Friday, June 3, 2011

The Untitled Interview #133 – STPP Fest Edition: Starring Mike Boggs (We Were Pirates)

DC has, for some time now, not really been in love with festivals. Folks have tried, sure, but there is a substantial void in the festival scene when it comes to the “indie” scene. Fuzzy Logic’s brother blog, Sweet Tea Pumpkin Pie, is valiantly trying to give the people what they want: a legit (and FREE!) festival. And with 120+ bands playing over 2 days, there’s a lot to look forward to. Did I mention the freeness? Cuz yeah. It’s one hundred percent FREE. The STPP Fest is June 4-5, with a pre-party June 3. Check the official site for all the pertinent details.

I’ll spare you from the pirate-related puns I could throw into a piece about DC’s exceedingly excellent, dashingly disarming, purveyor of perfectly sugary with a grain of salt indiepop, Mike Boggs, otherwise known as We Were Pirates. What I will say is that WWP knows how to craft super cute songs that make me think of folks like Fountains of Wayne, Nada Surf, and Brendan Benson. And that’s pretty good company to be keeping, y’all. Read on to see how Mike feels about DC festivals, Beck, and the convenience of close proximity.

Fuzzy Logic: Why do you think it’s been so hard to get a festival going here in DC?
Mike Boggs: I think the biggest part of it is just the sheer time and effort it takes to organize something like this. We've had the good fortune of playing Fort Reno and several Rock N' Romp/Crafty bastards shows and being involved with each of them, you see what a time-consuming project any reoccurring music event can be for the organizers. Aside from some volunteer help, people like Amanda Mackaye (Fort Reno) and Debbie Lee (Rock N' Romp) are planning these things just because they care about local music and community and combining the two. Plus, these things aren't instantly successful. Before it ends up on the national radar, a local music festival is the kind of thing that is going to take years to grow. Hopefully this is one of those things that will be around long term.

FL: Band you're most looking forward to seeing at the festival?
MB: The Jet Age. I've actually never seen them play even though Eric from The Jet Age is responsible for Gabe and Kate playing in WWP. Eric saw an add I posted online looking for a bassist and recommended that I ask Kate since The Alphabetical Order was about to break up. Gabe (who played guitar for TAO) intercepted the Myspace message I sent Kate via their band page and agreed to play bass. Kate has never forgiven him, though now that she's in the band on bass and Gabe has been relegated to guitar I think she might be ready to bury the hatchet.

FL: What was the first festival you ever attended, either as a musician or member of the general public?
MB: My first music festival was the HFStival at RFK stadium. I don't remember what year it was. It must have been '96 because I went to see Beck who was touring Odelay. Seeing him play "Devil's Haircut" and "Loser" was almost too much for my pot-addled 14 year old brain to handle. It was epic.

FL: What would you advise the out-of-towners to see/do while they’re in DC?
MB: Obviously the museums first and foremost. Also, by day, the Botanical Gardens or The Arboretum are quite charming. It's not in DC proper, but Gravelly Point is Metro accessible and picnic-friendly. At night I would have recommended a trip Farmers & Fishers, but it's closed due to the floods. If they want to stick around the U street neighborhood, I'd get food at Busboys and Poets or Dukem, then grab a drink at The Gibson.

FL: Favorite thing about festivals?
MB: I think just having so many bands to see is convenient. Going out to shows can be a drag. So getting to see a bunch of different bands all at once sure is convenient.

mp3: Settle Down (We Were Pirates – more here)



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