How are you spending your time off?
I'm in Portland right now and then I'm going to Europe early because we have a tour there in a couple of weeks. So I'm going go in a few days and then meet up with everyone after. My girlfriend and I are going to Paris, then the countryside to chill out in the south of France.
This has been a busy year for you guys. How much have you been touring?
Yeah, it's the busiest year ever. We started out with the record in the first week of March and that's when we started touring—South by Southwest in March and April, but in that month of March we ended up booking the rest of the year. We've been touring from March until now with pretty much no break. So a couple of weeks off, then three more tours before the end of the year... kind of ridiculous.
What's the first thing you do when a tour ends?
Usually, when we get back to New York, the first thing I do is go to my favorite restaurants, because I'm so food crazy when I'm at home. I cook a lot, eat healthy and get a lot of fresh produce because it's hard to do on the road. That's the worst party of being on the road by far. I also just end up just wanting to work on music, because the juices are flowing on tour but I never have the chance to work on anything. So those are the two things: Eat good food and work on music.
What are your favorite restaurants in New York?
There's a lot of them, so it depends on what I'm going for. Saravana Bhavan is a cool Indian place near the Flatiron District, it's a really great south Indian restaurant that's vegetarian and kosher. I love going to Joe's Shanghai too.
You recently moved to New York from California. What prompted the jump?
Just feeling like we had grown up and lived in California all our lives, we got tired of touring all the time and just getting glimpses of all these great places all around the world. When we were in New York, we always left wanting more and I guess we wanted a change of pace. I have a lot of family in New York and I went there every summer for a month or two to visit. So I had it in the back of my mind for a while.
How did EchoMix come about?
I'd been putting together mixes in my mind for driving and certain situations when you're just in a mood. I found that I liked doing that, and I got into the idea of sequencing it and creating transitions that kind of made it almost feel like an album, instead of a list of songs. That's something we do when we make music and I'm always thinking about the album, and that's how I like to listen to music. It's interesting to take other people's songs and form them into an album that has a piece of me in it.
So how do you do that?
I've been using Pro Tools, that's what I know from working in a studio for a while. I actually just got Ableton though, and it's made for DJing and mixing but I haven't mastered that yet. This mix was done with Pro Tools.
Do you ever DJ out?
I haven't, yet. I've been thinking about that. I'm working on a remix now, which is something I've always wanted to get into.
What's the remix?
It's from Ra Ra Riot's new album.
How do you pick the songs you want to cover?
There are a variety of reasons I guess. A lot of songs I really like I would never want to cover because for some reason I feel like I can't do anything with it. It's not just a song I love—I get obsessed with songs and have them on repeat for hours. I did a cover of "Ram On" by Paul McCartney for this mix. That was a song I had gotten into more recently, a cool discovery for someone who grew up with the Beatles but I had never gone really deep into Paul's stuff. "Ram On" hit me as a fun song to cover. It felt incomplete in a way with its ramshackle, thrown together quality. I felt that it lent itself well to be rearranged and re-imagined.
Who would you want to hear cover a Morning Benders song?
Yeah sure, a lot of people. It'd be cool to see someone from another genre, like Janelle Monae or The-Dream—that would be amazing.
In the first mix you did for us, you used a song from The Jerk. Is that a movie you like?
I love that movie. I think it's cool to string together things in mixes that wouldn't occur to you to be juxtaposed. It sets the mood, you know.
Does this mix have a theme?
Not really, it's more of a mood. I picked songs that work together well and it leads to the next.
Any instructions for listening to this mix?
"Put this mix on your iPod and listen to it while you walk to the nearest park. When it finishes, start it again and put it on repeat. Bury it in the dirt. Walk home."—Yoko Ono