Speedy Ortiz – Thanks for Asking!

Written by on September 16, 2023

We ask the band Speedy Ortiz six timeless questions. Their reply was speedy.

RRX: Every comic book hero has an origin story. What is the origin story for the band? (points if you tell it like a comic book origin.)

Sadie: In the year 2003 I was papercut by a jagged button on a Tascam four track. It instilled in me a supersensory power to tune into the frequencies of a cassette tape. My powers lay dormant for many years while I played in a rock band with another recording engineer. Then in 2011 the otherworldly energies coursing within me erupted, and I was called by forces outside of my control to begin Speedy Ortiz as my home recording project. As the recordings’ glowing energies grew in size and magnitude, it was necessary to recruit other musicians cursed with the same wretched Power. In the year 2016 our might became so strong we were forced to move to Philadelphia where there was already a high concentration of musicians infected with Rock Mutation. The only cure is to go to Rancho de la Luna and make an album called Rabbit Rabbit (2023, Wax Nine).

RRX: Every band’s first song is a milestone. But so is the latest song. Describe the first song/album you recorded, and also the latest song/album you recorded; what are the differences?

Joey: The first album I recorded was with my high school band, in the basement of my guitarist’s guitar teacher’s home studio. That was in New Jersey; we all took a train up together to record at this guy’s house. The band was called Linus and the song was called “Novador.” As a newcomer to Speedy Ortiz, the first song I learned and also recorded was “Scabs.” We did it in Joshua Tree at Rancho de la Luna.

They’re similar in that they were both recorded in home studios. They’re different in that one was a lot more expensive than the other. And I’m a much more proficient player and more competent now, so it sounded better!

RRX: Like songs, every band has a unique feeling about their first show. What was your first show like? Was it your best show? If not, what was your best show like?

Sadie: The first Speedy Ortiz show was an impromptu two song set in 2011 at a basement in Brooklyn called Alternate White House. Sam from Two Inch Astronaut played drums despite us never having met before that day. It was not the best Speedy Ortiz show but there is a YouTube video of me doing some very high kicks in the audience and that was pretty impressive. Our best show is every single one we get to play this year with our friends in Washer, Poolblood, Foyer Red, Baths, Spacemoth, Nicole Yun, Suzie True, or Jo Passed!

RRX: Music genres are difficult for some bands. Some strictly adhere; others not so much. What is your perspective on the genre you play, or the genres you hover around?

Audrey: My feeling on genres is that they are more orientations or directions to face in, instead of hard definitions. It’s fun to look in one of those directions when you’re making a specific song—like when we looked at radio rock for a song like “Ghostwriter,” vs. post-hardcore for a song like “Kitty.” It’s like taking on different roles as musical identities. I do think genres are real, in that they are forms of intention or community. But just like a person can have many different intentions, identities, and communities in life, it’s fun to play in different spaces.

RRX: It’s a lot of fun living in the present, but we all collect memories and give birth to dreams. We’re talking dreams here. Where you see yourself next year? In the next five years?

Andy: In the next year, I hope to establish a new studio space in Philadelphia that we can work out of as a band. In the next five years, I hope to live in an area abundant with berries so I can pick them and eat them at any time of year. And also have a studio.

RRX: We all get a little support from those around us. And we also can be impressed by our fellow bands. Who do you admire in your community, and why?

Andy: We are so lucky to live in such a vibrant music community. Philadelphia is rich with exciting bands that we love. Some that come to mind are Hop Along, Soul Glo, Remember Sports, Mannequin Pussy, Grocer and Kristine Leschper. Additionally, we’d like to thank all the people who live in and work at the underground DIY spots in Philadelphia. It’s a thankless task, and without them we wouldn’t have the strong, thriving music scene that we enjoy and hold so dear to our hearts.

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