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the insiders: tennis

"sailing and performing actually have much more in common than you'd think."

by: liza darwin

February 14 2012

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Alaina Moore and Patrick Riley have a tough time staying still- and we're not just talking about their love for sailing. In fact, the nautical duo (and real life couple) have been going nonstop since they first burst upon the scene with their 2011 musical travelogue Cape Dory. But even with all this unplanned musical success, they haven't ditched their maritime roots. On the heels on the band's new album Young and Old, Moore fills Liza Darwin in on their whirlwind tour, their favorite cover songs, and how even despite this excitement, they still manage to squeeze in a couple of trips around the bay.

How did you originally link up with Patrick Carney of The Black Keys to produce the record?
Well, we really liked the idea of being the only ones to blame if the record was bad [laughing]. But we figured he would be the exception, because he actually had the experience of being in The Black Keys and engineering their own albums. He understands the line between being a producer and his own artist.

What's the backstory behind this album? I had never written poetry before, I had only written essay-style songs because I had been uncomfortable with the format.'I got lucky with Cape Dory, because nautical terms tend to rhyme with each other. Anyway, long story short, I'd read a Yeats poem about a woman young and old, and it really resonated with me. I love the way he wrote these little vignettes from this woman's perspective and how it slowly changes as she grows up. It inspired me to turn each song into a sort of vignette or memory.

Considering your band is named Tennis, what sports are you guys good at? As far as a team sport goes, sailing. Patrick is a pretty good tennis player and a decent basketball player. Maybe if there was a sport like extreme button sewing or something, i would be really good at that! [laughing]

You guys have also been releasing some covers...what prompted you to do that? It just feels weird because we weren't touring we didn't stop working; we felt like we wanted to produce things that could have a quick turnaround, so we did covers.

I'm guessing you haven't had a chance to sail recently since you've been so busy...We actually took one little trip in April and it was really amazing. But it was really severe weather, which was making us sway to the coast the whole time! Sailing and performing actually have much more in common than you'd think, except sometimes the anticipation is worse when you're at a show. Your survival instinct kicks into gear! 

What do you hope people get out of the album?
Instead of our sophomore record, we call it kind of our record-and-a-half. Cape Dory kind of counts, but we seriously wrote it by accident with no intention of sharing it. This time we wrote it with purpose. It still sounds like us, but we didn't want to write '50s pop songs anymore. We're in a different place now, and Young and Old shows that.

Buy Young and Old on iTunes.

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