It’s not like Tomorrows Tulips invented the late night party track, but rarely does it feel this good. One part retro garage rock and one part surf pop, “Papers By The TV” is an irresistible romp from the California duo, a fitting soundtrack for some midnight misbehavior. Really, it’s hard to deny the song’s slinky, so-bad-it’s-good vibe, and the upcoming full-length, When, is more of the same: wonky, scruffy pop songs imbued with lots of lo-fi charm.
When is out October 7 on Burger Records. Recently, we spoke with Tomorrows Tulips mastermind Alex Knost about serious topics such as creating art for art’s sake, but also not-so-serious topics like parties, drugs, and confusion. We’ve gotta say, on the latter points, we’re taking his word for it.
How did Tomorrows Tulips first come together?
Alex Knost: Well, Ford Archbold and I found each other in Orange County, he joined the band as the first and only bass player. Now he’s writing too, and we’ve been friends for like 10 years.
What is “Papers By The TV” about?
Ford’s house by the beach. It’s a trailer some tweaker turned into an adobe hobbit house. It lies in a gray zone between Newport and Huntington. It’s off the map surrounded by stucco giant investor monstrosities. It’s grunge with an ocean view. [His] roommates are couch surfers and film makers. It’s about the house, the parties, the drugs, the confusion.
The track has a kitschy feel that I really dig. What influences, musical or not, helped create that vibe?
I’m pretty afraid of pop music; Guided by Voices and the four track at Ford’s def inspired the courage to make the song. There was a party and I was high, I went to Ford’s miniature room and recorded a miniature demo to a miniature pop song about the party that was on week 12.
As an avid surfer, does surf culture impact your music at all?
I really have never seen a connection to the surf thing with our music. Most surfers I come across like reggae and hip hop; indie rock and punk is something I get from city people, at least in our generation.
But that’s rebirth. Everyone moved to New York to be the Velvet Underground or Warhol, now it’s just models and money cuz it’s expensive; great art has to be a waste of money at its birthplace. Bands going “nowhere” in our generation, living on the road at least in this generation, the dirt under the nail.
What about the impact of living in California? These sounds seem very classically West Coast.
Certain things come out, I guess there’s heavy rebuttals against the norm. The OC is fake tans, Starbucks, and real estate slime balls, it’s natural the next generation will break it and build it. Burger Records, the Growlers, Matt McCluerr, and all the other notable anti-college, fancy car, slacker status quo artists just trying to get by will prove that, art for art’s sake where no one gets rich.