Yes In My Backyard is a semiweekly column showcasing new and emerging MP3s from local talent.
“I mean good sounding stuff sounds great, but personally, I love that quintessential indie sound,” says Kevin Alvir of Brooklyn no-fi joy-punk duo Knight School. With similarly cartoonish ecstasy-crunchers Beets and Beachniks, Knight School are leading a new charge of local garage-mush that’s more pogo-friendly than the usual Captured Tracks fare and exponentially more jubilant than a barrel of Times New Vikings. Their debut album Revenger is 26 minutes of giddy goonery — pizza, wizards, all that stuff — that comes from the Television Personalities school of aggro-twee filtered through 20 years of indie and recorded to one dusty TDK cassette tape (or laptop). The two minute “I’m Your Band” is mostly gibberish, but its sugary sentiment and glorious chorus would make for a perfect love song — it’s good for holding hands, instantly memorable, and ends way too soon.
Q&A: Knight School’s Kevin Alvir:
What is “I’m Your Band” about”?
“I’m Your Band” is kinda nonsensical actually. But there are definitely a lot of feelings in the song that make sense to me. I feel the title and the lyrics allude to how you have no one else to count on and how most of the time you have to count on yourself to be everything.
What inspired it musically?
Well, I know when we recorded it Chris and I were watching the Pavement documentary. And I just like how they tool with any old melody and turn it into something regardless of how amazing or not amazing it is. So we just jammed on anything that had some semblance of melody and I wrote some lyrics on top of that. I guess you can call that “freestyling.” But I’m not really into hip-hop.
What can you tell me about the recording session?
Recording session? Well, it all kind of realized itself pretty quickly. I think we jammed on it and recorded it and finished it within two hours. We record at home. I come up with music and lyrics kind of quickly, so it just happened spontaneously really. Of course, it has to do with having recording software at home. It’s kind of ramshackle. But y’know — we just make the best out of what we got.
Is your lo-fi sound out of necessity or design?
Lo-fi for me feels like a necessity. I have a lot of ideas for songs that happen all the time. So it’s nice to be able to open up my computer and get the ideas out there. The sound is something I love. I like the sound of “under-recorded” and “raw.” But I like the personality of home-recording. I love hearing Guided By Voices’ lo-fi era albums and the Times New Viking albums of late. They just put my mind somewhere else outside of a Los Angeles music studio with perfect takes.
Would you describe yourselves as “happy” people?
Yeah I guess so? I think some people say that Knight School sounds like “happy music.” But I, of course, know the more intimate intentions of the songs. So to me, Knight School sounds catchy and fun but there is some — a lot of — vulnerability to it. But by and large, I consider myself to be a person. I am happy and I can get sad too. And there are a lot of different feelings that occur between that. So to simply answer the question, I am a person that goes with the flow of life, be it good or bad. Does that sound too self-helpy?
What’s the most memorable show you’ve ever played in New York?
There was a show that we did at Death By Audio during a blizzard, where almost no one was there… and we just soldiered on and did our thing with extended improv jams. That was fun.
What’s your favorite place to eat in Brooklyn?
Y’know fried chicken has become this new trend lately. And I love fried chicken. So I guess I can say Pies & Thighs is great!
Knight School play Death By Audio on July 8, Monster Island Basement on July 16, Silent Barn on July 25 and… You know what, just go to their MySpace, they play a lot.