Turntable Interview: TEEN
When ex-Here We Go Magic keyboardist Kristina a.k.a. Teeny Lieberson wanted to form a new band, she turned to her two sisters — Katherine and Lizzy Lieberson — and a friend, Jane Hership, to form TEEN. Teeny spent three years writing the songs that appear on the group’s debut album, In Limbo, for which they also enlisted the talents of producer Peter Kember (a.k.a. Spaceman 3’s Sonic Boom) to help craft the lush and layered psychedelic record (which we liked so much that we made them a Band To Watch). Just back from a five week tour, and ready to head out on another, Teeny took some time to chat with us on Turntable.fm about touring, Family Feud and Neu!
Melissa Locker started playing “At My Heels” by Twin Shadow
STEREOGUM: Hi Teeny! Thanks for agreeing to play DJ with me!
TEENY LIEBERSON: No prob!
STEREOGUM: So what have you been up to lately?
TEENY LIEBERSON: Trying desperately to find an apt. Ha! HOMELESS
STEREOGUM: Oh no!
TEENY LIEBERSON: Yup
STEREOGUM: Are you like a hobo riding the rails with your bindle?
TEENY LIEBERSON: Hahah not quite all tho most of my friends say my style is quite hobo-esque
STEREOGUM: Do you take that as a compliment?
TEENY LIEBERSON: Actually, yes
Teeny Lieberson started playing “Her Fantasy” by Matthew Dear
STEREOGUM: How much have you been touring lately?
TEENY LIEBERSON: We just got back from a 5-week tour. It was great. Ready to go out again!
STEREOGUM: So at least you have a good excuse for your homelessness.
TEENY LIEBERSON: This is true.
STEREOGUM: What was your favorite part of the tour?
TEENY LIEBERSON: Playing the radio room in Greenville, SC. So random and amazing.
STEREOGUM: How so?
TEENY LIEBERSON: The crowd was super enthusiastic and energetic, then it turned into the BEST dance party afterwards, which is always a plus
STEREOGUM: For sure! Your New York show was cancelled because of Hurricane Sandy. Did you weather the storm alright?
Yeah that was a shame. I was fine. I was in CT with my boyfriend. I drank a bottle of wine so I was totally chill.
STEREOGUM: Ha! That would help.
TEENY LIEBERSON: Always does!
STEREOGUM: So what’s it like being on the road with your sisters?
TEENY LIEBERSON: It was ok, surprisingly
STEREOGUM: Was it like a family road trip with elbows flying and endless games of alphabet?
TEENY LIEBERSON: Endless games FOR SURE
STEREOGUM: What do you play?
TEENY LIEBERSON: Haha we played this weird version of family feud funnily enough.
STEREOGUM: Who gets to be Richard Dawson/Steve Harvey?
TEENY LIEBERSON: JANE. Hahaha
TEENY LIEBERSON: It was pretty entertaining.
STEREOGUM: Do you think Jane ever feels left out?
TEENY LIEBERSON: No I think she’s kind of happy about it to be honest.
STEREOGUM: Like, thank god they’re not my relatives?
TEENY LIEBERSON: Yup. She doesn’t have to get into the real emotional fights. Hahaha.
STEREOGUM: How do you guys work out your differences?
Melissa Locker started playing “Want You Back” by Nite Jewel
TEENY LIEBERSON: I love this song!
STEREOGUM: Is it down and dirty family fighting? Or more calm cool and professional. I love this song too!
TEENY LIEBERSON: We have both I think…. it’s hard to separate musical and logistical issues from emotional ones, but we’re doing ok I think. We’re just really open about everything
STEREOGUM: How does it differ from your time in Here We Go Magic?
TEENY LIEBERSON: I played such a different role in that band. I didn’t really understand what it meant to take a stance. I just stood back
STEREOGUM: Do you feel like the boss now?
TEENY LIEBERSON: Yeah and that’s good.
STEREOGUM: Do your sisters tolerate that?
TEENY LIEBERSON: I think we’re all getting used to it.
Teeny Lieberson started playing “Turtles Have Short Legs” by Can
TEENY LIEBERSON: It’s getting easier, which I think is a good sign.
STEREOGUM: Oh wow, I haven’t heard this song or Can in so long.
TEENY LIEBERSON: This song is ridic but I love Can
STEREOGUM: How did you become a Can fan?
TEENY LIEBERSON: Thru Luke Temple [of Here We Go Magic] actually. He got me really into it. And peter from hwgm. Now they’re one of my favs.
STEREOGUM: Yeah, they’re so fun and inscrutable
TEENY LIEBERSON: Totally
STEREOGUM: I read an interview that said you used to perform songs like “Lost in the Stars” for family functions. Are you a Broadway fan?
TEENY LIEBERSON: Hahha yes I grew up playing and singing Kurt Weill, Rogers and Hart, Bernstein
Melissa Locker started playing “Walkin’ With Jesus” by Spacemen 3
TEENY LIEBERSON: SONIC BOOM!
STEREOGUM: Yeah! I own this on cassette. I stole it from my brother ages ago. What was it like working with him?
TEENY LIEBERSON: He’s great. So full of knowledge, so enthusiastic, really inspiring.
STEREOGUM: How much did he influence the album’s sound?
TEENY LIEBERSON: He really took everything into outerspace. For real. Added such a cool element
STEREOGUM: That sounds about what you would expect from him. How did you end up working with him?
TEENY LIEBERSON: My friend, Sam Fleischner (the director of our ‘electric’ video) introduced our music to Pete and luckily he liked it
STEREOGUM: That sounds strangely easy
TEENY LIEBERSON: Haha it took awhile and a lot of wondering if he liked the demos I handed over to him but it was pretty simple
Teeny Lieberson started playing “The Dolphins” by Fred Neil
STEREOGUM: Nice! It seems like a natural fit with your sound.
TEENY LIEBERSON: Yeah we were very lucky.
STEREOGUM: Speaking of your sound, you guys have some crazy harmonies on your songs. How did you work those out?
TEENY LIEBERSON: Well everyone in the band is a great singer so that makes it easier. Also you could just hand some material over to the girls and they come up with these great parts
STEREOGUM: That’s a great skill set! Who is this we are listening to?
TEENY LIEBERSON: I don’t really know anything about Fred Neil but I’m a big Sopranos fan and this song was playing in an episode that I rewatched last night and I think it’s a totally amazing song. Think we might cover it!
STEREOGUM: Wow! That would be fun to hear.
TEENY LIEBERSON: We’ll see. It’s dark and beautiful.
Melissa Locker started playing “Better Off” by Haim
STEREOGUM: I added this song, because I thought it would be awesome if TEEN and HAIM went on the road as an all sisters show
TEENY LIEBERSON: Ha! Totally. I actually met Danielle a couple times. And Jen Turner (from HWGM) was making the TEEN record and the Haim record too. I’m pretty sure she’s on this somewhere
STEREOGUM: So what you’re saying is that it’s possible? I would totally go see that show.
TEENY LIEBERSON: Hahah I dunno! They just toured with Florence. They’re BIGTIME
Teeny Lieberson started playing “Eye Pattern Blindness” by Pond
STEREOGUM: Who would you want to tour with?
TEENY LIEBERSON POND!
STEREOGUM: What’s your dream bill? Just Pond?
TEENY LIEBERSON: Yeah they’re amazing
STEREOGUM: I always get confused by them, because there was a band in Portland in the 90s called Pond and for a long time I thought people were talking about them.
TEENY LIEBERSON: Oh yeah. Naw it’s the guys from Tame Impala and they kill it. I love tame impala too
STEREOGUM: They are next on my queue!
TEENY LIEBERSON: They’re so great. Wouldn’t mind touring with them either
STEREOGUM: I just saw their show in Brooklyn. It was crazy
TEENY LIEBERSON: I was there too!
STEREOGUM: Did you step on my toe? Someone did.
TEENY LIEBERSON: Were you in the front?
STEREOGUM: Yes. It was you wasn’t it?
TEENY LIEBERSON: It definitely could’ve been me I was all over the place.
STEREOGUM: Hahaha. I won’t hold you accountable.
TEENY LIEBERSON: OK good!
STEREOGUM: You said that you grew up listening to Kurt Weill and Rogers and Hart and all. Do you think that influenced your sound?
TEENY LIEBERSON: I think it used to influence my songwriting more back in the day…. maybe the melodies still have some of it in there.
STEREOGUM: Who do you think are more recent influences?
TEENY LIEBERSON: Mainly just psych and rock. That’s all I really listen too. Neul! Can.
Melissa Locker started playing “Lucidity” by Tame Impala
TEENY LIEBERSON: Sorry I can’t see on this thing so I’m misspelling all over the place.
STEREOGUM: No problem. Neu! is easy to misspell
TEENY LIEBERSON: Hahah
STEREOGUM: When do you head out on the road again?
TEENY LIEBERSON: Lou Reed. We’re doing some dates here and there in Dec/Jan then think full tour Feb down to SXSW. Then Europe! Fingers crossed.
STEREOGUM: Wow, that’s a lot of touring! Do you have time to work on new songs?
TEENY LIEBERSON: YES. I can’t wait to record again.
STEREOGUM: When do you think that will be? You sound pretty busy with touring
TEENY LIEBERSON: Aiming for Jan. Not a full EP tho I mean LP
STEREOGUM: So an EP may be in the works?
TEENY LIEBERSON: We’ll see. Prob won’t get to the next full record till summer. Yes, maybe.
STEREOGUM: Do you write all the time? Or are you more the type to sit down and really WRITE
TEENY LIEBERSON: Working on my shredding
< STRONG> Teeny Lieberson started playing “UFO” by E.S.G.
STEREOGUM: Ha! That’s important!
TEENY LIEBERSON: I do both really… in order to fully get something going I need time.. but I sketch ideas anywhere.I have no room on my phone due to voice memos let’s put it that way.
STEREOGUM: Do you write the majority of the songs? Or does everyone contribute?
TEENY LIEBERSON: ‘In Limbo’ I wrote but we’re trying to collaborate a little more with future material
STEREOGUM: How do you think that will affect the sound?
Melissa Locker started playing “The Fog” by Amazing
TEENY LIEBERSON: I mean I really like the idea of hashing things out together cause after touring I’m really into the idea of just using what you have rather then filling up the sound thru recording and then not knowing how to do it live. I really want us to be a great live band cause that’s the most exciting
STEREOGUM: That’s true. There’s nothing more disappointing then loving a band’s album and have their live show be boring
TEENY LIEBERSON: Totally. The goal I think is to challenge ourselves to making the sound as big as possible with just the four of us thru arrangement and epic guitar solos. JK.
STEREOGUM: Maybe Santa can bring epic guitar solos for Christmas?
TEENY LIEBERSON: Yes please! I’m really into it these days.
Teeny Lieberson started playing “Feels Like We Only Go Backwards” by Tame Impala
TEENY LIEBERSON: Oh shoot I didn’t mean to double up on the Tame Impala.
STEREOGUM: It’s a Tame Impala dance party! Never apologize for Tame Impala
TEENY LIEBERSON: Hahah ok good!
STEREOGUM: Who else is on your ipod these days?
TEENY LIEBERSON: Hmmmm Ty Segall. Micachu. Cocteau Twins.
STEREOGUM: Oooh retro sounds. But the Cocteau Twins really knew how to fill a room with sound.
Melissa Locker started playing “Your Silent Face” by New Order
TEENY LIEBERSON: And Liz Fraser is one of my favorite singers- other aim for TEEN is epic vox.
STEREOGUM: So both shredding, epic guitar solos and epic vox? Those are lofty goals!
TEENY LIEBERSON: Yup I don’t want to be afraid of any of it.
STEREOGUM: And I bet you can do it.
TEENY LIEBERSON: Thank you!
STEREOGUM: Thank you so much!
TEEN’s In Limbo is out now. For more information, visit their website.