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Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin MAG
Between buzz from across the blogosphere and coverage in The San Francisco Weekly, the predicted best breakout band of 2007, Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin, has been extremely busy. Their intensely unique music garnered them an appearance on “The O.C.” while they were still unsigned. The down-to-earth Springfield, Missouri, quartet (now signed with Polyvinyl Records) produces indie music of a pop persuasion, with subtle emo undertones, that’s all their own. I spent time with lead guitarist and songwriter Will Knauer to discuss Springfield, pre-gig rituals, Nirvana, touring, and of course, Boris Yeltsin.
There’s a vintage sound on “Broom” that really adds to the disk, in my opinion. Was there anything special about where or how you recorded it?
We recorded the CD in my house. We had never recorded anything before and had no idea what we were doing. Armed with two rented microphones and others that had been lying around for years, we set out with one goal in mind: try anything. We put microphones all over: on the ceiling, in the piano, in the guitar, behind the guitar, and anywhere we could stick ’em. We had no professional help during the recording sessions. Also, all the equipment was stuff our parents had bought us for Christmas. The instruments were old and dirty.
Recording in a house, we were able to capture the sounds of life. From people talking to dogs barking, “Broom” places the listener in the setting. Most of the songs are about someone who lives in the house, so it’s almost a concept album. Nothing scares me more than a sterile studio.
We recorded this album honestly because we weren’t on a label, we were not trying to market or sell it. We were just goofing around. There was no budget, no pressure, and no one telling us what to do.
What artists were you channeling on “Broom”?
Which one of you still loves Boris Yeltsin?
We got the name from a school project my little brother was doing. He chose Boris Yeltsin ’cause his name was funny. It was around the time that Yeltsin resigned, and we joked about naming the paper “Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin.” We really liked the sound of that, and even though my brother got a D+ on his paper, it became the name of our band. That was about seven years ago.
Has Springfield impacted your music?
Yeah. There’s something about Springfield that makes you happy. I can walk out on my front porch, sit on the steps, and play guitar while birds sing and my cats play. With trees and other natural life, you just feel good. Then you write nice songs that reflect the atmosphere. I can’t imagine living in a tiny apartment in the middle of a city/concrete nightmare. It would change everything.
To what do you credit your success?
The Internet. The San Francisco Weekly. MySpace. Catbirdseat.org. Blogs. Humans. Computers. Guitars.
What’s your formula for a good tour?
We’ve been on different size tours and have learned a few things. If you are going out for a while with another band who is on your level (in our case, still small), it is essential to play with a local band every night. That way people are guaranteed to be there because it’s someone they know. The tour we did with Mute Math was different because there were always a few hundred people.
What was the best show so far?
Two stick out: Beloit College in Wisconsin and Carleton College in Minnesota. The students are ready to have a good time, and they actually dance and move around. Most of the time people just stand and stare at us, which makes it harder for us to get into it. But we’re learning how to provoke the audience instead of waiting for them. We also played a Nirvana tribute show the other night that was intense.
Who’s your “Oregon Girl”?
Jill Stevens. Wherever you are, I love you.
What was your response to so many great reviews following the re-release of “Broom” in 2006?
After we released “Broom” ourselves in early 2005, I left to work at an all-girls summer camp in New Hampshire. Over that summer the band played one or two shows. We were hardly a real band. When I got back, we realized we should be doing something and planned (poorly) a two-week tour. What saved us was a band called Catfish Haven who asked us to tour with them. Since then we have been touring as much as possible.
What are you working on now?
The next album, baby! And getting stuff organized before I go to the post office in a little bit.