Laura Stevenson
Contributed by punkcdsampler, Posted by Asian Man Interviews

Laura Stevenson and the Cans are currently on a huge US tour, showing off their indie-folk-punk jams both new and old. Only a few days into the tour, and Laura has already lost her guitar, ran out of money, had an amp brake, and had The Can's van hit. Despite all of this she seemed to be positive and upbeat when she talked to Punknews interviewer Matt Humphries on a Monday afternoon.

or hear the audio here.

So how’s the tour so far?
It’s been okay. The first show, I left my guitar and the second show, I realized that I left my guitar at the first show, and my amp broke, and I cried on stage, so that was weird. Then last night we played in Indianapolis and I realized my amp was still broken, but I just used a backup amp and I used Peter’s guitar, who’s our second guitar player and he brought a backup guitar. Thankfully we had those things and the show was actually really good and people were really nice. Tonight we’re playing in Bloomington with some friends, so that’ll be good. I think it’ll just get better from there. But, really, the first and second shows were pretty bleak with me losing all the things that I have, all the things that I own in this world. But, it’s fine.

Have you ever cried on stage before?
No! This all happened in the span of like 2 minutes: me realizing my guitar was gone (cuz we didn’t load it in, we just had some friends help us load the stuff in on the second night) and everybody was set up, I had my amp set up and I went to go get my guitar to go tune it and I realized it was missing, and everything inside me just… I crumbled. So, I realized that I wouldn’t be able to change the situation and I had to play the show. I got the second guitar and I plugged it into the amp, and all of a sudden the amp started getting really warbly, and then started making this crazy buzzing noise, and my amp was broken, that I had just bought. And now I have no money, like I went to Skyline Chili yesterday and just ate oyster crackers with hot sauce on them for free. I literally have nothing, and the two things that I own are missing and broken and I just cried on stage with my back turned to everyone. Like, three tears, and I was like, "Let’s play the show now".

That’s awful!
Yes, it’s really bad! Then after we played another band hit our van in Baltimore and I was like, "Really?!"

Wow, you guys don’t get a break.
No! Everything’s fine, now. Everything is fine. I’m gonna keep telling myself that.

What cities are you really looking forward to?
Minneapolis. I’m really looking forward to going to Chicago. We’ve got a lot of buddies in Chicago. Seattle, just cuz I love Seattle, I think it’s beautiful. Every city we’re playing in California. I’m really psyched to be in California in September. Gonna be great. It’s gonna be wonderful. Mike booked a really, really good tour and we’ll be going to a lot of cool places.

Cool. You seem to have a lot of new, unreleased music. Do you have any plans to record any time soon?
We’re kinda in between shopping for labels right now. We have our next record written, completely, so it’s just a matter of finding a label that wants to put it out, because we’re pretty in the red when it comes to money, so we don’t have enough money to record right now unless we do some fundraising or something on Kickstarter. We don’t have enough money to record it ourselves or put it out ourselves and we’re really really excited about this new record. All the new songs that we’ve been playing live and we’ve been playing them for a couple months and we really like them and they’ve been requesting them at shows. So we’re just really psyched about the new songs and there’s 7 more new ones that are really, really exciting for us, so, I don’t know, we’re kinda playing a waiting game, but we’re so excited to do it and get it done and get it out there that it’s a weird time for us.

Is it fair to say that Cool New Song’s official name is "Cool New Song"?
I hope not! But it might have to be. It’s kind of just like become this thing that we can’t name. It’s kind of like having a pet for a long time that you can’t settle on a name for, so you just call it Dog or something. So, we’ll see. I hope it gets named. Because it’s not that new anymore, so the "New" doesn’t apply. And the fact that it doesn’t have a name makes it way less cool, so now it’s just "Song". Yeah, that’s what we’ll call it.

I think the Bouncing Souls do stuff like that.
Do they?

Like, they name the song "The Pizza Song" just because they don’t have a name for it so when they go in the studio they go "We’ll record that song about pizza!" and it sticks.
Maybe this will be called "The Pizza Song". I really like pizza, so that could be good. I usually call "Beets Untitled" "Pizza Untitled" cuz I figure it makes it sound a lot more fun than beets. Kids don’t like beets!

Was the song "A Shine To It" written to anyone in particular?
Yeah. It was. I was on tour, and it was when Mike and I were kind of new and I was on tour with Bomb the Music Industry! for like a month and it’s just kinda about missing somebody and being in a situation where you can’t get home to them.

Were the stories in it true?
No. Kind of a metaphor. So, yeah. I didn’t pose naked for anybody.

Haha, damn! Why did you decide to split "Eleanor" and "Beets Untitled" on the record when you play them consecutively live?
I don’t really know. "Beets Untitled" had been this thing that I had written way before the record was recorded, it was kinda the first song I wrote that I was really psyched about. Then I was kinda just playing around in my room and "Eleanor" was this little thing I kept playing and I couldn’t move any further than where it ends, and I kinda just played "Beets Untitled" right into it and it sounded really perfect to me. I wanted it to be its own track because "Beets Untitled" was this entity that had already existed and Eleanor was this unfinished thing that I couldn’t take any further, and it ended up being kinda perfect in its shortness.

What is the song "Halloween 1 & 2" about?
It’s kinda weird. I was watching the movies Halloween, you know, with Michael Meyers? And sometimes when I’m feeling really anxious watching a movie I start getting really introspective and panicking, and I kinda had a panic attack over the course of both those movies and started freaking out, and that’s kinda what it’s about.

Hopefully we don’t see a song called "Pirate Radio" after you watch that [movie].
Yeah, you probably will.

Haha, Oh god, that’s kinda like my life! A sinking ship!

Haha! Uh, do you have any other jobs other than playing music?
Well, I go to school - sort of. I’m writing my thesis right now for grad school. Right before we left for our last East Coast tour before Europe, in May, I quit my job. I was working in a private theater, saving money for Europe, trying to have at least a thousand dollars in my bank account but now I have zero dollars and it’s becoming a little scary, because I want to keep doing this, but it’s getting pretty meager and we haven’t been able to live off of anything because we’ve had a lot of van repairs this past couple tours. So yeah, I have like no money. But I don’t want to be glued to New York anymore. I was glued there during school, and you know, I had classes for Grad School and I don’t want to do that to the band anymore. We didn’t have any real momentum because we would just be able to tour in the summertime and Christmas break and stuff and I don’t want to do that to everybody anymore, cuz it’s just hard. Me and Mike both don’t have jobs, but Alex and Chris freelance, and they can kind of work around touring because they have skills that they can use to do freelance jobs that I lack.

What happened to the $3 you had in Baltimore?!
I already spent them!

I thought that would last the whole tour!
I know! I really thought that was gonna last me longer than like 5 days, but I spent them, unfortunately. I don’t even remember what I spent them on. Oh, I do! I bought a beer after the guitar loss, so that’s one. I forget what happened to the other two. Probably candy.

Haha! Being from Brooklyn, do you guys ever get labeled as hipsters, and if so what do you think of it?
I don’t think we do, because we’re not really cool and none of us wear suspenders or pointy shoes. I hope we don’t, even though I don’t know what it really means anymore. I feel like our entire generation could really be labeled as hipsters. We don’t really identify ourselves as such and I don’t think anyone really identifies us as such, and we can laugh at ourselves and I think that is the opposite of the definition of a hipster.

What music and bands are you into right now?
I don’t know! I’m really unable to really delve into anything new that I’m not immediately associated with, like, I’m really into all the bands my friends play in, because I know them and it’s really exciting that they’re doing really well. Like Andrew Jackson Jihad and Cheap Girls, those are like some of my favorite bands and they’re my buddies so that makes me really lucky. I haven’t really been able to listen to new things.

We have a radio in our van that doesn’t really work but we’ve been listening to a lot of country music, those are the types of songs we’ve been listening to for the past couple days!

Is the next record going to be country influenced?
Uh, I don’t think so. I just associate it with our van that doesn’t really work very well, so I guess I’ll be avoiding the country genre.