Brooke and Aaron are two people from Brooklyn, NY who perform together under the name Tammy. Their music is a gorgeous brew of indie, country and folk influences, and their debut album This (released late last year) slopes gently back and forth between doe-eyed romance and dagger-eyed contempt, to deliciously bittersweet effect. It's a great rainy day album, and the two members of Tammy very kindly agreed to answer a few of my questions about it - here goes:
image source: facebook.com/whoistammy
The Album Wall: Why did you choose the name 'Tammy'?
Brooke: Tammy's the name of a character in a rock opera we haven't written yet.
TAW: How long have you two been writing and performing together? Where did it all start?
B: We started writing together in 2009 and performing around the same time. We were both living in the Williamsburg area of Brooklyn. We would just get together, write for fun and play gigs as a duo locally. Primarily at the beloved Pete's Candy Store.
TAW: None of your songs seem to be explicitly sexual in nature, so why do you refer to yourselves as a 'sex folk band'?
B: Cause we make sexy folk music, I guess.
TAW: And why is the album called 'This'?
Aaron: I don’t really know why we called the album 'This'.
B: So we could call the second album 'That'.
TAW: On opening track Los Angeles, you urge, "don't trust anybody who's too happy" - is this a rule that you really live by?
B: That line is part of the song's whole criticism of LA and Hollywood being filled with artificial people. It is not a criticism of happiness. We support happiness.
TAW: Have you been to Los Angeles? Is that song written from experience?
B: We both have been to Los Angeles. It's actually a lovely place. I think, if you read between the lines a bit, this song is actually more in praise of LA than anything. All the things we seem to be complaining about - like the sun shining all day, everything being okay - are actually quite nice. The lines about botox and carbohydrates, Ugg boots, not trusting people who are too happy or too rich...those are all true too, but they don't make the sunshine feel any worse.
TAW: What's the significance of the 'pink shoes' mentioned several times in Hated It (With You)?
B: I went through a bad breakup and had these amazing pink shoes that I wore all the time. So we put 'em in the song.
TAW: The song Away for the Weekend opens with a lovely line: "Travelled on horseback to get under your skin". Where did this image come from? Why horseback?
A: I have never ridden a horse. I think I was trying to illustrate the extremes of what I would do to make this girl feel something. So it made sense on this hyper-personal level, but then putting it out there it felt good on the level of placing it in kind of a cinematic other age, before there were cars...glad you dug it!
TAW: What's your favourite track on This?
A: Probably Away for the Weekend at the end of the day. But I think there's a misunderstanding where people think we're talking about going on vacation. Really, I was trying to say that I need a way to get through the weekend alone. The repeated line "I need a way" speaks to that.
B: Mine's Hated It (With You) because it was the first in a series of 'hate songs' that help me get over breakups.
TAW: What are you guys up to at the moment? Any early plans for a second album?
A: I am actually in LA at the moment, checking this place out a little more thoroughly. There's more botox and plastic in people out here than I actually thought. It's a little disturbing at first...we should be coming back with more music sometime soon.
B: Absolutely writing new tunes now...stay tuned. Definitely more hate songs!
Huge thanks to Brooke and Aaron for their answers. Click here to read my review of This, or listen to the album in full on SoundCloud. Tammy can also be found on Spotify and the iTunes Store.