by Robin Sinhababu
We got an e-mail recently asking if we wanted to interview the Miami Dolphins and after our brief delusional excitement over the prospect of talking to whoever their version of Dan Marino is these days, we came to our senses and figured it must be some new band. Lucky for us, the Miami Dolphins aren’t just some new band, they’re a Minneapolis based “art-damaged noise punk group,” with a sound that finds a happy median between Deerhoof and Ponytail. We tried to coordinate an interview with the band in time for their recent show at Beerland, but when the scheduling didn’t work out, Robin Sinhababu instead
ambushed cornered the gang a couple hours before the show, on the floor of a carpeted hallway in a nondescript building just east of 35 and had the following conversation with the group. Spoiler: football actually comes up.
Robin Sinhababu for Ovrld: Have y’all been to Texas before, as a band?
Beth Bambery (vocals): Once, before, in 2011.
Patrick Larkin (guitars, vocals): Yeah, it was in December 2011. And, as we’re hitting a cold front now, we hit a cold front then.
Ronnie Lee (bass): It was one of the last shows at the old Emo’s.
Ovrld: That was one of the warmer years here, though. It’s gotten quite a bit colder since y’all have been gone. The winters have been rougher.
Patrick: Sorry, man. But not sorry, because where we’re from…
Ovrld: So when people go to a show in Minneapolis, where do they put their coats?
Patrick: You just wear them.
Beth: You unzip your coat.
Ovrld: And the whole audience has coats on?
Beth: Yeah. You get really sweaty.
Ovrld: In every video of a show in Minneapolis I’ve ever seen– which is mostly from watching old Replacements videos– even when the show is said to be in, say, December, I never see anybody with a coat on in the audience.
Joe Scott (drums): Well, if you’re at, like, [mid-size Minneapolis venue] First Ave., they might have a coat check. It’s a bigger venue. If it’s like a DIY, warehouse, it’s probably cold in there.
Patrick: The Hexagon, the dive bar that everyone plays at, is pretty cold. You can throw your coat in the corner.
Joe: You can find a good corner where you think it’ll be safe.
Patrick: No, everyone’s already got one.
Ovrld: Have any of you had a coat or umbrella stolen at a show?
Beth: I’ve taken the wrong coat by accident. But it was my roommate’s coat, so it didn’t matter.
Ronnie: I have a vague memory of somebody saying, “Hey, my coat got stolen,” but that’s all I remember.
Patrick: People lose their coats when they get really inebriated.
Ovrld: You mean they leave, and then remember that their coat is still in the venue?
Ronnie: [They] misplace it inside the venue.
Beth: Yeah, you get drunk and throw it somewhere.
Joe: Every case is different.
Ovrld: Every case is different. That’s probably what the Minneapolis Police Department says about the coats.
Ovrld: Can you describe the scene you’re in, with respect to the bands you play with, and where you play?
Patrick: We play a lot at a couple of house venues and at that bar, The Hexagon. We play with a lot of different bands. There’s garage rock bands, a lot of garage rock bands in Minneapolis, and there’s some weird stuff. It runs the gamut. We try to be on diverse shows, typically, because we don’t necessarily have other bands that sound like us in Minneapolis.
Ovrld: Do you have a lot of conflicts within the band?
Beth: Oh yeah, a whole bunch.
Ovrld: What are the top three from this year?
Joe: What to have for dinner.
Beth: Joe stole my girlfriend.
Ovrld: Is that true, Joe?
Joe: That’s news to me.
Patrick: In Minnesota fashion, most of our conflicts are in the subtext.
Beth: Yeah. Rarely do people know if there’s a conflict.
Ovrld: Beth, as a singer in a band that writes its songs at practice, what is your role at practice like?
Beth: It can get boring. I mean, you can play around and make vocal parts, but you can’t give much direction as to where the song goes. Unless you say, “You play this, this many times, and you play that, that many times.”
Ovrld: Is this the first band in which you’ve sung without playing an instrument?
Ovrld: Did you find it was difficult at all, either at practice or in front of a live audience, to not have your guitar in front of you?
Beth: Yeah, it’s a lot scarier, and awkward not knowing what to do with your hands. So I started dancing instead, and that helps.
Patrick: It’s funny. We don’t know any Beckys, but we did meet a couple of Beckys on tour. The first Becky said she felt she was not like her name, which – I guess I don’t want to say what exactly comes to mind when you think of the name Becky, but she was very mellow, down to earth.
Ovrld: Well, what do you think of? A plain-spoken gal that likes horses, or what?
Patrick: That’s one scenario. There’s all sorts of scenarios. It’s a tough…
Beth: Yeah. Depends who your Becky is.
Ovrld: Who’s your Becky?
Beth: Um, the first Becky that you meet.
Ovrld: Who is Peter Leeman?
Patrick: Oh, that’s the guy that did the video of us. He just asked if he could do a video of us.
Ovrld: Did he charge you money?
Patrick: No. In some ways, they were trying to do a thing that you guys are trying to do.
Ovrld: Become wealthy via music journalism?
Ovrld: Has anyone been to a Vikings game?
Patrick: I have. I think my dad paid $30 a ticket, and we couldn’t see very well.
Ovrld: Why Miami Dolphins, then, as opposed to another NFL team? Is the name the most ridiculous? Is the color scheme the silliest?
Joe: I don’t know if we were really picking from that pool; that wasn’t the order in which we narrowed it down.
Patrick: Yeah, I don’t know that we were picking from other sports teams’ names. I don’t know, it’s like the vocals were really high pitched, and it was kind of nautical. High pitched vocals and dolphin noises.
Ovrld: Do you think you sound like a dolphin?
Patrick: We don’t, like, go specifically for that.
Ovrld: Is there anything you don’t like about the new record?
Joe: No. I mean, we were pretty diligent about it.
Patrick: Yeah. The thing I don’t like is that it took so long to come out. We recorded it in 2013.
Ovrld: What took so long?
Ronnie: Mixing and life.
Ovrld: What’s been the best show of the tour this far?
Ronnie: Oklahoma City was cool.
Patrick: Yeah, I really liked Oklahoma City. It’s a younger scene, like a living room show, and a lot of people showed up. Really liked this band Anti-Patterns that we played with. Pretty fresh-sounding to me. This’ll be our fifth or six show, so there’s a lot to come, still.
Ovrld: How was Dallas?
Patrick: Dallas fell through; there was a gas leak at the taqueria.
Ronnie: They had to shut it down until like 9 the next day.
Ovrld: Bummer. What did y’all do?
Ronnie: Just hung out in Denton.
The Miami Dolphins’ new album Becky is available now from FPE Records. Robin Sinhababu is available to host radio programs, podcasts, talk shows and bar mitzvahs.