Interview with Field Mouse

The Brooklyn Headsets project is a series of live performances filmed on a deck with a view in Greenpoint, Brooklyn and recorded using headphones. You can expect to see many more of these videos through this spring, summer, and fall, as I am the interviewer for each session.

We are very happy to unveil the fourth Brooklyn Headsets video session & interview. This session features Field Mouse, a four piece Brooklyn band, though only Rachel and Andrew were able to play the session. Regular readers should be pretty familiar with them, as we have included their track "You Guys Are Gonna Wake Up My Mom" in a podcast and conducted a lengthy interview last spring. The band completed a successful US tour with Laura Stevenson this spring and is currently in the midst of a Kickstarter campaign to raise money to record the first proper album. [UPDATE: They reached their goal. But you can still donate]. I highly encourage you to help them out. They're a great band and great people, and I have no doubt they will make a similarly great record. They are offering a cool range of prizes and have already shared some sweet mp3s with their backers including a cover of "That Thing You Do!" (Erie, PA 4eva!) and a 90s remix of "Tomorrow Is Yesterday," a song they played for Headsets – click the photo below to watch.

You can get their current music here at Bandcamp. You can like them on Facebook and follow them on Twitter. Be sure to visit the Brooklyn Headsets website for the full videos, many more photos, and the complete details of everyone and everything that makes this great project possible and how to be on it if you're a musician. Just click the logo below.

Besides two members of Field Mouse, I also was not present for the session, which included performances of "Glass" and "You Guys Are Gonna Wake Up My Mom," as well (the latter is posted). I caught up with Rachel and Andrew a few weeks later. We talked about how things went, their favorite headphone records, the Kickstarter, and tour stories. Here are some excerpts below. Remember, if you like what you hear, consider helping the band out!

Steve: So, how'd the session go?

Rachel: It was fun. It went well.

Andrew: It was good, but a weird format, I think, for us, because we don't play as a duo. I made drum loops.

Rachel: No bass player, as well.

Steve: Did you arrange the songs any differently?

Rachel: It was just kind of played a little more mellow.

Steve: Was it hot? The previous session was brutal.

Rachel: Was it hot? Yes.

Andrew: It was very, very hot.

Rachel: Yeah, it was not that bad, but I had to take a couple of breaks and go inside to get water.

Andrew: Why should the place you live not be a nightmare for four months out of the year, you know? Why shouldn't that be a thing?

Steve: (Laughs). Have you ever played outside before anywhere?

Rachel: We actually did play a college show outside and we didn't have a drummer for that either.

Andrew: Oh, yeah. It was one of those college shows where, like, "Oh, we're going to have a DJ, and then a reggae band, and then, like — well, an indie band." There's probably a comedian too.

Rachel: It was a school-sponsored drinking fest. But I think that's it. We never really played outside much.

Steve: So the theme is the headphones, the headsets, for how you hear it. Do you have favorite headphone records?

Rachel: Future Days by Can. Sea Change by Beck. Aphex Twin’s Drukqs. Those are really good headphone records.

Andrew: Anything but the Beatles, I'd say — well, because it's the beginning of stereo, and so they were really experimenting with drums all, like, off to the right, and vocals off to the left. Just totally panned.

Steve: I saw you were doing the Kickstarter [check it out here] Seems to be going pretty well so far.

Rachel: Yeah, it's kind of crazy. We launched it on Monday. Now it's Friday, and we're pretty close to halfway. [Note: They are now more than 75% of the way there – help get them over the top!] [Another note: the campaign successfully met its goal]

Steve: That's great.

Rachel: Yeah.

Steve: Have you been working on a new album otherwise?

Rachel: We did record the drums before we went on tour. Instead of struggling with the rest of it, we really wanted to just do it in a studio, and make it sound awesome and thought we could try Kickstarter to help.

Steve: Is this the first time you've used it?

Rachel: No, we used it three years ago. That's sort of a long story, but, basically, we put out a CD that was kind of my solo project, but we decided to name it Field Mouse right before we pressed it.

Steve: I think Kickstarter is a good thing.

Rachel: I don't fundamentally disagree with it; I just feel like I'm a self-conscious person, so I don't have the ability to be like, "Hey, you're going to love this, and you should give me money.”

Steve: Right. But yours made sense and wasn't like that. I like how the projects are very transparent about where everything goes, and it's ultimately not a lot of money.

Rachel: Yeah, being really clear about what the prizes are and what you're raising money for are important.

Andrew: I have this almost Larry David-esque sense of internet etiquette, especially with Kickstarter. I feel like as long as you have the finished record as a virtual download for, like, $10, then I'm totally fine with it.

Steve: Exactly. You have probably that many people that will buy it when it comes out.

Rachel: I hope so.

Andrew: It's like an advanced thing. It's like, "Hey, you know you like us enough to put money down this early.

Rachel: I think it's cool to have people involved with the process because if it's successful, the whole point is to post videos and demos and stuff.

Steve: Are the songs that you've been playing live a lot and that you played in session going to be on the album, like “Glass” and “You Guys Are Gonna Wake Up My Mom,” or is it going to be all-new stuff?

Rachel: It's 90 percent new, yeah. “Glass” and “You Guys” are old, they probably won’t be on. We have like 20 songs.

Andrew: 20 songs of drums and scratch instruments on top of it.  

Steve: You toured the US this spring with Laura Stevenson. How was that?

Rachel: The tour was great.

Andrew: It was wonderful.

Rachel: We saw most of America. We were with wonderful people — Laura Stevenson and her band are some of my favorite people. And we got to spend every day with them, and it's really cool. Yeah, not a lot of negatives.

Andrew: Except for the van.

Rachel: We got our van broken into in San Francisco, but that's it.

Andrew: Some piece of shit has my laptop out there. And our drummer's passport. I feel like the part people like is when I cry in front of the cop. My first thought was, “Can you cry in front of a cop? Is that allowed?” But I just went for it.

Steve: Wow. That’s one of those tour horror stories. But it sounds like it was good otherwise. Were there any highlights that were unexpected?

Rachel: Oh, man. Well, there were some really surprisingly good nights and great people, you know. Some of the shows were highlights; some of the foods were definitely highlights.

Andrew: The guacamole in Cleveland.

Rachel: I hadn't been to, like, half the cities that we went to, so it was just every new city had something interesting about it. But it's so streamlined — you wake up, drive a lot, set up, play, watch Laura play, sell merch, drive more, go to sleep.

Steve: Did you find that people were receptive to you as an opener?

Rachel: Yeah, there were a lot of people that were there to see Laura that were very nice to us, very supportive. The tour was awesome. I want to do it again soon.