One of the best mid-aughts indie band celebrates their mid-aughts indie breakthrough album tonight at Radio Radio. And boy do I mean exactly mid-aughts (have I typed that phrase enough that it's lost all meaning?). Clap Your Hands Say Yeah's self-titled album is 10 years old this year — which means it dropped smack dab in the middle of the indie music Internet distribution craziness in 2005 — and the NY-based band is celebrating with a swatch of 10 year anniversary shows. They stop in Indy tonight with their new gold vinyl reissue of their titled in tow.
Here's a bit from my conversation with frontman Alec Ounsworth:
NUVO: When did it first come to mind to do a 10 year anniversary tour for this album? How long have you been plotting it?
Alec Ounsworth: Not really plotting it, just thought it was a natural thing to do. I think it's an opportunity for me and also a nice little touch for the fans of that particular record. It's not exactly putting it to bed, but it's sort of a nice thing to give people after 10 years.
NUVO: When you're revisiting this record after 10 years, what do you love about it? What do you hate about it? What do you wish you had done differently, and what do you know you'd do exactly the same?
Ounsworth: Every album is a document of a certain part of one's career, or a document of where you are a given time. I don't hate anything about it because it is what it is. I think it's a good start. For me, that's what I thought then, and that's sort of the way that I see it now. I think they are good songs. I don't think it's the high mark that everybody attributes to it. I think it's just an introduction, really, to the project. I do like it. I wouldn't be going out and playing the whole thing if I didn't still appreciate it. The songs still resonate for me. ... I do surprisingly still play several of those songs and they still hold up for me.
NUVO: Tell me about the solo acoustic material that's being released along with this.
Ounsworth: That was sort of originally something to do to stay active in I guess what might be known in the musical world as the off-season, originally. For me, it was also an opportunity to do it the way I used to do it. Before the band started, that's how I was going out. I was playing and trying out a lot of these songs. I would play early forms of "Upon This Tidal Wave" and "Young Blood" on acoustic guitar before even anyone got together, and see how it went. If people appreciated it in that form, you know you have something. Because you're filling in the gaps later on and making it bigger, it can only go one way for the most part.
I think it's great to be able to meet people on their own terms [in living room shows]. I tell people where I've been over the last 10 years, and honestly, I was a bit frustrated after the first few years. After several passports fill up and you've been to all of these places, but I didn't feel like I had much of a connection to these places, or much of a connection to the people there. We were just doing what musicians do and performing, but I didn't really feel like I was seeing much of anything. That was an opportunity to do that. I can really get a glimpse into people's lives. I've done it in the US and in Europe now, so I really feel like now I know people. I know people personally from a lot of different parts of the world.