Published Mar 26, 2008Seattle sisters Chloe and Asya have been making music under the name Smoosh since they were 8 and 6. Now in their teens, they have blossomed into an indie pop duo whoss stripped down keyboard-and-drum sound is on par with their much-older peers. Determined to move forward from the gimmicky pigeonholing that follows their name, Chloe spoke with Exclaim! about her worst tour memories and some changes in the band. Be sure to catch Smoosh opening for Tokyo Police Club on selected dates of Exclaim!s 16th Anniversary Tour this spring.
Whats new with Smoosh?
Were working on a lot of new stuff for our next CD. The new stuff is really different; I like it better than both of our other albums. Since were getting older, its always like that. We sound so much younger on all the other ones, and as I get better at drumming, I end up not liking the albums from a while ago.
Do you ever wish you could change the band name?
Yes! Oh my god! Asya and I wish we could change the name so much. We named it when we were younger, and Ive told this story so many times, its kind of boring to tell it again, but we liked Smash Mouth because we liked the movie Shrek when it first came out, and we wanted something to sound like "smash so we came up with Smoosh. We want to change it so much, but we feel like if we do no one will really know who we are anymore.
Are there any songs on the old albums that you really like?
I wouldnt ever listen to them. If I wasnt in Smoosh, I wouldnt listen to it. But some of the new stuff I like a lot.
Whats different about the new material?
Our old CDs had a poppy feel to them, and I dont really like that as much. This CD doesnt have that as much, its more like authentic, and we have some samples that were going to put in. We also have a song where, its not hip-hop, but we were messing around with Asyas keyboard, and its super fun. We also had this guy who plays the trumpet come in and do a horn sample. Weve been playing two new songs live already, and I trigger the horn sample live.
How long has your youngest sister been in the band? Will she be on the new album?
I dont think shes going to be in the album, but we might just have her play bass live for a few songs or something. Everyones thinking that Maias been in the band for a while, but she hasnt been playing for very long. Shes only done two tours. She doesnt write her bass parts, Asya writes them for her. Were not sure if shes going be in the band for a lot longer because shes a lot younger, and I dont know if she can decide.
Have you ever thought about having other people join the band, or do you want to keep it in the family?
Its not like its a family band. I dont want it to be like that because its me and Asya were just sisters. I dont like to think of it as a family band, and I dont want to. But I think that if we had anyone else be in it, like if it was an older adult it would seem weird, and I dont know if a kid could be committed enough. Also, if I didnt have someone who was related to me in the band it might be really uncomfortable to say, "I dont want that, I dont think that sounds very good. Id feel bad saying that to someone else. My sister and I are friends, but I feel more comfortable telling her if I dont like something.
What is your favourite memory of the band, and what is your worst memory?
I dont really have a favourite memory. The recent tours that I can remember the most, I really, really liked, so those have been really good memories for me. As for a worst memory, there was a bunch of stuff that has happened on stage that I was really embarrassed about. When we use our sampler, we dont have a click track so we just have to guess what time its going to be on and try to keep up with it. So the first time we used it, I hit it with my drumstick and I couldnt hear it at all so I kept trying to turn it up without dropping my drumstick, and it was totally offbeat. Then I hit the wrong one for the wrong song, and a piano part started playing when it was supposed to be a horn sample, and it was really bad. I just turned it off, and I was so pissed. There was another time that I was supposed to hit the horn patch and I forgot, so Asya was trying to do the horn parts on her melodica. That was interesting.
What do you want to do when you grow up?
I dont like to plan ahead because I just want to live in the moment, and I dont really know if Im ever going to really change my mind. I really like music and I cant imagine myself doing anything other than being a musician or doing something that has to do with music. I can imagine myself doing side jobs because I wont make enough money being a musician, like writing drum parts for people or something, but I dont think Id ever be a dentist or anything.
Do you go to a normal high school? Does that make it difficult to go on tour?
Yeah we go to school. We just bring our homework with us when we go on tour, but for this tour coming up and then for the tours after that, I dont think that were going to bring our homework because its just too hard. And after that I dont think were going to go to an actual high school. Maybe well have a tutor, we havent decided yet.
Do you have time to do other stuff?
In school we have sports teams, so Im on the ultimate Frisbee team and Asyas on the track team. I used to run all the time and do cross country running, and I was really into it. I went to nationals, and I got 21st for nationals. My friend Patty, she was really good. She got sixth place in nationals for girls. I spent most of my time doing that last year. But now Im not very committed to sports. I like trying to keep in shape, and I like ultimate Frisbee, but Im only going to be here for one game, so it kind of sucks. But Id rather go on tour.
How do you feel about music piracy?
I dont want to be someone who gets all pissed about it. All my friends download, and I think pretty much everyone has. I never have, because Im a musician, and I think most musicians dont because they care about their songs being taken off the internet for free. I just think its kind of disrespectful. Its good that they want your songs, but theyre too lazy or they dont care enough to pay for it. Some CDs are so expensive, but people put so much time and effort into them. For people that dont care at all to take it for free is kind of mean. But I dont go around telling people "Dont do that! Dont do that! because I think that would be kind of annoying.
Would you ever sign to a major label?
I dont know. I think that itd seem kind of annoying I keep saying the word annoying! because weve been playing for like seven or eight years, but Barsuk is only our second label. It would seem like the only way we would get to be on a major label is because were young, and were a two-piece, and I think that if we were older we wouldnt get that opportunity. So its not really fair, and people would think of us as more of a gimmick.
Even on an indie label, do you think people see you as more of a gimmick?
I know some people think of us as a gimmick. If you just look at us, were two young girls playing music, and I think were getting a lot of really good opportunities. People can be like, "Theyre a gimmick. This doesnt really have anything to do with it, but I dont like it when people describe us as two American blonde girls that play music. To me, that seems like it would be thought of as a gimmick. I kind of want to dye my hair because of that. I dont like the image you get for being blonde. Were not actually very blonde, were kind of just blonde-brown, but I think it would be cooler if my hair were a different colour. Also, then people wont think we look so alike. I hate it when photographers try to make us pose and smile at the camera. Theyre trying to make us look like a gimmick. They make us look so stupid when they do that. And for other bands that are older they dont do that. I like it when we can just be natural. They try to make it look like a family photo, especially with Maia; "Okay, Maia goes in the middle, Asya and Chloe go behind, now smile! People can think what they think, I respect that, but I dont like it when people dont listen to our stuff or they havent seen us live, and they just look at a picture of us and theyre like "I dont like them, they suck.