Only a few days away from Reverb Fest, I chilled by a pool with Karl Kuehn from Museum Mouth to discuss his newest musical project, Family Bike. Family Bike is playing the day-long Reverb Fest in Charlotte, NC this Saturday. This edition of Reverb Fest benefits the Humane Farming Association, featuring seven North Carolina bands including Double Barrel Benefit 12 alumni Elvis Depressedly. Kuehn and I sipped on Pellegrino and chatted about the band’s upcoming release, their fast-pace touring, and hating FB drummer Taylor Haag.
Emily Ehling: Just so I don’t use the same questions you’re always asked, tell me the normal Family Bike questions. This might be cheating but tell me anyway. [both laugh]
Karl Kuehn: Lately a lot of people have been asking how much I love Taylor Haag, which I think is a really weird question, maybe even cryptic or backhanded, because I love him but I also really hate him. I think I love him as much as I hate him probably. Another question I’ve been getting asked a lot recently is who the “other guy” is in Family Bike, who is actually Tommy Hall. He’s also in another band called Pet Names.
EE: Aw, that’s actually pretty sad to be the “other guy.”
KK: Yeah, but Tommy is the best and he’s super sweet to play bass for us, because there’s bass all over this record.
EE: What an angel. So, already being in a very established band like Museum Mouth, how do you negate away from Family Bike being considered a sort of side project?
KK: I just treat it like another band. It’s easy to be in this band and it was easy to start and record with this band. Taylor and I had already had the songs that appear on the record just sitting around for a while and they were probably never going to get released if we didn’t start this band.
EE: Since we’re on the subject Museum Mouth and Family Bike being separate, how would you describe the difference in sound between the two bands.
KK: I would say that if these bands were cast in a sitcom, Museum Mouth is the important main character, the protagonist. Family Bike is like the weird uncle. Lovable, but just strange. [laughs]
EE: Like the drunk uncle at a wedding.
KK: [laughs] Yeah, just like… why is he like that?
EE: So this band is relatively new, but it seems like you have already done a lot of cool stuff.
KK: We have!
EE: And cool upcoming stuff, like Reverb Fest… which is what this interview is about.
KK: Yeah! Well, we started recording in the middle to the end of last year. As the record was being finished, some friends in Lilac Days hit us up about going on tour. So we did, and we got home, made sure everything was in line for putting out the vinyl [Everything You Own Is Anagrammed] on Negative Fun/EggHunt Records. We went on tour again, and played a bunch of shows in North Carolina and Virginia, then came back and got asked to play Reverb Fest which is really exciting. We’re also touring two more weeks in the beginning of June when the record is actually out. I guess when you make an album, and a label shows some interest, then things just start rolling after that. This was really just started for fun and now we’re on tour a bunch! It’s kind of zany.
EE: That is really cool.
KK: Definitely. Phil Pucci, one of the two people that book all the Reverb Fest stuff, had asked me some questions about the band when he heard I started it. I sent him the record, he really liked it, and asked us to play. Pretty cool.
EE: Nice! So you mentioned earlier that all of you are in different bands?
KK: Yeah, Tommy is in Pet Names and Taylor is in a band out of Richmond called Young Scum.
EE: That is such a good name.
KK: It’s a super good name, but he kind of hates it which is really funny. For months and months he actually kept this other band a secret from me, then slowly started talking about it to me.
EE: [laughs] Woah, very scandalous.
KK: He is still is kind of secretive when he talks about it. Young Scum is good though, I got to meet a few members when we were up in Virginia.
EE: Alright, Reverb Fest [both laugh]. You have to be excited. There are some pretty big names playing and also some of your local favorites.
KK: Definitely! The new Mineral Girls record is really good so I’m excited to hear some of those songs live. Museum Mouth got to play with Elvis Depressedly for Double Barrel Benefit 12, so it’s cool to get to play with them again. They’re rad.
EE: It is definitely cool seeing DBB alumni playing together again. So, I’m not going to lie, I’m a little confused about the release of Everything You Own Is Anagrammed. Let’s clear that up. [both laugh]
KK: Right. The record isn’t out yet, but when you put something out on vinyl, but before you get the copies for the label, you have to approve a test press. Since our vinyl got delayed a bunch and we were about to go on this tour with no merch at all, we ordered a bunch of test presses to sell as an exclusive type of thing. We were really early on in the round of press for the album so we couldn’t give anyone downloads for it yet or it would leak, so that was unfortunate. Once the record comes out for real on May 26th, the people who bought test presses will get the downloads.
EE: Alright, that makes sense. Thanks for run-down.
KK: Totally. Aside from those test presses, we also had two songs stream on BrooklynVegan. The full stream for the album doesn’t go up until next week.
EE: So look for that, readers. As we’re finishing up here, do you have any parting thoughts?
KK: Please buy our album! [laughs] A lot of time and a lot of nice people’s money went into making this happen, so it would be cool if you supported.
Look for Family Bike’s full stream of Everything You Owned Is Anagrammed on Modern Vinyl 5/19 and the album release on 5/26.