New York's Sea Ray have been around since the late nineties, becoming increasingly popular in recent years, finding success by complimenting layers of lush guitar with rich cello. This chamber-pop sextet have shared the stage with a wide range of great bands, including a North American tour with indie godfathers, The Church. Sea Ray are Anne Brewster (cello), Colin Brooks (drums), I-Huei Go (bass), Jeff Sheinkopf (keyboards), Jordan Warner (vocals, guitar) and Greg Zinman (guitar). Gothamist has a few questions for keyboardist - and mini-brass section - Sheinkopf and captivating cellist Brewster.
First, some questions about Home Sweet Home:
What is your first conscious memory of living in New York?
ANNE: Trying to sleep in my sister's un-air-conditioned apartment in the middle of a heat wave in July, when I first moved here. I was on an air bed in the living room and there were two very young kittens who thought it was fun to scamper back and forth across my face.
JEFF: During my first year here, i lived in 9 apartments in Manhattan, each one worse than the last.
What is your favorite/least favorite memory involving New York?
JEFF: Our van was towed because the police thought it was the cornerstone of some big terrorist plot. That wasn't very nice.
ANNE: Least favorite memory may be the pile of human feces that I just barely avoided stepping in at the Atlantic Avenue subway station.
[INTERVIEW CONTINUES INSIDE]
What is your favorite place to drink in NYC? What's the best night of the week to go out in the city?
ANNE: Recently I discovered that both Pete's Candy Store and Black Betty make delicious mojitos. There are probably other places that make this drink but I haven't found them yet. Both of those places have the added bonus of having a garden.
JEFF: The Atlas Cafe on 2nd Avenue makes some mean drinks of the soy variety. I have "a friend" who prefers to stay home and believes there's no good night to go out in the city. Unless you're going out for a bike ride, in which case every night is great.
What is your favorite/least favorite thing about playing shows in New York? Is there a difference between shows in Manhattan and Brooklyn?
ANNE: It's sort of a mixed bag - people in NYC are really into music so if they like you, they are really attentive and really enthusiastic. On the other hand, they can also have a little bit of a I'm-going-to-stand-back-and-wait-for-you-to-impress-me attitude that can be a bit daunting.
JEFF: The only difference between playing shows in Manhattan vs.Brooklyn is that you can maybe find a parking spot in Brooklyn. And often without a ticket at the end of the night.
Do you think your New York connection shows in your music? If so, how?
JEFF: Sometimes on stage in another city, I'll think about something from home, and in that sense, yes, there's a connection to New York. Beyond that, I don't think it's up to us to decide what it means to be from New York, or whether or not people can hear that intangible idea in our music. I guess it would be more obvious if we were from Nashville and had a lap steel guitar, so people could point at it and say to their friends, "Yes, now it all makes sense."
Finish the following statements:
"You know you've made it when ."
ANNE: You can quit your stupid temp job.
JEFF: You're on tour and can stop lying to hotels about how many people are staying in the room that night.
"It'll be time to pack up the gear for good when ."
ANNE: We're 60
JEFF: I think even when we're 60 we're going to be packing and unpacking gear on a daily basis -- strictly out of habit. We won't be playing or even know what to do with the instruments, but we'll probably be stuck in this routine for the rest of our lives.
"I'll never forget the first time I ."
JEFF: Signed a record contract up against the side of a delivery truck in Manhattan.
Now for some quick word association. Give me your immediate feelings on the following:
JEFF: Don Mattingly
JEFF: Gary Carter
Bridge & Tunnel
JEFF: I like riding my bike on bridges a lot more than in tunnels.
JEFF: No, thank you.
Bloomberg/Smoking Ban/Noise Laws
JEFF: I like that my clothes don't stink when I get home, but come on, it's A BAR! Let people smoke. They know what they're getting themselves into by going.
And a few last questions on the music tip:
What were the first & last albums you bought on the day they were released?
JEFF: I think the first was Cyndi Lauper She's so Unusual, but it was a gift so maybe that doesn't count. I think the last one was Pilot to Gunner Get Saved.
Who would be in your ultimate music supergroup?
JEFF: I'm thinking some sort of acoustic guitar folk jam around the campfire with Billy Bragg deciding the topics, Jason Faulkner writing the lyrics, Kevin Shields playing the guitar, Elliott Smith singing, the band Mum playing percussion on various pieces of wood and metal, and David Cross doing some sort of interpretive dance around the fire.
Check out Sea Ray for free this Saturday, July 24.
They play at the East River Amphitheatre with Tigers and Monkeys, The Natural History, and Ted Leo & The Pharmacists.
Keyboardist Sheinkopf is on double-duty, playing drums for Tigers and Monkeys, who start the show off at 2:00PM.