It's hard to imagine, but it's true: Members of rock bands Gym Class Heroes, Say Anything and the Get Up Kids have united to create an electro-pop album. Calling themselves LadybiRds, the hybrid band, lead by GCH's Tyler Pursel and former Ley Royal Scam singer Teeter Sperber, will release "Regional Community Theater" Sept. 18 via Creep Records.
"Cheezpop" is the descriptor invoked by the album's press release, but the band itself calls it "Cyndi Lauper superfan meets... the Postal Service on diet pills... or like getting hit over the head with an ice cream cone." This is not exactly a sound you'd expect from earnest rock artists, so Billboard.com reached out to Pursel and Sperber for the reasons and inspirations behind launching LadybiRds.
It's rare that a band would describe themselves (or allow their publicists to describe them) as cheesy. What caused you all to embrace your inner bubble-gum pop pre-teen self?
Pursel: I think it just came naturally. Basically my love of Atari-type synth sounds and Teeter's voice just lend [themselves] to a sound that people would often categorize as cheesy. I think the majority of popular music right now is super-cheesy. I find it rather amusing, though, that certain artists get cred for their cheese-pop and others don't -- when really its all the same animal. A lot of "bands" or "artists" will rip on people like Hillary Duff, when in reality they have about as much to do with making "their" records as she does with hers.
Also, we don't take ourselves seriously at all. I think that is the downfall of most acts. We live in an era where anyone who has money and feels like it can get a Pro Tools rig and auto-tune and make a legit-sounding record. And that's basically what we did.
Sperber: We are indie-rock dirtbags who love, love, love cheesy tunes that you can't get out of your head even if you tried! Our love ranges from Cyndi Lauper to Hillary Duff, from the Go Go's to Ash Simps (first record, natch)!
We just read a review that said "This record is so sweet and poppy that it makes the Postal Service sound like Merzbow." Dude, Merzbow is, like, this aggro-Japanese experimental noise band! That, to me, is the biggest compliment we could get, short of being asked to be on the soundtrack to "DeGrassi: The Next Generation." But the kicker of this all is that Archers Of Loaf, Superchunk and Jawbreaker are the bands that shaped our musical lives. LadybiRdS was created from two opposing worlds that were probably never meant to collide -- but work really well in creating our sugar sugar dance tunes. We're showerpop, man. And we love to embrace it, just like singing at the top of your lungs while you lather up.
Why is it called "Regional Community Theater"?
Sperber: When we were working pre-production, finessing the vocal patterns to this one song where the lyrics are "How can we be the best/ Yet be failing all the time?" I sang the word "best," like a total, unabashed thespian spazz, arms raised to the sky, channeling my very best Bernadette Peters. Tyler and I both started laughing hysterically... It was a totally ridiculous moment. Once we composed ourselves I said, "Geez Ty, I am so sorry for getting all Regional Community Theater on your ass" to which he said "It's okay, Teet, as long as that can be the title of our record." I said, "Done and done!" The rest is showerpop history.
Pursel: Teeter is also very dramatic and super involved to the point of insanity with anything she works on or that is close to her heart so I think of it as also a sort of social comment on that.
How does one detox from making records like this? And will you be making another?
Pursel: Hopefully at some point. I'll be on tour for the next three months or so with Gym Class Heroes so it's hard to say when, if ever. I really like being in the studio and making songs and producing stuff but I hate all the bullsh*t, pressure, responsibility and expectations that come with making a record. I'm in the process of putting together a studio in my home so I plan on making a lot of music when I have some time off -- some of which might work its way into some new LadybiRds material. However, I definitely want to look into alternative means of releasing it. Really no one buys CDs anymore, and honestly who would bother when you can just steal it off the Internet... so maybe we'll just make a record and leak the whole damn thing.
Sperber: There hasn't been much time for detox yet, because we finished recording in January and then started immediately on all things post-production; mixing, mastering, distribution, press, marketing, radio, video, spastic Internets street team overthrows, etc. etc. I used to work in the music industry, so this is the part where I feel most comfortable, far more than being the vocalist! Swear.
I would love, love, love to record another album, this one with a zillion guests -- Rachel from Zolof The Rock And Roll Destroyer, Trever Keith from The Legion Of Doom, Will Sheff from Okkervil River (OMG Best Band Ever, fully cracked a hole in my sonic universe), Tony Thaxton from Motion City Soundtrack on drums. It would be totally amazing. And maybe we would let the real Andy Lex (inspiration for sappiest jam on the record, track three, "Andy Lex") do a spoken word piece on how much he loves me, even though he doesn't and never did. He's a mega-ham, so I am sure he'd have no problem being emotionally compromised if it meant exposure. I know Ty wants to make one too, I just hope he wants to make one with me. I'm a handful, or so I'm told.