This week I met up with Somervillains Mini Dresses in Harvard Square to ask them a little bit about their sound, summer plans, and what they love about the Boston music scene. All three members Caufield, Luke, and Lira, were able to meet with me.
Boston Hassle: Who are your major musical influences?
Lira: I guess for me, Iʼve always been really influenced by major dream pop figures like Cocteau Twins and Mazzy Star, with those really spare hushed vocals that do so much with melody.
Caufield: The Chills, The Clean, Sneaky Feelings… basically all those lo-fi jangle bands on Flying Nun. Also world music, especially Malian guitar and Indonesian gamelan. We collect a lot of international pop, too: lots of Spanish and French pop and international LPs and folk music. When I write guitar parts, I try and force myself to push beyond generic indie pop signatures and idioms.
BH: Are there any local bands you are really into right now?
Lira: Weʼre really into Feral Jenny. We really like Gracie. We are really excited about our show with Bummed, from Somerville.
Caufield: New Highway Hymnal is great! The drummer Travis Hagan is one half of Little Death Records, which put out our album.
BH: How long have you been making music together?
Lira: Well, Caufield and I started this project in the summer of 2012, when we were living in Austin. We had also started another project, a super lo-fi fuzzy garage pop project called Silkies, which was an entirely different beast altogether. And so some days, weʼd write and record Mini Dresses stuff, and when we got bored with that weʼd switch to Silkies, and vice versa. When we moved to Boston, we actually pursued Silkies as our main gig for a while, but Mini Dresses ultimately took over.
BH: What do you like about the Boston music scene?
Lira: I feel like itʼs really easy to start a band here. Itʼs a very self-supporting system, very interconnected with lots of like-minded people. All the bookers know the bands and all the bands know the bookers.
Luke: I agree. I guess I wasnʼt putting myself out there when I first moved here. I felt the scene was insular but thatʼs really not true. You just have to go to shows and show that you are interested.
Caufield: Especially if you are new here. You have to really work for it here. The Boston music scene has a strong work ethic.
Luke: One of the bookers who has really helped the music scene and bring together new bands is Illegally Blindʼs Jason Trefts.
Caufield: The same thing goes for the robust writing of institutions like Allston Pudding, Boston Hassle, Vanyaland, Dig Boston, and Boston Compass.
BH: What do you like about Boston?
Luke: The winter (laughs).
Lira: Proximity to other cities. The compactness of New England makes it really easy to get around. Itʼs cool that you can get to Providence in under an hour, or that you can take a bus to New York. Also having a variety of cultural experiences at your disposal: museums like the Gardner and the MFA. Also the food scene here is incredible.
BH: What are you as a band working on right now?
Caufield: We are writing, we are actually making demos and intentionally recording songs. Trying to be measured and thoughtful. Hopefully going to a new studio; Spenser Grella, who is in the band Creaturos, is opening up a new studio with some other friends and we want to try and record there when itʼs open.
BH: Are there any non-local bands you would like to play with or tour with?
Luke: I want to play with Yo La Tengo!
Caufield: I was really influenced by Pure X when we lived in Austin: super melodic, with more patient soundscapes. I think we formed Mini Dresses with that image in mind. Lots of washed-out guitars and understated songwriting.
Lira: Alex Calder or Alex G or Mac Demarco.
BH: What are your plans for this summer?
Lira: Shows, shows, and more shows! Oh yeah, and recording.
BH: Where do you like to practice?
Lira: We used to practice in the EMF/New Alliance building in Central, which was always humming with sounds from all kinds of bands, but now we practice in Arlington. The vibe in Arlington is…Itʼs like Gilmore Girls or something.
BH: In addition to music what are your other creative pursuits and interests?
Luke: I do a lot of other solo recording stuff. I havenʼt released much else.
Lira: I love cooking and baking. Iʼm always baking at home.
Caufield: Iʼm into cameras and film. I do field recordings sometimes.
Catch Mini Dresses at The Lily Pad 5/24 with Blonde Elvis, Bummed, and Beach Toys or in August at Fuzztival 2015