Screaming guitarist Anderson (right) and frontman Michael Harris (left), are a pair of 19-year-olds from Bellingham, Wash. that cross Finch, Muse and Postal Service with nothing more than each other, a laptop and killer dance moves. A study in contrasts, this part virilly angst-ridden, part ambiguously gay duo started their first band at age 12 and recently released debut 'Strange We Should Meet Here' on Reprise Records. (www.idiotpilot.com)
Q: What was your first band like with Harris?
A: We listened to things that 12-year-olds listen to, like Green Day and a lot of Sunny Day Real Estate and Mineral. Then tried to write a bunch of songs and start an emo band, but it would kind of come out as pop 'cause we were little kids, and we didn't know how to write songs.
Q: How did it evolve into the two of you and a laptop?
A: When we started the band we created a concept. We kind of mapped out everything that we wanted to do ... the meaning behind everything. We were really into it, and the drummer and bassist weren't so we kicked them out eventually. We just never got a replacement because we decided we wanted to use the computer.
Q: The meaning?
A: To be very broad, I would say that we wanted to a lot of experimenting with juxtaposing things that were really organic and raw and emotional. A lot like what a lot of hardcore music is.
Q: Speaking of contrasts and performance style, the energy on stage between the two of you at times is both primally heterosexual, and other times - A: Flagrantly homosexual? "Primal sexual tension," that's so rad! If Mike were here he'd be stoked. Some interviewers use the line at the end "is there anything else I should be asking you?" We respond, "Are you going to ask us about the sexual tension?" And they're like, "what?" And we're like, "never mind." There have only been like two who have picked up on any sort of sexuality, and actually say it. [Anyway], I don't know what it is - it's just kind of there. I'm sorry, that's a terrible answer. You'd think I'd have a really good answer, but that's just how we roll.
Q: Both on stage and in practice?
A: We don't actually practice.
Q: You don't practice?
A: I'm totally serious. Practicing takes away from the volatility of it. Plus, I can't even imagine how many time we played some of these songs; it took like two and a half years between recording and the album coming out. We practice every once in a while, but most of the time just one or two songs to get it ready of we're going to play a new song live. We record and then we play live; there's not a lot of in between.