuff – just, whose idea was it that somebody could create some random thing you hear on the radio.
It’s amazing what works. It took the Ting Tings a year and a half or something to get Top 40. You have to build a story, you have to show your résumé to them and they decide whether or not you’re going to be Top 40. It’s the weirdest thing in the world. But it’s kind of romantic to me. I wanted so badly to just be an indie artist, comfortable in my own nook, but I won’t be growing as a person if I’m just comfortable. I like being uncomfortable, I like the idea of being put out of my comfort zone in the world of pop and being invited to stupid parties. That’s so dumb. To me, that builds character because that’s so not where I want to be, but I’m learning. I guess that’s the “media studies” person within, but I love it, it’s so interesting. I love pop culture, I love pop music so much. So finally I’m kind of accessing it and I don’t even care if I become Top 40, there’s the possibility that I may and it’s totally amazing. It’s funny, it’s just funny. I’m benefitting from that right now and it’s really interesting. But a lot of bad comes with that, too. God, I have so many theories on the hype bands because being one – it sucks, but I know so much about it now.
Does it make you cynical?
Absolutely. That’s why I love pop music so much. The whole Indie Break thing is so ridiculously stupid. It’s not about the music being good, it’s about having a catchy single and being cool-looking and cool and people want cool. I’m not even really that cool, really, even fucking Pitchfork said, "they’re not cool." They actually said we’re not cool.
Pitchfork says it, it must be true.
I’m now more interested in the world of pop because it’s not so self-conscious in that way.
Once you’re inside you start to get a sense of the pettiness of what takes the shape of cool and I think, even just as a critic, especially in the '90s, what got me back to pop music was a very romantic notion that people don’t need the extra stuff outside the music. If you go to a Britney show or a Jonas Brothers show, people so much louder and so much more enthused and people typically say that these are people who don’t like music. They actually do, they don’t like any of the other stuff.
Exactly. And that’s what fucking drives me nuts, but it’s also very exciting because we’re beginning to cross over. You know you’re crossing over when you have the unadulterated college market. It’s the college market. It’s like Dave Matthews Band – hit the college market, then everything. Any band, you hit the college market, you’re out. Indie market, it’s a cyclical thing, a feedback that will never change. Those people go to your shows to be at your shows. Half the guest list we have, they don’t fucking care about seeing us, they just want to be there and say they went and saw us, they don’t give a shit about us playing. I felt for a while, the past few months, I thought people were going to go, for the sake of going, and now we see all these frat dudes in the audience, jumping up and down. It’s the most homoerotic thing I’ve ever seen in my life, and it’s the most beautiful thing to me because those dudes want to see us play and it feels so amazing that like, finally, people care. Before we had a following but it was so self-aware and so interested in being in the now.