After spending 30 seconds with Saint Motel, the indie pop group behind infectious tracks like ‘My Type’ and ‘Move,’ three things were clear: 1) they’re well-dressed, 2) their banter is on point, and 3) they are obsessed with Phoenix. We caught up at Governor’s Ball in NYC on June 3.
This interview with Aaron Sharp, Dak Lerdamornpong, Greg Erwin and A/J Jackson of Saint Motel has been edited and condensed for clarity.
How is festival life treating you?
A/J Jackson: It’s chill.
Aaron Sharp: Mad dope.
How is today going for you guys?
Greg Erwin: Great, I’ve been smelling pizza and fried chicken all day.
A/J: Chicken wings.
Dak Lerdamornpong: Garbage, put it in my body.
A/J: We had a trailer that was super sick, with wood paneling.
The crowd at your set was pretty amazing.
A/J: It’s called Gov Ball and we enjoyed it.
AS: Check it out.
Yeah, I think it’s going to be good.
GE: Check it out! Do your homework! It’s gonna be huge.
A/J: Oh, for sure. Little known fact, we are all Governors as you can see [shows wristband.] You can’t see, but if you’re listening at home…
That’s top tier. As media, I’m simply a Congressman, which I feel like ranks above Governor, but it doesn’t matter.
A/J: Oh my god. I love that. That’s cool.
I mean, politically, I’m probably higher than you.
A/J: You probably are. I’d say you’re President.
Who would you either love to go out with or bring with you on your tour?
What’s the first thing you guys feel like when you get on stage?
DL [mishearing]: Tinkling?
A/J: Tinkling. Like you have to tinkle.
GE: I feel lucky.
Aww, unpack that.
GE: It’s sort of a — it’s just lucky to be in a situation where you can play music on stage in front of thousands of people and watch them jump in unison. It’s fun.
People were singing every word during your set today. Does that mess you up?
GE: No, it’s the best.
A/J: It does not mess me up.
DL: If you forget the words at least they know the words. They’re like teleprompters.
What’s the weirdest or most unique venue you’ve ever played?
A/J: Back of a U-Haul truck.
AS: We played in a warehouse parking lot in downtown LA, east LA, and it was a totally illegal thing, they had a generator. And the stage was a U-Haul truck. There were people behind us, people in front of us, on top of us, people outside the truck. The springs of the truck were louder than our amps. It was legit. There are videos. [Ed. note: true story. See below.]
I’ve always wondered — in your song “Born Again,” is that line a Weezer reference? When you say, “I cleaned up, and found Jesus?”
A/J: No, it’s not. But those guys perhaps influenced us. They are born again as well.
Ha. I think they ripped off “Born Again” with “Say It Ain’t So”.
AS: Yea, time travel is a hell of a thing.
A/J: Rivers [Cuomo] definitely has a time machine. He’s a super super cool guy. We actually had some good times together in Chicago. He’s a wild man.
You’ve been doing these “virtualizers” for your videos. Can you explain what that is for people who don’t know what that is?
A/J: We finished our first ever virtual reality album. We had a video for every song and we’re calling them “virtualizers” because it’s a mix of a visualizer, a lyric video, a live video, 360 graphics, all kind of unique to the song. We’ve been putting them out every couple weeks to maximize it. An app is coming out for free, where you can actually kind of sit in the pool on the album cover listen to them, watch them, and learn interesting things about the album. You can walk inside the album.
Who would you love to collaborate with?
The answers to all these questions are Phoenix. I’ll just write it in. [Ed. note: Phoenix headlined that day at Gov Ball.]
AS: I would like to work with A R I Z O N A.
Who are you guys listening to right now?
GE: Funny enough, Phoenix!
Phoenix, if you’re listening, these guys really have a thing for you.
AS: Actually, on a real tip, Fleet Foxes is putting out their new record.
Yes! I was sent the record a while back. It’s so good.
AS: Oh, whaaaat? Give me your phone. Send it to me!
DL: Don’t let him touch your phone if you have photos.
AS: Our lawyer is their lawyer. I harass him twice a day. “Hey! You gonna send me that record?”
What’s next for you guys?
A/J: Festivals for a little bit longer and then we go back to Europe for a couple weeks in July. Then we’re doing a big headline run in the good ol’ North American continent.
GE: Good news, we’re going to be eating pizza pretty soon!
What kind of pizza?
A/J: Is this on the record? Come on, we can’t tell you that. Let’s just say…there will be dough.