I’m not usually one for popular observances, or really celebrating of any manner – I recently spent my 30th birthday gifting myself a night on the couch with the Criterion Collection – however, this year has had me, uncharacteristically, partaking in the festivities, alongside many equally-fair-skinned and drastically-overly-enthusiastic fans of the spectacle. This October, at the summoning of both Americana revivalists Ark Life and dreamily morose indie poppers Dum Dum Girls, I attended not one, but two Halloween parties… If you know me that’s a very large number of parties for a single year… And this Thursday, December 18th, psych and soul influenced songwriter Nicole Atkins (who will be playing her sixth Philadelphia show of 2014) and Landlady — an extremely-hard-to-describe Brooklyn band led by Adam Schatz (of Man Man) – have drawn me to a “Holiday Throwdown!” hosted by WXPN at World Café Live. I got a chance to chat with Nicole Atkins this past March about her 2nd and 4th Philly appearances of the year (#3 was a surprise), but earlier this week I got a chance to chat with Adam Schatz, whose Landlady released their sophomore record, Upright Behavior, this July on Hometapes. The album bravely attacks the somber with Everest-sized quirks and hooks… while still remaining in the realm of folk pop. And Schatz proves to be not only quite the wise soul of the existential, but a charming crooner of the postmodern variety. In our recent chat we talked about quite a bit… including the next possible century he projects for Landlady.
Izzy Cihak: 2014 is quickly coming to an end. What have been Landlady’s highlights of the year, in addition to the release of Upright Behavior? You’ve done a lot of touring.
Adam Schatz: Reaching so many new people has been the ultimate joy of this year. We’ve been a band since 2010 and I truly have always dreamed of even making it this far. There are people in California, Texas, and North Dakota who love the band and want us to come back, and that’s an incredible feeling.
Izzy: And, to get back to the album, how would you characterize it, compared to your previous release, both in terms of its sound and the process of writing and recording it?
Adam: Upright Behavior is a natural growth and expansion of scope from Keeping To Yourself. It was written in the same way, over a few years, fueled by experience and drive to make music that’s personal and surprising. The intent stays the same, but because we change as people as we grow, the music will always reflect and react differently. I really love that, and look forward to seeing what affect that process has on the music we make over the next 10, 20, or 100 years.
Izzy: Have you had any favorite reactions to it?
Adam: Very recently a friend told me she was riding on the subway and an 18 year old boy saw that she was listening to our record and struck up a conversation about it. Everything in that scenario makes me happy. My goals for how the record should make people feel are old fashioned. That lines up perfectly with those goals.
Izzy: You’re about to play a holiday party here at World Café Live later this week so I have to ask: Do you have any particular favorite holiday memories or holiday traditions to take place in the month of December?
Adam: I grew up in New England and am still a big fan of snow. If I can see any snow while I’m home for the holidays I will be psyched. I am lucky enough to still have a bunch of friends I grew up with who all come back to Massachusetts around Christmas and so any excuse to bum around with them is what keeps me whole.
Izzy: What can be expected of the live experience of Landlady this time around?
Adam: We are 100% committed to blow you away with every show. Expect that. Wait, actually don’t. It’s better when you don’t expect it.
Izzy: And you’re sharing the stage with Nicole Atkins, who will be playing her sixth Philly show of the year. What are your thoughts on her? Were you previously fans? Slow Phaser is definitely one of my favorite albums of the year.
Adam: Nicole is really great. I first met her when I moved to the city in 2006, I played in a band called the Teenage Prayers and we did some shows together. She truly cares and exudes commitment and rock and roll with her performances. It’ll be great to share the stage.
Izzy: Finally, how does Landlady hope and plan to spend 2015?
Adam: Touring and writing and eating and sleeping and spending time apart and spending more time together. Also some sort of team building retreat would be nice. Hopefully with a ropes course and a human knot!