Fleetwood Mac and Bagels Bring Slothrust to Tears
While we question at least one-third of the theorem that sex is natural, fun and best when it's one-on-one, we know that intimacy is inexorably enmeshed with most of our favorite art. In today's Late Night Dedication, we chat with Slothrust's Leah Wellbaum about the perils of dating EDM fans, the perennial power of Bright Eyes and the cathartic benefits of crying in bagel shops. Their new album, Everyone Else, is out October 28 via Dangerbird.
What was on the first mix you made for a crush?
Trying to remember. The first one — I feel like maybe I've done one before this, but the first one that comes to mind is that there was someone who made me mixtapes when I was a sophomore in high school. I really liked getting those, so I made them one back. I made them a couple. I think that that had stuff like Bright Eyes, Built to Spill, Feist, Mountain Goats — definitely some hip-hop, although I'm trying to think what it would have been. Maybe some Eminem?
Uh huh. That's not particularly romantic, but I feel like all of my mixes I try to have a sense of humor about what they are.
That's always important. What albums can you not listen to because of a breakup?
Because of that person?
Are there any exes you associate with certain albums in general? For me, I can't listen to the second Grimes record because it reminds me too much of my ex.
The second Grimes record?
Yeah, my ex-girlfriend was really into Grimes. Also really into being a heartbreaker.
Oh, perfect. How ideal. You know, I feel like I've gotten to a point in my life where I try not to be too precious about things. But definitely for a while, I couldn't get down with Bright Eyes because it made me feel lots of feelings. I also think I'm someone who is good when things flip a bit upside down for me and force me to feel things. I definitely can have a guard up in certain ways. Trying to think of others — oh, Metric.
Which record? Is it the one with "Poster of a Girl" on it?
The one that had "Combat Baby" on it [Old World Underground, Where Are You Now?]. Yeah, definitely that. I remember being shown that song and, I don’t know. It definitely stuck with me. I didn't want to listen to it for a while after that. Built to Spill for a bit, but then that kind of faded out. I'm sure I could listen to it now, but Metric is the first thing that comes to mind. That's one I definitely put off for a while after that.
What are your thoughts on PDA at a gig?
I don’t really care one way or another. Whatever makes people feel happy is totally cool with me.
Does going to a show constitute a date?
I think it depends on the pretense of how the two of you ended up at the show together. But I would say yeah; I don’t see why not. I think it's a good date, actually. It's a good solution. If you have a good conversation going, it's an outside deal. But if you don't, you can just listen to the music and hang out, and then maybe you'll have something to talk about afterwards.
Do you think it's corny to have music on when you're having sex?
No, I don't think it's corny. I think that it definitely brings a different vibe into the situation, depending on what the music is, but I don't see anything wrong with that.
What musician would you want to make out with the most, dead or alive?
Oh my gosh. I don’t know. That one's hard to say. I feel like I have an instinct not to oversexualize musicians that I'm really interested in, and I guess people in general. But I'm sure there'd be tons of them I'd be happy to make out with. [Laughs]
Do you think music taste matters at all in a relationship?
Yeah, definitely. I think it matters. I think it'd be quite difficult to be with someone in general whose tastes just didn't line up with yours. I think it's totally cool to be into different things. I think that's good to be able to show each other new music, but if you don't like the same feelings in music, I think that would be pretty difficult. I definitely don't think I could get down with someone who was most interested in EDM.
What are some other deal-breakers?
Other types of music?
Yeah, or bands. I'm pretty much allergic to Muse and I could never date a Muse fan.
Oh, interesting. That's an interesting one to hate.
All the conspiracy theories — I just don't have time for that shit.
My perspective on music isn't is a band good or is a band bad. It's is the band accomplishing what their sound is trying to accomplish or are they doing something ... interesting outside of that? And the bands that I think really successful accomplish what they were going for, but [one] that i'm just not interested in listening to is Sublime.
I'm with you on that. Would you ever date anyone that was a fan of your band?
Well, I think if I met someone under the pretense that the only reason that I knew them was because they were interested in the band, I'd be less likely to get involved with them, perhaps. But I think that I wouldn't be able to date somebody who didn't like the music that I made, because that would be — we play a lot and I write a lot. If they weren't interested in it at all or disliked it, I don't think that would be the right thing.
Would it weird you out if someone came up to you after a show and was like, "You don't know me, but I've listened to every single one of your records and I'm obsessed with you"? Would that intimidate you, or would you find that flattering?
That's happened a decent amount of times, actually. And I think it's totally flattering, so long as the person has decent boundaries and isn't aggressive. Definitely a case-by-case thing. Mostly flattering, so long as they're not aggressive.
Have you ever cried while listening to a song, and if so, what was the last time?
I'm sure it's something I've done tons of times. I just find this one particularly funny: I was at Bagelsmith in Brooklyn one time and I was having a hard time, and the Fleetwood Mac song "Dreams" came on, and I just cried in that bagel store.
Did anyone see you cry?
The person I was with did, and they were nice about it. I feel like I've had the same thing happen with "Heart of Gold" by Neil Young, definitely.
That's a great one. Definitely a song that grounds you when you feel lost and sort of makes you come to terms with something, whatever that may be.
On a related note, what musician do you think knows the most about love?
I don’t know if I would say this person knows the most about love, but someone who I think who has a really special perspective on it —and really just like actually is astounding in translating it into music — is Fiona Apple. She's amazing. She's next-level, the real deal.
Anybody that has anxiety knows that she speaks that language. She writes a lot of love songs, but also a lot of hate songs. Do you like love songs or hate songs more?
I like honest songs, whatever that might be. Generally, I think relationships are quite complicated, and I like songs that deal with both. Something I definitely was drawn to — at least when I was younger — are songs that are about love, in a sense that they're about isolation and [a] sort of detachment and lack of ability to feel truly connected. That's why I was drawn to a bunch of Bright Eyes — because I think he wrote a lot of music about that.
Have you ever had to talk to somebody about a song you've written about them or that they've perceived to be written about them?
Yes. Yes, I have. There was someone that I dated in high school that thought that one of our most — probably our most popular song, just because of getting more radio play than others, they definitely interpreted it being about them, and they were mad at me for a while. And then finally, they were like, "Yeah, I know you wrote that song about me." I was like, "Which one?" Because I actually had written a song about them, but it wasn't the one they had thought. They were like definitely kind of butthurt about that. The fact [was] that they had thought I had written a song about them that was pretty cold, but the one I did write about them was actually pretty nice. No, that's not you. [Laughs]