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TOPS Interview

Sep 18, 2017

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We got a chance to talk with Jane Perry of TOPS ahead of her show at the 7th St Entry tomorrow, 9/19. TOPS consists of Jane Penny (Vocals/Synths), David Carriere (Guitar), Riley Fleck (Drums), Marta Cikojevic (Keys), and Jackson Macintosh (Bass). They are currently touring through the US and Canada in support of their new album Sugar at the Gate, which is available on their bandcamp.

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Radio K: How did you meet?

JP: David and I met each other in middle school in Edmonton where we grew up and then we met Riley in Montreal and Jackson our bass player. We started the band with Riley. He was just drumming at a jam space that we were practicing at with another band. We wanted to play more of a classical band setup with a real drummer so Riley was that guy. We got Marta, a keyboard player who just joined us before our European tour in June. We met her at a show we played in Toronto. She was hanging out backstage, sharing a cigarette with her and she was great, super nice so when we were looking for a keyboard player she came up and we said yeah.

Radio K: Was that first time in Europe more immersive?

JP: I guess more immersive, yeah. It was nice to tour Europe that way. We took an old lady bus and saw sheep a lot, sitting at the top of the double decker bus. We'd couch surf a lot and meet a lot of people. It was almost more immersive than we had energy for sometimes. Sometimes you end up wondering where you're going to sleep that night, and it's so nice that people put you up and you end up staying up the whole night for them.

Radio K: How did you come up with the name TOPS?

JP: It was the only name we agreed on. I can't share because we didn't agree on them - well I guess I could tell you, we were thinking Hula, I wanted a four letter word.

Radio K: What artists are some of your biggest influences?

JP: For me, I'm really inspired by Sade and Marianne Faithfull, Anna Domino, like Susan Vegas and stuff locally. Also Stevie Nicks and Heart. Christie Hines and the Pretenders. I really liked smoother music but I also like electronic music. I guess my taste is broader than my influences.

Radio K: Sugar at the Gate was recorded in Los Angeles, how did those new surroundings inspire the creative process?

JP: I would say living in LA was a big inspiration. I learned how to drive out there and there's the song "Petals" which is about driving around like "the last night on earth today," the first verse of the song is about driving around and thinking about how easy it could be to get in a car accident in LA. There's this one exit on the way to the house that we recorded the record with a really sharp turn.

I also feel like the sunniness of LA and how it feels like a definitive location where so much culture is made, some of the songs have the quality of that sunshine like "Dayglow [Bimbo]."

Radio K: The house you recorded in was a brothel, right?

JP: Yeah there's a big jacuzzi tub in Riley's room. It's a three or four-person jacuzzi tub with marble floors and mirrors everywhere. We recorded in the garage and a studio in the basement. It's pretty funny, very different from anywhere we lived.

Radio K: How many times have you visited Minneapolis?

JP: We've played at 7th Street Entry twice, at the Icehouse once, a show with Allah-las at the Turf Club and then before that we played another set a really long time ago I can't remember it was at a lake in Minneapolis.

Minneapolis reminds me of Edmonton where I'm from. It's got this Midwest, overly polite vibe. You know "sorry! Oh excuse me." in a way, which is nice. I'm making fun of myself more than Minneapolis.

Radio K: What's the most rewarding part about performing live?

JP: Just playing music with my friends. A lot of times when you play a song life it's coming to fruition more than it ever was when you recorded it because you just get much better at doing it. The songs really reach their peak in a live concert. You can do that and share that with people.

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See if TOPS is coming to a city near you!

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