Within the span of a couple of years, Speedy Ortiz progressed from playing shows at frat house basements on the East Coast to touring with Pavement’s Stephen Malkmus. Although the rock quartet from Massachusetts, made up of Sadie Dupuis, Darl Ferm, Mike Falcone and Devin McKnight, isn’t officially touring anymore, the members are still playing festivals and small shows as they work on a new album. Just before their set at the Pitchfork Music Festival, The Daily Californian sat down with Speedy Ortiz to talk about music festivals, the band’s rise to fame and the Simpsons.
The Daily Californian: A year or two ago, you guys were playing house shows on the East Coast.
Sadie Dupuis: We still do that!
DC: But now you guys are playing on a stage at Pitchfork. Do you freak out when you think about that?
Darl Ferm: We’re doing both.
SD: You know, spice up your life, as the Spice Girls said.
DF: I feel like we played a house show somewhat recently.
SD: We’re playing one in a few weeks. We’re playing (in) a kitchen in Philly in less than two weeks, I think.
DC: Has this influx of popularity changed the way you play music?
SD: It makes it harder for people to come see us in basements.
Mike Falcone: We just have to find bigger basements to play in.
SD: Yeah, like the basements of grocery stores. Why don’t we play in grocery stores? That’s probably what we should do next.
DC: Why basements?
SD: My thoughts about basements is that a lot of the bands that I really like who are way bigger than we are, like Screaming Females, still play basements shows and warehouse shows. There’s really no reason for us not to. Unless we hated basements and hated playing without a perfect sound system, I think we actually err towards close-quarter shows and shows with energy. I don’t think there will be a point where we don’t want to do that.
DC: What is your dream venue to play?
SD: Grocery store.
Devin McKnight: Yeah, we went over this just recently — space is the next stop.
DC: What have you guys seen and really liked at the festival?
MF: Pusha T.
SD: Pusha T was great. Dum Dum Girls were great too. I liked seeing them at a smaller club last night. We’ve played with them at different festivals a few times now, but they were awesome in a small room.
DC: What are you looking forward to for Sunday’s lineup?
MF: Schoolboy Q and Earl Sweatshirt.
DM: Deafheaven, Kendrick (Lamar), Slowdive, most things today.
DC: What’s your favorite nonmusic-related thing at the festival? Have you guys walked around a bit yet?
DF: The poster tent is awesome.
SD: What’s it called? Flat-something?
DF: Flatstock. And the record collection is really good.
MF: If you dig around enough, you can find some good cassettes. And then you don’t have to spend as much, as records cost more.
DC: So if the world were going to end in a year —
DF: And it will.
SD: I don’t think I could date someone who didn’t think the world was going to end in 10 years.
DC: (If the world were going to end in a year) and you were allowed to play any one festival, what would it be?
MF: We got this question the other day, and I’m still sticking with the Simpsons one.
DM: Oh yeah, Hullabalooza. The Smashing Pumpkins would have to play.
SD: Sonic Youth plays too, right?
DM: Yeah. And Peter Frampton. He’s headlining.
SD: My answer is, honestly, still the Gathering of the Juggalos. That’s my real-world answer.
MF: Which, in a way, is kind of fictional and nonfictional.
DC: Have you applied to that yet? What’s the application process like?
SD: I don’t know. We haven’t looked into it enough. I don’t know if we’re quite at the point yet where the juggalos and juggalettes would accept us. But we’re working on changing our image and branching into that market.
Contact Art Siriwatt at [email protected].