SCHOENBURG: The entire Minneapolis underground scene is doing cassettes now
How has the band evolved over the years? Do you feel more comfortable as musicians now?
BS: Over the course of the last five years, it's morphed from me being in my room with an acoustic guitar to being more live oriented. I just started playing electric guitar. I'm six years behind when it comes to music. I'm just now learning how to use pedals.
GB: You're like a one-man-band stomping on the pedals.
BS: [laughs] I like collaborating with Graham. Right now, he's writing the shit that I wish I was writing in senior year of high school. We went to McNally together, and we lived down the hall from each other.
GB: The first time I heard of Billy, it was from my friend John who lived next door to me. He was telling me about how Billy started a fight with a bum outside. [to Billy] Did you punch him?
BS: It never got to the point of physical altercation. Those bums outside of 7th Place...
How did you two eventually meet?
GB: I heard about that bum fight, and John and I went to the bar downstairs. When we were walking back down the hall, John said, "You gotta go to Billy's place." So we were outside his door knocking, and I heard the sweet sounds of Sufjan Stevens.
BS: Yeah, Sufjan was the beginning. My stuff was mildly influenced by him when I first started writing.
GB: I was stuck with him from then on. I connected with him through hanging out and through music. It was a drive thing. He wanted to get something down as much as I did. It fit.
The way we do stuff now, we just throw a project together and figure it out along the way. It works, and it's very exploratory.
So did that include finding new ways to release music?
BS: Yeah, for this album, we're gonna have cassettes.
Do you think releasing on cassettes is gimmicky?
GB: There's a school of thought that they're gimmicky, so you want to buy it, 'cause not a lot of people have cassette players. The tapes sound great, though.
BS: Initially, to be honest, cost was a factor. They're cheap to make, and the entire underground scene in Minneapolis is doing cassettes now. It's accessible, and once you listen to it, you love how they sound. They're the right amount of shitty.
Our first EP really shined through with the cassette because we did duplicate at home, and everything was lo-fi to begin with. They it came out as this incredibly warm, earthy, "tape-y" sound that worked well with all of the songs. You listen to the digital version versus the cassette, and they're totally different things. It's like listening to vinyl versus digital. There's character. Also, when you put in a cassette, you're not gonna jump to the second track. You're gonna listen to this singular cassette.
GB: That's how I grew up listening to stuff. I grew up listening to TLC on cassette. You don't just memorize the space between the songs.
Did TLC influence this EP?
GB: They sure did. It is crazy, it is sexy, and damn, is it cool.
SCHOENBURG will release their EP on Thursday, June 5, with Rupert Angeleyes and Moon-Watcher, followed by a residency each Thursday in the month of June at the Nomad World Pub.
GIMME NOISE'S GREATEST HITS
53 things you might not know about Prince
73 things you might not know about Bob Dylan
Brother Ali: My fans are kicking the sh*t out of me over Trayvon Martin
Here's why we didn't sign the Foo Fighters photo waiver
Top 20 best Minnesota musicians: The complete list