Posted On 02 Nov 2017
Mixing the sunny swoon of sixties pop with a dark swirl of Warholian garage rock, *repeat repeat create their own geography, dreaming up songs rooted in the spirit of both coasts. Based in Nashville, TN — where front-man Jared Corder, drummer Andy Herrin, and keys/singer Kristyn Corder kicked off the band’s career with 2014’s Bad Latitude — the three musicians look beyond the borders of their landlocked hometown and, instead, mix California surf culture and New York street smarts into the same tracklist. They’re a blend of bloom, doom, and boom. They’re Dick Dale’s snot-nosed grandkids. They’re *repeat repeat.
A self-described family business, *repeat repeat was co-founded by Jared Corder — a former punk-rock kid raised on the sounds of Bad Religion and Black Flag — and Herrin, a lover of ’90s artists like Nada Surf and Gin Blossoms. The goal was simple: to make edgy, guitar-driven music that nodded to the classic sounds of Jared’s California birthplace, complete with hazy harmonies and surf-inspired arrangements. The problem? The group needed a female harmony singer, and nobody seemed to fit the bill. Things changed when the band’s producer, Gregory Lattimer (Albert Hammond Jr.), suggested that Jared’s wife, Kristyn, sing with the band. The fit was natural. Kristyn had grown up in California, listening to ’60s legends like the Mamas and the Papas and The Everly Brothers. She quickly completed the band, sharing vocal duties with Jared and serving as the inspiration for much of Bad Latitude — a debut album largely written by Jared during the couple’s engagement, filled with songs about love, life, and the promise of new partnerships — along the way.
*repeat repeat hit the road in support of Bad Latitude’s release in the summer of 2014. They traveled from city to city, while Nashville’s top-ranked radio station, WRLT Lightning 100, supported the band with plenty of airplay back home. Most importantly, the band-mates saw the country and gained new perspectives. When it came time to write a second record, those perspectives came into play, inspiring *repeat repeat to write songs not only about themselves, but about the characters orbiting around them. Floral Canyon (their sophomore release) stretches the band’s musical envelope, adding depth, drive, and darkness to the sun-baked, surf-tinged pop music that’s always been their bedrock. Produced once again by Lattimer, the album tackles modern culture (“Plugged In”), rocky relationships (“Mostly”), religious ideologies (“Speaker Destroyer”), and all points in between. Gluing everything together is the band’s melodic, musical attack: equal parts percussive thunder, trembling organ, synth pads, coed harmonies, and wide-ranging guitar parts.
Their recent album’s name, “Floral Canyon” is a sly salute to California’s Laurel Canyon, whose rolling hills were home to some of America’s best musicians during the ’60s and ’70s. The SoCal salute came in handy when *repeat repeat caught the attention of notable Silverlake-based label Dangerbird Records, who agreed to release “Floral Canyon” this fall. *repeat repeat’s sound is bold, bi-coastal beach pop, at once coolly current and proudly vintage.
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Learn more about *repeat repeat in the following All Access interview:
Thanks for your time! Where does this interview find the band today? Is there music playing in the background? What is it? What is one song that you are all loving right now? What is a song that you all disagree about loving right now?
J: Hi! Wow. Great Question. We always have music on in the background. Every single morning in the fall & winter for the last two years we start a pot of coffee and put on Andy Shauf’s “The Party”. We’ve probably listened to it 800 times. As I type this, there is a song called “Issues” by Julia Michaels that Kristyn sings at the top of her lungs that is NOT my jam. One song we both agree on lately is “Nobody Speak” by Run the Jewels. Yes we heard it on “Ozark” first, but we’ve been obsessed with it since. Plus the music video for it is incredible.
How does 2017 so far compare to last year? How differently did you all approach this year then you did 2016? What all are you most excited about for 2018?
J: 2016 was a year of shows. We focused on taking any and all shows we could on the road. We played close to 200 shows and would drive literally all over the map. We just wanted to get our name out there as much as possible. This year, with the album release and since signing to Dangerbird, we’ve taken a more quality over quantity approach. We have played a little less, but they’ve all been amazing shows and the crowds have increased. We’ve played major festivals (Firefly, Forecastle) and opened for a few great acts (Neon Trees, Beach Slang, Cindy Wilson of The B-52’s). We want to spend 2018 promoting the record that we just put out, so we’ll be hitting the road hard again and touring as much as possible. One of these days we’ll get to sleep.
Can you recall the moment you all realized that you could really make music together and be this band? Why do you think your name truly represents this group and the music that you create? Where did your name come from in the first place?
J:There was one moment I can recall where I felt like people were starting to catch on, and that we had something special on our hands. We were playing a secret show in Knoxville to a packed house. The AC was busted and it was mid-August but people were ready to party regardless. The energy in the building was potent, and at one moment I looked over to Kristyn and we made this nonverbal connection, almost as if she was saying “we got this”, and I remember feeling a wave of emotions that reinforced what we were doing and why we were doing it.
J: Our name came from me taking a shower. I saw on a shampoo bottle “Lather, Rinse*” and then at the bottom “*repeat, repeat”. I remember thinking it would be fun to have a band name that is also like a direction to do something. We kept the asterisk but quickly dropped the comma. It’s hard enough getting people to remember one piece of punctuation.
I always like to ask artists how their hometown has been an influence on the kind of music they make and really what kind of a band they are today. So how do you think your hometown has affected you and the music that you create? How has Nashville influenced you all musically today?
J: I grew up in Phoenix and there wasn’t a huge indie music scene there at the time. I would spend a lot of summers in California on the beach and grew up angsty and listening to west-coast punk. Bad Religion, NOFX, Pennywise, The Distillers, etc. I always wanted to play loud, aggressive, punk. Before that, my father raised me on AC/DC and I wanted to have the energy and style of Angus Young. As an adult, Kristyn turned me onto 60’s vocal driven surf pop and more melodic songs. I can hear a fucked up mish mash of all those influences in the music we put out.
How do you think this band has grown since your first album was released in 2014 called “Bad Latitude”?
J: Bad Latitude was my love letter to Kristyn. I had just left a punk-party-rock band and was trying evolve my songwriting. Throughout the writing process I was dating and got engaged to Kristyn, and almost every song on that record is about her or our experience first being together. I allowed myself the freedom on the next record to touch on more themes, sometimes ones that weren’t just about me. Each song on Floral Canyon has a specific story and time in my life that I can recall, but sometimes it was me observing something outside of my own bubble.
Let’s talk about your latest album, “Floral Canyon.” What was it like putting this collection together? Did anything surprise you about the process? Were there any unexpected challenges?
J: We wanted to make a big studio record, and at the time we were unsigned. We worked our asses off and saved up enough money to book a studio, an engineer and flew our producer out from New York. I think we tried to bite off a lot, we wanted to do 15 songs in 12 days, but we didn’t want to feel rushed or cut corners. We ended up working all day, every day and the experience was crazy. We had the songs written and ready for a while at this point so the band was tight and ready, but on a few songs like “Echo” we ended up rewriting the music and tempo completely the night before to fit the record better, and it was moments like that in the studio that I’ll never forget.
K: Jared and I both were sick by the final day. Just seasonal stuff, but definitely not feeling well. We had one vocal part left to track and then we thought we’d go home and find some relief from whatever virus we were battling. To our surprise, our producer (Gregory Lattimer) thought we sounded great and decided to have us re-do the vocals on all of the tracks – on the final day – when we were both nearly dead. After our laughter and shock wore off, it seems to have worked out just fine! haha. Gregory is full of surprises.
What was the inspiration for this album? How did your single “Girlfriend” come together?
J: I had about 15 songs that were each a different individual story, but somehow we wanted them to all tie-in with the band’s energy and vibe. After recording the record, our producer went back to New York and added a layer of this 60’s organ called an Optigan all over the record. It added an element of kitschy, 60’s pop and we loved it. We then found an old drive-in movie intermission film that featured the same organ. We ended up using that as a transition throughout the record and it tied the whole thing into this big picture of an album, full of little vignettes.
J: Girlfriend was originally my attempt at writing a sludgy, slow moving, apathetic love song in the style of JEFF the Brotherhood.It was really fucking slow at first, and the hook was originally “Be my fucking girlfriend” with this sweet sounding harmony. I liked the juxtaposition of a sweet sounding group of voices singing something so brash. But in the studio it wasn’t working, and we decided to make it more straightforward and sweet overall. We thought it was a great song, but never really thought that it would be as popular as it has been. When I reworked it at the studio, I realized I wanted it to be the anthem for the punk-rock good guy.Make it loud, fuzzy and big, but still be sweet and direct.
Why do you think Dangerbird Records is the right place for this band and your music today? Why do you think it’s such a great fit?
J: First off, Dangerbird broke bands like Silversun Pickups, Fitz and the Tantrum, and Butch Walker. We knew that they would have the right people to believe in a band early on and know how to get them to the next level. Also, we wanted to be with a label that wasn’t so small that they couldn’t help us make waves, but also not so big that we got lost in the shuffle. Dangerbird felt like they were big enough to help us grow but still intimate enough to call directly on the phone. That was important to us. We definitely made the right decision.
Do you have plans to play out live this fall a lot in support of your new music? What has been a favorite show of yours in the past?
J: We just got off a few-week run with Beach Slang that was happening the day our record came out. We plan on a few tour dates before the end of the year, we’re also focusing on radio a lot with the new record. Looking into the spring, we plan on announcing a slew of dates and cities that should be really extensive. Most recently, our favorite show was opening for Neon Trees at a sold out show at Bowery Ballroom in NYC. We found out they wanted us on the show 48 hours prior and drove from a festival in Louisiana to New York. It was insane and exhausting and amazing and incredibly memorable all at the same time.
With the summer over now, what was your favorite part about it? What was something fun that this group did or tried for the first time?
J: Kristyn and I took our first real vacation in 5 years this summer. This band has been such a part of our life that we never went on a honeymoon or took a real vacation since we tour and travel so much for that. In June we rented a cabin and took our little fishing boat (we don’t fish but we like swimming!) and it was the most relaxing, incredible few days sleeping on the lake. Something the band did this year that was a first was play in Canada. We went to Toronto with Beach Slang and played a packed house at the venue where they shot “Scott Pilgrim vs. The World” it was surreal.
We are living in a crazy and at times rough world right now so I am curious how you think being in this band gives you the most joy in life today? Do you think that new music being created today is going to reflect these hard times?
J: I think for me, the most important things in my life are my family, and creating. Being able to tour with my wife and play music we created together is at times the most purposeful thing I could think of doing. With all the shit in the world right now, I hope that it gives people a feeling like they have nothing to lose, so why not do what you’ve always wanted or needed to do. Create. Make something, travel, live in the fucking moment. It’s literally all we have to hold onto.
Who are some of your favorite artists? Is there anyone that you would still love to work with in the future? What would be a dream collaboration for this band?
J: I’d love to make music with Kevin Parker (Tame Impala), or Butch Walker, or Beck, or Dave Fridmann (MGMT, Spoon, Ok Go). Otherwise a dream collaboration would be either The Arctic Monkeys or The B-52’s.
What do you hope is the message of your music? What do you hope people continue to take away from your songs?
J: I want people to take away whatever message they find themselves in the record. I’ve seen it hit people in different ways and there are songs on the album that people took to more than others. The main theme in the record is love. Kristyn and I tell each other regularly that none of this would be worth a damn without love. Whether it’s Girlfriend, or Mostly, or Everybody’s Falling in Love, ….it’s all about love.
What advice would you give to a band just getting started? Or even to someone young that is thinking of becoming a musician one day?
J: Don’t beg people to come to you. Just do shit that people can’t ignore. If it doesn’t excite you, it’s never going to excite other people.
Is there anything else that you would like to share with our readers about the band or your music?
J: We love animals (we share our life with 10 of them) including a young ex-racehorse named Lincoln. If you are a horse person Kristyn will be your best friend. We have a podcast on iTunes and Stitcher called “The *repeat repeat podcast podcast” and new episodes are returning this fall.