WERS’s Ross Ketschke sat down with Patrick Wimbery and Caroline Polacheck of Chairlift before their show with M-83 at the Blue Hills Bank Pavilion to talk music, touring, and the lifestyle of being professional musicians!
Welcome to Boston! Have you guys had a chance to explore the city at all?
Caroline: Sadly no not today, but we come to Boston a lot so we know the city fairly well, we love it here!
Where are some of your favorite places in the city?
Patrick: The last time we were here we all went out to Castle Island right on the water, I loved that place it had such a cool view of the water.
When was the last time you were in Boston?
Patrick: I was here two weeks ago. I have lots of family in the city, so I visit here a lot.
Where are you both from before you became musicians traveling the world?
Caroline: I was born in New York City and have lived a bunch of different places, but we met at the University of Colorado. I’ve been in New York for 11 years now.
Patrick: I grew up in Nashville Tennessee
So this is your second night with M-83, how was last night’s show?
Patrick: Last night was great, the crowd was super fun.
What are you expecting out of the Boston crowd tonight?
Caroline: Boston is always amazing to perform in. I also just love how this is a kind of half inside half outside venue. It’s going to be really fun to play in this perfect weather. Couldn’t ask for a more beautiful setting.
What other venues has Chairlift played in the city? Any personal favorites?
Patrick: One of my favorite places here to play is Brighton Music Hall! Last time we played there the crowd was just awesome. It was just a super supportive atmosphere.
You guys have been on the road for most of this year now. What have some of the best shows and cities been this year?
Patrick: Recently, my favorite show we’ve played was in Porto Portugal. They have a festival there called Primavera Sound and we played right as the sun was setting on a beautiful day summer day in Porto.
Caroline: Oh yeah! That was amazing! I was thinking of a show we played in the winter in Sweden, but now I think Portugal is winning!
Okay, now let’s get into our Either/Or round. I’m going to ask you to pick between two different things, and on the spot you have to choose one!
Chocolate or Vanilla?
Patrick: Obviously Vanilla.
CD, MP3 or Vinyl?
Patrick: Vinyl all the way
Caroline: I’m going to say MP3 just because I travel so much it makes bringing music so easy.
Fender or Gibson?
Patrick: Oh man that’s so tough… I like my guitars Gibson, but my basses to be Fender.
Caroline: I’m going to say other and go with either Nord or Dave Smith because I play synth and I really like the sounds that I’ve been able to get out of those brands.
Beatles or Stones?
Patrick and Caroline: BEATLES!
Biggie or Tupac?
Patrick: Man that’s another hard one….
Caroline: I feel like being from new York we have to say Biggie, but spiritually I’m more Tupac.
Patrick: I can’t choose I’ve gotta pass on this one.
Chuck Taylors or Vans?
Patricks: Totally Chuck Taylors, I’ve got mine on right now.
Winter or Summer?
Patrick: Why isn’t fall on that list of choices?
Well because the other seasons are too alike, I needed to find the two that are polarly opposite.
Patrick: Alright summer
Caroline: I’m going to say winter just so summer doesn’t get offended
Okay well now let’s talk music. You are fresh off your third studio album with Columbia Records, what’s it been like working with that major record label for a few years now?
Caroline: It’s been a dream. I think a lot of the things that we expected growing up, especially being ids in the 90’s watching things on VH1, you just see time and time again bands getting screwed over by record labels. We were kind of expecting that first coming in but Columbia has been so supportive and so cool and open minded. They’ve let us work in some unconventional ways that we wanted to. I mean, the record industry as a whole may be a very different story, especially with the way hard working artists aren’t getting paid for music streaming, but Columbia has been phenomenal to work with.
You have spend most of the last few years out on the road. What’s it been like spending most of your 20’s touring the world playing music?
Patrick: Nothings can compare it’s been a total dream come true. I mean, you set goals and dream throughout your life of all the things you want to do. But by the time I was 27, I had already checked off all the things that I wanted to be able to do.
Caroline: It certainly gives you a priceless perspective on the country, both by leaving it so often and by seeing so much of it. With TV and the internet, everyone thinks they have an idea of what the rest of the world is like, but trust me you don’t have a clue until you actually get out there. Things are changing so fast, and just in the short time that we’ve been on the road we have seen culture, fashion and music but also the different kinds of building or plants that are in different parts of the country. The little differences between different places are always the most fascinating to see. I’m so grateful that our road trips have been as as eye opening as they have been.
Speaking of traveling, you guys are going to be in Chicago to play at the one and only Lollapalooza music festival next week! Have you guys ever played the festival before?
Patrick: Yeah this will be our third time playing Lolla.
What have your experiences been with the festival in the past?
Patrick: The first experience was really great! Second experience…not so great.
Caroline: Our second time it started to pour rain right as we walked on stage, so not only did our performance get shut down but the whole festival got shut down and there was this massive exodus of something like 150,000 people. It was so crazy.
So after a fantastic last 5 years of Chairlift, where are you guys 5 years from now?
Caroline: You know, this whole rollercoaster ride of a career has been so unbelievable. I don’t even try to imagine what’s that far ahead because it could be absolutely anything. You know Patrick and I met doing college radio back in Colorado, and we used to play M-83 on our show. Tonight, we are playing with them. This was back before Chairlift even existed and it’s so unreal to think how far everything has come.
Where did the inspiration for your most recent album Moth come from?
Caroline: It’s been a combination of our own personal experiences of the pure chaos of living in New York. But also, a lot of it just came from the process that we go through creatively. Patrick and I have both put in so much time to music in our lives and have spend so much time in studios the last few years. When we came together to do this last record, it was the first time that I really felt like an adult in the studio and had a full sense of what was happening and how to get exactly what we wanted out of the record. This time we were really interested in doing some improvising. We also wanted to really work conceptually this time, experimenting with a lot of sounds and trying to do something new for us was so important right from the beginning.
It wasn’t like it’s been in the past where we were on a super tight time schedule where in just a few weeks we have to try out producers track mix and master and it all feels like a rushed mess. We totally deconstructed the process. At times we almost felt like kids playing with toys but at the same time we were working so efficiently and everything just kind of fell into place. It was such a great experience.
One final question. What’s something that you’d like your fans to know about you that they wouldn’t just know from listening to your music, or following you on social media?
Caroline: I’d like people to know that personally, I think our music is so great to listen to while traveling. Try listening to it when you’re on a trip in the ca r on on a train. It’s great music to travel to.
Patrick: I don’t think that you can tell this by listening to the records, but I really really really love pizza. Everyone should know that!