Los Angeles-via-Martha’s Vineyard band The Billionaires released their album titled Really Real For Forever on the Too Soon label last month. While it doesn’t change the pop landscape it also doesn’t seek to do so. What it does do, however, is deliver 10 songs of very well crafted classic pop that has much more in style and spirit with groups from 30-40 years ago and not terribly much to do with the bands peers.
I ran some questions past member Laura Jordan (who you might know better as an actress) this past week and while we didn’t deconstruct anything super important it was a nice chat and a decent introduction to the band. MP3’s are at bottom of page.
24 Hour Party Pooper: Can you discuss the history of the band a little bit and why The Billionaires moved from Martha’s Vineyard to California?
Laura Jordan: The boys all at one time or another played in bands together, growing up on Martha’s Vineyard. I’m actually from Toronto but I spent a lot of time on the Vineyard and at one point, two summers ago we were feeling September looming—MV is a hard place to leave and I think we all kind of lacked direction or didn’t want to face whatever was next you know?
There’s this place called Peacegate that [member]Farley [Glavin’s] dad owns it has like three levels of basements and it’s kind of where we’d all hang and play music and party. On a rainy day Joe [Keefe] and I went down to Peacegate to record a song and Tim [Laursen] was there and eventually Sebbie [Keefe] and Farley showed up and that night we wrote “The End Of Summer Song”. Then we moved to L.A.
24HPP: Speaking of locales, The Billionaires have now lived in two places that are near-mythical to a lot of the world: the blue blood /East Coast version of wealth and privilege and the Western fantasy land of California. How does this play into The Billionaires identity and what effect does it have on the songwriting?
L.J.: Ha ha you’ve listened to our record, right? It has every effect on the songwriting I think. The thing with the vineyard is that the wealthy and privileged pend their summer vacations there–the boys would be better at explaining this-but winters are long and lonely and cold and we all come from working-class families and when those tourists come and invade the island it really pisses us off. But that’s when all the locals make money so… California? I can’t get
into it [but] I love the sunshine.
24HPP: How difficult is it to balance your acting and the band?
L.J.: Well…my acting career isn’t very demanding! ha, but no the band is my main focus right now. Its hard you know acting work is really fulfilling for me, but the auditioning part really wears on me. Music is where my heart is.
24HPP: Having worked in two major entertainment industries how would you say the music world and the film world compare?
L.J.: [It’s the] same shit. The business side of both of these worlds
sucks the life out of art.
24HPP: How did you personally come to play music?
L.J.: My dad was an actor and a musician, I sang French folk songs with him from the time I was 4 years old–he had a little restaurant called “Au Bon Appetit” and he’d do live shows on a little stage in the corner and I’d get up and sing with him. It’s been a couple of years but we still sing the same songs together.
24HPP: One of my favorite things about Really Real For Forever is its brevity. It’s as if the band was recording for a vinyl release. That said, was there any temptation to make it longer? You know, “fill it out”?
L.J.: Hmmm, I love short albums The new Rilo Kiley album is short..and the first Strokes record, I like that. I don’t think it was a conscious decision..a couple of songs got nixed, they just didn’t work or weren’t strong enough. 10 is good. My favourite number.
24HPP: The album really encompasses a classic pop sound that is much more refined than what we might normally call “indie-pop” and makes me suspect that, as a band, you’re not really influenced by your peers but by 1960’s and ’70’s groups. Any thoughts on that?
L.J.: Thanks. I mean yeah. Zeppelin, Dylan, The Beatles, The Stones the stuff that made us want to make music in the first place, right? I mean we’re into and are influenced by newer music too, but the 60’s & 70’s sounds run pretty deep.
24HPP: Anything else you’d like to add? When can we expect to see you in Athens?
L.J.: Man, we really need to go on tour…I hope to see you there really soon!