Interview: Mini Dresses

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Mini Dresses are a dream pop band hailing from Somerville, MA.  We had a great conversation with the duo, Lira and Caufield, talking about the release of their most recent EP, what went into making it, and what the future holds for the band.

Allston Pudding: You guys are initially an Austin based band.  How did you end up in Boston?

Lira: We moved to Boston in 2012.  Caufield is originally from Austin, and I’m from Arkansas.  We met in college and started the band in Austin.

Caufield: But now we’re very much a Boston band, for the next six years at least. That’s the duration of my program.  But we like it here, so we’re really happy about it.

So what do you see as the advantages or disadvantages of now being based in Boston, not Austin?

Caufield:  Hmm, I don’t really know.  We’ve always had a weird relationship with Austin.  We could never really get a show in Austin.  We weren’t really appreciated there.

Lira: It wasn’t until we actually had releases that people actually started showing up.

Caufield: Its hard to be a band in Austin.  There’s all this noise and so many groups and its hard to stand out.  And in Boston, we just really love the music scene here.  We’ve just been dipping our toes in it.  We’re just trying to figure out how to put our foot in the door.

You just released a new EP, “Emmi // Tom and I”.  There’s certainly a heavy dream pop, shoegaze influence on it.  Were there any particular artists you were trying to emulate or simply were just listening to at the time you wrote these songs?

Lira: We really dig Captured Track’s new initiative of unearthing these long, forgotten bands from the American shoegaze scene.  We picked up one of their vinyl releases of a band called Should, which was a duo, a guy and a girl.  What was interesting about it was it was incredibly lo-fi, to the point where their guitarist used the album as a means of learning guitar.  I thought this was brilliant.

Caufield: Yeah, we like Should.  The Captured Track’s roster also has Medicine.  We have a lot of lo-fi influences.  Its funny though, I kind of feel weird with dream pop and shoegaze. I’m not the biggest shoegaze guy, neither of us are really.  When we started the band, I thought we should be really rowdy and austere.  I wanted it to be like Suicide.

Lira: And then there’s Mojave 3 and Slowdive, who are now getting back together again.  And I think this is a really interesting trend in these shoegaze bands, like My Bloody Valentine getting back together.  I just think its interesting on a generational level, but also how people just mind stuff from the past and how it always seems to resurface.

Caufield:  There’s always the obligatory mention of Cocteau Twins.

For this new EP, you recorded the entire thing on an 8-track track.  What do you see the advantages and disadvantages are of going analog, rather than using Pro-Tools or something?

Caufield: It depends.  I always think of the difference between digital and analog recording.  Digital has to do with exact units and analog has do with just feeling it.  With analog, you don’t get to input exactly “gain at 10.4”, or whatever.  You can see everything happening when you record it on a screen.  It’s digital. It’s right before your eyes.  We’re very obsessive with recording, and digital aggravates that in a way that’s bad sometimes.  Sometimes you need it on a tape, where its sort of abstract, and you have to just rely on your ears.

“My dream, forty years from now, is all the hipster kids will reappropriate GarageBand”

Lira:  This isn’t as eloquent and beautiful as Caufield’s response, but I think it’s just cool!  It’s cool to have this machine that has all these nobs, and your not exactly sure what will and won’t happen.  We recorded this one song, and as we were trying to record, when we played it back, the tape would warp.  And I thought it sounded great!

Caufield: My dream, forty years from now, is all the hipster kids will reappropriate GarageBand.

You’re set to release this EP on a 7” later this year.  Any more info on that?

Lira:  We’re thinking of like four or five songs, and maybe a bonus cover or something.  We’re not sure yet.  It will be released through Box Bedroom Records, a label from the U.K.  They do really great artwork for their releases.  There will be some sort of insert with it.

Caufield: I don’t really like that stuff, I don’t think its necessary.

Lira: I love it!

Caufield: I like releasing these two song EPs.  I like its minimal, straightforward, closed case  statement.  We have two songs, and they talk to each other, and that’s it.  It’s over after 6 minutes or so.

Lira: Whereas I like the idea of writing an album.  But its hard to sit down and write a whole album.  But I like the idea I harbor the idea of a gatefold LP with all sorts of things on the inside.  I guess it all goes back to my childhood of finding a color changing spoon at the bottom of a box of Fruit Loops.

Caufield:  Well that’s exactly what it is now.  That the 7” is like a cereal box now.

Do you see yourself releasing any full-length LPs?

Caufield: I think we are officially recording an LP now.  We kind of started.

Lira:  Well, at least we’re trying to.  Going along with the idea that we really favor these short burst of releases, like 2 song EPs.  On the other side of that, I feel like it would be an interesting challenge for us to see if we could come up with something like 8 or 9 songs long.