Interview: The Courtneys

Since hearing “90210” from The Courtneys these garage rock ladies have been in seriously heavy rotation on my playlist. Their self-titled debut is insanely unforgettable and perfect for your summer of dancing, dreaming and shouting through life’s frustrations. I’m so excited they took the time to answer a few of my questions via e-mail, which you can read below. In two weeks we’ll also have a Guest Mix of the band’s influences.

TGE: This debut has been referred to as summer listening a lot. When you were recording and initially forming as a band how did you decide that “sun drenched pop” and “slacker pop” was the sound you wanted?

The Courtneys: When we formed we had no idea what we were going to sound like. Our general sound is the result of our combined musical interests- Sydney likes a lot of experimental and punk, Jen likes classic rock and bands on flying nun and Courtney is big into 80’s new wave. We actually have a lot songs about winter! Summer is a very special time in Vancouver. Even when we jam wanting to write a song that’s darker, it ends up sounding really summery. That’s just the sound of the Courtneys.

TGE: “Manion” is insanely catchy and one of my favorite current tracks. What exactly is it about what are you talking about with the reference to a “mandatory suicide?”

The Courtneys: Thanks so much! Regarding the first question you asked, Manion is actually one of our “darkest” songs. Jen wrote the lyrics about an especially tough winter. There were a lot of really heavy things going on. Mandatory Suicide is a reference to the Slayer song of the same name.

TGE: A lot of the tracks contain almost advice-like instructions. On “Insufficient Funds” you repeat that you can work for yourself, and “90210” you sing about letting the ocean fill you with emotion and to “slow down, chill out.” Is there anyone in particular you’re telling these things to? Is there any advice/life motto The Courtneys live by?

The Courtneys: A lot of our lyrics are about what is going on in life at the time – so any instructions are directed internally. When Jen wrote the lyrics to 90210 she was having a lot of anxiety about work/life balance, so that’s where the end vocals come into play. With insufficient funds, Sydney wrote the lyrics from a place of frustration. But in both cases the words can be motivational to anyone in that situation.

TGE: Burger Records is releasing your album on cassette. What was your first cassette or what cassette do you remember listening to a lot?

Sydney: I don’t remember my first tape, but my mom gave me my first CD when I was 10, and it still a treasured possession: MC Mario Mastermind – Feeling Station. We listened to it a lot on our last tour.

Jen: I had tapes, but I don’t remember what they were. My first CD was Siamese Dreams by The Smashing Pumpkins.

Courtney: When I was 8 I got a little tape ghetto blaster for Christmas. I had a bunch of tapes and the one I was most into was Music for the Masses by Depeche Mode. I would listen to it before soccer games to pump me up!

TGE: You guys love Keanu Reeves, really though who doesn’t? What’s your favorite Keanu role and what role could you see him playing if you could cast him in a Courtneys video?

Courtney: The Matrix and Point Break

Jen: My Own Private Idaho, Johnny Pneumonic, and Point Break, and Speed.

Courtney: Oh yeah Speed! Duh.

Sydney: The Matrix? I’m kind of behind on movies.

We all agree that he was at his sexiest in The Matrix and also Speed. We think it’s the buzz cut (but Sydney likes his long hair).

As for the music video, we have had a plan in the works for some time now about what we want to do for the song K.C. Reeves. The idea is to remake the scene from Weird Science where the nerds are putting pictures into the machine and then the hot lady appears – but instead, the three of us would be inserting pictures of Keanu, and then he would appear. We are pretty confident that if he heard the song he would both act in the video as well as fund it. We are still trying to get in touch with him – so if anyone out there can help us out email: (no just kidding, email:

TGE: Give us a Courtneys fun fact or something fans might be surprised to know.

The Courtneys: Jen’s afraid of weed and Sydney has never seen Point Break.

TGE: You mentioned you had just wrapped touring. What’s ahead for the group and what are you working on now?

The Courtneys: We are halfway through writing our next album, and we are looking forward to recording it this fall. We have a few shows lined up for the rest of the summer including Victory Square block party in Vancouver and Smmr Bmmr festival in Portland.

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