Tennis talks SXSW, Lollapalooza, Primavera and hometown hate - Reverb

The Reverb Interview: Alaina Moore of Tennis

So, everyone in Denver officially hates Tennis right now.

At least that’s what Facebook, Twitter and a few other rumblings around the local Internet would lead you to believe.

In case you missed it, Alaina Moore, Patrick Riley and James Barone recently filmed a video interview with some west coast website that sounds hilariously similar to this one (verb/re/verb).

Around the 0:37 mark, Moore unknowingly digs her own grave in mumbling the phrase, “We don’t have good record stores in Denver, I’ll be the first to admit.”

It was her Dylan-going-electric moment. Only, instead of disillusioned fans, the backlash came from people who already asserted themselves as non-fans of this troubled local buzz band.

So, was Moore right? Nah, there’s definitely great record stores here. I moved to Denver at the end of August and have probably dropped well over $500 bucks between Twist and Wax Trax in that time. But is she deserving of the social media wrath akin to that whole Sarah-Palin-blood-libel thing?

There remains palpable irony in writing off Tennis as nothing but a blog-buzz-no-good-for-nothin’-hype-band, then losing your shit over something the lead singer says…on a blog. If Tennis, as a band, should not be taken seriously, why take Moore’s words as gospel?

Reverb caught up with Moore during the band’s east coast travels as they prepare to head to South By Southwest next week.

What have you guys been up to these last three months? How does it feel to finally have the record out?

The last few months have been spent touring almost constantly. Having the album out has been really amazing. Our live shows are more meaningful now that we have something tangible to point to.

What are you most and least looking forward to about South By?

This will be our first time as a band at SXSW so we are all really excited. We can’t wait to play with Yuck, we haven’t seen them before but we really love their album. Overall, I think we are looking forward to seeing the bands we love, while dreading the infamous chaos of SXSW.

What’s the best city you’ve played so far on this tour? The worst?

It’s tough to say, we have had a lot of great shows in the past few months. We finally feel like we’re at that point where people come to our shows because they know and like our music, rather than out of curiosity. Whenever we have a bad show it’s always because of us; one of us is sick or misses home, it’s never because of the city.

You’re playing Lollapalooza and Primavera this summer. What do you have planned besides that?

We are probably going to throw up on stage at those shows. I can’t even imagine what it’s going to be like sharing a stage with some of my favorite artists. To answer your question though, we plan on spending most of the summer in Denver to spend time with our friends and family.

Denver seems stormier than usual these days (wink). Does it still feel like home?

There does seem to be more contention regarding our band in Denver than elsewhere. I’m sure it stems from the fact that we have been given the chance to represent an underrepresented city. One thing we have realized is how difficult it is to portray yourself and your music when your only medium is a truncated interview pieced together by someone who doesn’t know you. Regardless, we have an amazing support group of friends and fans here who have done so much for us in the short period of time we have been a band. Perhaps we have been remiss by thinking of Denver simply as home rather than a city we need to win over. But having both grown up here, it is the place we go to be ourselves rather than “Tennis.”

Where will you be come Fall?

We will be in Denver. We hope to be busy writing and recording new material this Fall. But it seems like everyday something comes up and changes our plans. We try to stay flexible with our plans but not with our goals. New music lies somewhere in our future.

Follow our news and updates on Twitter, our whereabouts on Foursquare and everything else on Facebook. Or send us a telegram.

John Hendrickson is the Managing Editor of Reverb and a multimedia journalist for The Denver Post.

  • boyhollow aka Michael Trundle

    I think this addresses the whole crux of why everyone is so pissed off, John. Tennis never tried to win Denver over. Hell, they never really even had a name in Denver before they were big. nnPerhaps you don’t understand this – and apparently Tennis doesn’t either – because, as you just said, you moved here 7 months ago: Denver music has had a very hard time getting any notice or serious attention for years and years. There are a lot of people, myself included, who have been involved in Denver music for a long time. We’ve supported ourselves, our friends, our friends’ bands, bands that we didn’t know anyone in, and even bands that we didn’t care for personally. We’ve done everything we could to help each other and this music scene grow stronger, and most of us have done it in a collective fashion, with the mindset that helping each other helps everybody. nnAnd then along comes Tennis. They’ve established no real relationships on a large scale with other musicians in Denver – and I mean as musicians, I don’t know about their personal relationships. They’ve hardly played any shows in Denver that I or anyone I’ve spoken to is aware of. They really haven’t paid their dues in the local scene as far as most of these people can tell. They certainly haven’t paid them in our record stores, as Alaina’s ill-spoken comment proves.nnAnd this is all well and good. I don’t personally care for their music. I find it a little contrived and typical, but that’s ok because it’s just my opinion. A lot of people apparently love it. So good for them. They managed to get some fame and attention without putting in any real time in the local Denver music scene. Big deal. That’s not what people are pissed about.nnPeople are pissed because, as far as anyone who sees that video is concerned, they (or Alaina, anyway) spoke FOR the Denver music scene. And in speaking for the Denver music scene they not only said something asinine, they insulted some of the people who have worked the hardest and the most selflessly for our local music scene: the record stores owners and employees.

  • Mike L

    Like vowing to never watch a Woody Allen film because of what he did or suddenly hate your favorite local sports team for something the owner or a player said that you didn’t agree with? I am utterly stunned how thin skinned people are. If you don’t like Tennis , just say so. If you do, get over it. Some of this comes from pure jealousy.

  • boyhollow aka Michael Trundle

    Oh yeah, and still no apology for her thoughtless remark? Not helping anyone’s opinion.

  • Clockyalex

    Taking it personally? REALLY? Or are you just the kind of person who constantly needs to be outraged by … SOMETHING? nnIf I wasn’t from Denver and read this, I’d be more appalled by the over-reaction to what amounts to be passing remark. A tempest in a Denver hipster teapot. Just like Christians who end up calling attention to something no one had heard of and only end up creating more sympathy for their target, soon the whole blogosphere will wonder, ” Why so sensitive, Denver hipsters? ” nnIt’s not like they said that they’re more popular than Jesus. Wait a minute! Maybe this was Tennis’ plan the whole time.

  • Ipreferbadminton

    Tennis just strikes me, live and recorded, as a band to whom too much has been given, too soon, without all that much sweat or evident artistic merit. So it’s hard for me to muster much vitriol when the lead singer makes some passing, ignorant comment denigrating our record stores. I just don’t care much for the band or for what she has to say. So she’s just as ignorant of our record stores as the band seems isolated from the heart of Denver’s music community. So what? … But I also don’t buy the notion that Denver is all that underrated as a music scene, given how many varied local bands have emerged nationally and beyond in the past decade or so, from DeVotchKa to The Fray to String Cheese to 3OH!3 to Flobots to more currently rising outfits like Nathaniel Rateliff to the Epilogues to Gregory Alan Isakov. The band I’m least excited to see join those ranks is Tennis, which at present doesn’t have a sound large enough to carry a venue any bigger than the Larimer Lounge. I need to be convinced of their growth and staying power as a band before I give a whit what comes out of their mouths.

  • mike k.

    has anyone considered that maybe tennis’ rocket to popularity just shows us (those denver musicians who work so hard and paid our supposed dues) that we’ve been doing it wrong?

  • boyhollow aka Michael Trundle

    I’m pretty sure I did say that…

  • boyhollow aka Michael Trundle

    I’m not taking it personally. They weren’t talking about me, and I don’t own or work in record store. However, different things matter to different people. This one obviously matters to a lot of people, and who are you to determine what should and should not matter for all of them? I’ll bet there’s something you really care about that I would find petty and ridiculous. The difference is that I wouldn’t waste my time telling you so.

  • Fillerbill

    Has anyone ever mentioned their music? Or is this purely political??

  • Jmpmk2

    It absolutely is entirely political, because their music isn’t striking enough to create such dissention on its own. The live set is totally underwhelming, the backstory is totally contrived, and when no one cares anymore at the onset of minute sixteen, another boat trip will be in order, because they certainly didn’t make any friends here during the process.nnThe original source of this hate wasn’t that video, by the way; it was a Ric Baca article, where they said Denver didn’t “get” them and they were on their way to San Francisco or New York. No, Tennis. We absolutely “get” you, and probably better than the great blogosphere from how it sounds.

    • Keep it real

      New York would eat them alive.