The Intensive Auditory Bliss of Tennis System
The Intensive Auditory Bliss of Tennis System
One of the most compelling bands to emerge from the Los Angeles music scene as of late is Tennis System. Unleashing their own brand of intensive auditory bliss, Tennis System is sure to enrapture those looking for a spirited adventure in sound. This power trio is sure to rock your world in an epic and persuasive way, whether it be their studio recordings or exhilarating live shows. On the first date of their recent tour supporting Teenage Wrist at The Hi Hat, we caught up with the membership of Tennis System to find out more about this dynamic indie collective on the rise. Read on…
Introduce yourself and tell me what you do in Tennis System.
Matty: I’m Matty and I play guitar and sing.
Garren: Garren and I play drums.
Sam: I’m Sam. I play bass.
Where is your band based out of and what is your local music scene like. I guess you are from here in L.A…
Matty: We’re from L.A. We’re all transplants but we call L.A. home now. As far as a local music scene goes – it’s weird – I don’t really want to ostracized ourselves – but we’re really sort of different from what a lot of people are doing here. It’s either like garage rock, psych rock, or the Hollywood end of things – or it’s very pop. We don’t really fit into a specific scene. We’re kind of doing our own thing and riding that wave for now.
Sam: Garren and I went to school Boston. Matty’s from D.C. – so I think we definitely sonically vibe with East Coast bands a lot better and just came up in those scenes – and are used to that sense of community within them. I sort of feel like we’re an East Coast band, even though we’re on the West Coast and we call this home.
Is there any overall story or concept behind your new single Lackluster?
Matty: Basically those lyrics are kind of what I was going through at the time. That’s mostly what a lot of the songs are. I kind of prefer for people to make their own sort of idea of what they mean to them. Sometimes something I could say could mean something else or be of other significance to that person. I’m more about that than about me being depressed and sad. Basically at the time, I was going through a breakup and all of this weird shit with my finances and a place to live. It was just a very trying time for me, and I guess you could kind of hear that in the lyrics. Whatever you think it is, that’s cool – as long as it’s not anything derogatory.
I was going to ask you about more lyrics, but we can move on…
Matty: I don’t mind talking about lyrics – I just hate when people are like, “Well, what does that song mean to you?” What it means to me I don’t think is as important as what it means to somebody else. While this is our art, we’d like the song to mean something to them. Maybe that song to them is like an awesome day in the summer time or the first they made out with their significant other. I want people to have their own scenario that it transcends onto.
Let’s keep it at that then. So how did your tour with Hundredth go and what were some of the highlights?
Garren: It was a really good tour. Just really awesome bands, both as people and as musicians. Super professional and really fun. We had a good time with other really good musicians who really care. They are just committed to both having fun and playing really good music. Solid.
Sam: The sense of community on this tour was better than any tour we’ve ever done. All the bands had each other’s back. We had some van trouble on tour which was really not that fun. But they were all super supportive with it. Things could have been a lot worse because of our situation, but Hundredth as well as Spotlights and Gleemer – who we were on tour with as well – made everything much better.
Have you heard Hundredth prior to this new album – their hardcore stuff?
Matty: Yes we’ve heard it. It’s awesome. We like the change though. It’s rad. We’re stoked for them, because it’s not an easy thing to do. Unfortunately, the way the music industry is now, it’s very much people put you in a box or pigeon hole you, and you get stuck with that. That’s a really difficult thing to get out of. We have worked really hard to stay out of that as well. When we first started, everybody was like “oh they’re a psych rock band” and we’re like “we’re not fucking psych rock” – or “oh, they’re a shoegaze band” and we’re like “we’re not a fucking shoegaze band.” We’re just like us. We just do our thing. We certainly have elements of that in what we do, but we don’t want to be the next “this” band. We just want to be our fucking band doing our music. If you fuck with it – awesome! If not, there’s plenty of other shit you can listen to.
If the music of Tennis System was a donut, what kind would it be and why?
Garren: I think it would have to have some sort of coffee or yerba mate type of caffeine in it. Some sort of pep in it.
Matty: Caffeine! Maybe some spice as well. We’re kind of stupid in that we like to torture ourselves with spice, so we would like other people to do the same. And some sort of sweetness too – to balance it out.
Sam: Maybe a coffee glaze on top. So a caffeine donut with spices and coffee glaze. And vegan. Matty is vegan. No one else is vegan.
Matty: I’m vegan. Sorry I’m that guy. Crucify me!
If Tennis System could open for any band, either now or from the past, who would it be and why?
Matty: I would have loved to open for this band called Eric’s Trip. I just really love that band – their live shows were fucking awesome. Either them or Nirvana would have been for me.
Sam: The Cure would be really amazing. That’s one of the first bands Matty and I bonded over. The Cure would definitely be the one.
Garren: Just to round out the spectrum, Blink in their heyday. Dumb and fast, like just that balls to the wall, two times as fast – every song just silly and having fun. That, to me, is one aspect of the epitome of music – that your live show being you onstage – rather than any front of what your music says you are. It’s just you being yourself with your friends in front of new fans or old fans who you want to be your friends. I think that would be fucking amazing too!
Matty: We basically are like that when we are in our van or on the road. That’s kind of our personality so to speak.
And what’s up next for you guys?
Matty: We just finished recording a new record, which we’re really stoked on. we’re putting out an EP with Grayface – we’re really excited about that. We’ve got South By Southwest in the Spring which we’re really stoked about. Hopefully we’ll have a tour either pre or post – our hopefully all of the above. Check our socials – we’re pretty up to date on those…
(Interview and Photos by Ken Morton)
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