The Sea and Cake:
The TVD Interview

The Sea and Cake kicked off the their tour this weekend  for their latest album, The Moonlight Butterfly.

“We just played four shows in South America. I think the upcoming shows will be different,” said Sam Prekop, frontman of one of the longest-lasting and better known indie bands of the nineties. “Over the years we’ve always had periods of hiatus, we always push it to the point where it’s not insane to get back together as a band, we can still do it, there’s not lost connection, we don’t have to reintroduce us to each other. It’s helpful because we’re able to do other projects that contribute to The Sea and Cake.”

“There’s been two or three, about three year breaks. It’s not like we don’t play during those breaks, they’re usually after a record so we end up touring for about a year after we put out a record, but it’s never quite as long as it seems to the public,” he adds.

In the seventeen years that they’ve been together, “The first record came out in ’93, but we weren’t quite a band yet. After that record, it went so well we decided that we should try to act like a band. The first album was The Sea and Cake, but the second record felt like the real first record.” This year’s The Moonlight Butterfly makes nine records that they have put out together. “I think the breaks have helped, but it’s a rare combination of our personalities.”

He continues, “We’ve always felt like we could make more records, and I feel like we have a great record in us that we haven’t made yet. It’s nice to feel like you haven’t reached your full potential yet, but that it still can happen. I profoundly enjoy the music that we make, I don’t really enjoy listening to it later, but the process is thoroughly rewarding. I’m always ready to move onto the next thing.”

In the time between Car Alarm and The Moonlight Butterfly, Prekop put out a solo record, “It was completely solo, so I knew it would be completely different. It had nothing to do with working with a band. It was different than anything else I’ve done, and I think that had the most influence on Moonlight Butterfly. I wasn’t thinking too much about Car Alarm when I did it—that felt more connected to everybody. For me, Moonlight Butterfly is starting a new chapter, but also some ideas from the electronic solo record I did seeped in.”

While the writing process has varied little, technology has made recording easier, “Writing has changed a bit because technology of recording music has affected the way we record now. There’s so many choices that have to be made, whereas when we started, it was the dawn of using a computer to deal with music at all. So we made records how they had been made for the previous thirty years, and now with what you can do at home has made a huge difference.”

This has affected how the band interacts during the writing process. “I now demo stuff and work things out, and it sounds pretty good. We email tracks around, so that has changed things. I think we used to write more collectively, and we still write together, but the timeline is more staggered. I begin things, then everyone else adds to it, and then we finish it together. Earlier we would have all been in the same spot at the same time. Instead of all showing up, it’s a protracted jam.”



The Sea and Cake | The Moonlight Butterfly (album preview)

With the change in technology over the past two decades, the amount of music has increased, but it’s also allowed for more crossover between genres. “The amount of music happening now because you can make it at home is booming, which is great. You don’t have to spend a lot of money to make a great record. My solo record I did all at home, it’s different. It’s nice to go into a studio, but I’m certainly not opposed to people making records at home,” Prekop says.

“Indie depends on what you mean, a business model or a genre. As a genre, it’s become so broad that it sort of describes how a record comes out or how a record is distributed rather than a sound, which is kind of interesting that what falls into that category now is so massive, whereas back in the ’90s there was a clear delineation between major label rock and indie label rock. It’s kind of nice that it’s all blurred now, but may be a less useful term in describing what the music actually sounds like. The genre is so fractured and broad that when you say indie music it could mean any number of things.”

While everything else has changed, they’ve managed to hold on to what makes them uniquely The Sea and Cake.

Tour Dates:
11/07 Brighton Music Hall – Allston, MA
11/08 Bowery Ballroom – New York, New York
11/09 Union Transfer – Philiadelphia, PA
11/10 The Black Cat – Washington, DC
11/11 Local 506 – Chapel Hill, NC
11/12 Headliner’s – Louisville, KY
12/02 The Crocodile – Seattle, WA
12/03 Doug Fir Lounge – Portland, OR
12/04 Jambalaya – Arcata, CA
12/05 Great American Music Hall – San Francisco, CA
12/06 Troubadour – Los Angeles, CA
12/07 The Casbah – San Diego, CA
12/08 The Mohawk – Austin, TX
12/10 Voila Acoustique – Mexico City, MX
12/11 Voila Acoustique – Mexico City, MX
12/17 Empty Bottle – Chicago, IL

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