The Beets have been a YIMBY obsession since the summer of 2009, when we dubbed them “one of the most underappreciated bands in New York”—a demented rapture-strum on the very cusp of the peachy, beachy, kiwicore explosion of Captured Tracks. Two years later, these hand-scribbled mischief-makers have signed to Sub Pop’s esteemed Hardly Art imprint while cuddly folk-punk bands in their wake roam every nook of Brooklyn in search of pizza parties and rides to Coney. Luckily for us, the Beets have stayed true to their school and even though the upcoming Let The Poison Out (out October 24) is a little more polished than the washed-out, tape-damaged 7″s we fell in love with, they’re still a delirious, pop-perfect mix of Robyn Hitchcock and Alfred E. Neuman. To wit, their album title is taken from an especially lurid catchphrase popular on Howard Stern’s show.
Download: The Beets, “Doing As I Do
What inspired “Doing As I Do”?
Juan Waters, guitar/vocals: Musically and lyrically the song was inspired by human thinking.
How did you approach this record differently than Stay Home?
Waters: Let the Poison Out was approached as both our prior albums were—just going into the studio and [getting] the songs done.
Jose Garcia, bass/vocals: We definitely wanted to try something a bit more polished but still get the rawness of playing live and using tape. For this we went to Gary Olsen over at Marlborough Farms; he also recorded the new Beachniks record, as well as the new Crystal Stilts. Our recording prcess is simple. We know all the songs already ’cause we practice all the time coming up to the days we record. We just go in and play all the songs, maybe two times each… I can’t understand a band that takes five weeks to make a record. We’d go insane.
What inspired the album artwork?
Matthew Volz, artist: The front has a gang of girls stabbing and smashing bottles on a group of peace-loving cloaked men as they’re being set on fire. The back has the gang making s’mores as they burn the surviving victim to death. I think the violence and humor in some of my art work is just fine, as long as you yourself have a good sense of humor. When I draw I always try to make something I would like to see myself. When I go to a garage sales, I always buy records based entirely on the fact that the album art made me curious about the music. My hope is to try to make someone curious about the music inside with the artwork outside.
Jose, you have said about this record, “If this doesn’t work, then no more Beets.”
Garcia: I keep seeing that quote in things and it’s taken out of context. I usually see it being used as, “If this record doesn’t do well this time around then no more Beets,” or, “We’re gonna give it one more go and if it doesn’t work then we’re quiting cause the grind is too much.” That’s not that case. What i was referring to was our drumming situation. As you might know, we’ve gone through close to 12 drummers, and with the addition of Chie Morie in the band, I think we’ve pretty much exhausted our options after her. Luckily, she’s amazing and works perfectly, almost enough as to say the history of the band was leading up to finding her. If for whatever reason Chie doesn’t work out, then I don’t think we’ll try to find another one, and sad as it may seem, the Beets would be done.
You were on the Stern show twice.
Garcia: Well, technically our voices were on the show. Our dream is still to one day sit on the couch, and hopefully that will happen. But it was all really like kismet, being at the right place at the right time. It started with the obvious, being a huge fan of him, which we mentioned at length in a Time Out New York article. So then we called up his news tip line and said that he was all over the Time Out New York article to see if he would talk about it… and he did! We were called and interviewed for short blurbs. He even played us on the air and commented on it and gave us permission to cover two of his songs he did when he was 12. Which we did. They sound great and we will be putting out a 7″ of it soon.
Does he know about the homage yet?
Garcia: No, not yet. But when it comes out, I’m sure we’ll make sure he gets wind of it.