The Pseudo Dates aren’t letting their spot in the garage keep them from touring the country next month. Photos courtesy of Emile Hallez Williams.
The Pseudo Dates may have a name that implies wavering committment and lonely nights waiting for that blind date that’s never going to come, but make no mistake: the Denver indie pop band is here for you. Since forming in the fall of 2007, the Pseudo Dates have zoomed along Denver’s music scene with a regular live schedule that has honed its simple, infectiously melodic songs.
The band’s killer new album, “400 Some Odd Songs in 400 Some Odd Nights,” is as catchy and fun as it is tight and well-produced — a development not hinted at by last year’s looser, lower-fire EP, “Because We Love You.”
The quartet — singer-guitarist Nathan Brasil, singer-bassist Suzi Allegra, drummer John Fate and newest member Taylor Rice (guitar, singing, “atmosphere”) — is gearing up for a 15-date West Coast/Northwest tour that will take them through the end of June. We talked to Suzi and John via e-mail in advance of tonight’s CD release/tour kick-off at the Skylark Lounge with Kissing Party and the Jim Jims.
What was the biggest challenge in recording the new album, and how did you come up with the crazy title?
Suzi: Overall, this recording was a wonderful experience. We were really happy working with James Barone. The only challenge I can personally think of is that we had so many ideas that we had to narrow down. The album title comes from a dream I had that Nathan and I enrolled in a class taught by Marc Bolan (T.Rex) titled, “400 Some Odd Songs In 400 Some Odd Nights.” Marc would pick a record for us to listen to and discuss each class session. It was pretty sweet.
John: I can’t really think of any challenges we had recording this album. It was the most wonderful tracking/mixing/mastering sessions I’ve ever been a part of. It’s hard to explain, but James has a living room that made me play the drums better. His roomates rule too. I only hope I am lucky enough to record every album with James Barone. Love ya buddy!
How much of the songs’ arrangements had been worked out live versus in the studio?
Suzi: Most of the arrangements were worked out live before we started recording, but there were a few changes we made in the studio, like extending certain sections, adding different percussion we hadn’t thought of before, etc.
Now that you’ve played a lot of shows, what kind of expectations do you have for the upcoming tour? What kind of sacrifices are you making to do it?
Suzi: We are all sacrificing a lot to make this tour happen, such as jobs, tons of money, living situations, time, energy, stability and maybe even a bit of sanity. But it is all so worth it. We went on a two-week tour last May (2008) as a three-piece when we released our EP, and it was a lot of fun and hard work. This time around, we’re a four-piece, have a full length and are going for about twice as long. Even though it seems like twice the work and sacrifices, I think it will be twice the fun and twice the pay-off for the band in the long run.
John: The band as a whole is extremely excited for our second tour. Of course we’ll miss all of our friends in Denver, but we made tons of friends the last time out, and can’t wait to see them all again! We just want people to hear our songs; whether it’s a crowd of two or a crowd of 200, we’re gonna play our hearts out just the same.
What does your “membership,” so to speak, in the Hot Congress collective bring to the band, and vice versa?
Suzi: I’m not sure I would say we have a “membership”, because it is more of a collective run by all the bands/people involved. I think that one of the goals of Hot Congress is to help shine light on some bands from Denver who are really good but haven’t received a lot of the same attention as others from here. It’s also a way for us to share resources with each other and show our mutual support. I’m excited for the first Hot Congress compilation to come out in the next couple of months because every track on it is excellent. I have hopes that in the future more compilations, shows, and other neat things will continue to grow and happen and that more great bands and artists will be involved.
John: When I first heard of the Hot Congress idea, I was a little skeptical. I figured, if a band is going to make it, a band is going to make it, and it doesn’t matter who they’re friends with. But since the first Hot Congress show we played and every single one after, I have felt extremely fortunate to have the friends that we do. I can’t wait to see what the future holds for the collective. Also, I really think it has helped out every band in the group with booking better shows, having better turn outs, and having better after parties!
What, in your opinion, is the best thing that could happen at a show? The worst?
Suzi: The best thing that could happen at a show is feeling really connected with the music and sharing that feeling with everyone present. The worst thing? I don’t know, maybe being killed on stage?
John: In February of 2008, the Pseudos played at an all-ages cafe downtown. When we finished our set, a homeless man approached me and said, “Hey man, you know who the fuck John Bonham is don’t you!” That might of been the coolest thing for me. Other than that though, there is no bigger rush when the whole crowd is moving to the beat and is lost in the moment. The Pseudo Dates love YOU, and when our shows and music convey that to people, that makes it all worth it. The worst thing? Try holding a fart for a 45-minute set because you think it might not be a fart.
John Wenzel is the co-editor of Reverb and an arts and entertainment writer for The Denver Post. He recently published the book “Mock Stars: Indie Comedy and the Dangerously Funny” and edits the Get Real Denver blog.