BY RYAN THOMAS | Jonk Music
New Orleans-based duo Generationals have quite a knack for crafting accessible indie pop. With an expert vintage sensibility, they draw heavily from sun-drenched '60s psychedelia and carefree '50s doo-wop. With such influences, it's no wonder their songs are so damn catchy; they've earned spots in numerous commercials, movies, and television shows.
But Generationals don't want to make things too easy on us. Their newest EP release, Lucky Numbers, is heavily electronic. With stuttering synths and '80s drums, the instrumentation may stray from previous material, but Lucky Numbers is as catchy as anything the Generationals have made. Songs like the title track and "Hazel House" have infectious, radio-friendly hooks that would surely win the hearts of anyone with ears. The EP marks a natural but appropriately forward movement in Generationals' sound.
Generationals will play High Noon Saloon this Wednesday, October 10, with New York singer-songwriter Devin and Milwaukee rockers Sat. Nite Duets on opening duty. In advance of the gig, I spoke to Generationals' Ted Joyner about their writing process, new material, and crappy tour vehicles.
RYAN THOMAS: It's been said that you have played together since age 13. How does knowing each other for so long inform the music-making process?
TED JOYNER: "I think the main thing is that we've just developed a sort of short hand in communicating with each other about how we want something to sound. So instead of having to explain at length how we want a part to be, we can just say like two things and we will know what the other means."
R.T.: You have licensed music for many big-name projects, including the movie Hall Pass and TV show Chuck. How do you decide which offers to approve or reject?
T.J.: "We just say yes to all of it! No, not really. I guess if something is just too weird or lame to us, we say, 'no,' but most stuff that comes our way is usually at least kind of cool so we usually say, 'yes.'"
R.T.: Though you've experimented with synths before, your newest single "Lucky Numbers" seems to mark a bit of a departure from previous material. What sort of sounds can we expect from the new EP?
T.J.: "Definitely some synths, yes, but there are still guitars on it too. Some of it's different but I think it's still definitely us. It's some of my favorite stuff we've ever done."
R.T.: Since you are both multi-instrumentalists, what's the writing process like? How collaborative is it?
T.J.: "We both start ideas on our own and then try to develop them together. I'll just be messing with like a keyboard part or a sort of melody line or whatever and then when I think there might be something there, I'll show it to Grant [Widmer] and he might say, 'yeah, go with that,' or he might take it and go off and add stuff to it or like re-engineer it completely maybe. Almost every song develops in a different way — so there's no real one process."
R.T.: You have done several U.S. tours and have opened for bands like Broken Social Scene and Two Door Cinema Club. With some experience under your belt, what advice would 2012 Generationals give to 2009 Generationals?
T.J.: "Don't buy that green van!"