Interview

Swell Content: Speedy Ortiz On Donald Trump, Lenny Kravitz, Drake, & Other Hot Topics

Speedy Ortiz played not one, not two, but three shows in San Francisco yesterday. After their Outside Lands festival set, they did a stripped-down performance for Stereogum at the Toyota Tent then at night played the local venue Rickshaw Stop. The Boston-based band’s latest album, Foil Deer, is one of the best of the year so far, and they’ve been interviewed at length about the process that wrought it and their future plans. Speedy Ortiz are made up of a collection of objectively talented musicians, but they’re also objectively talented musicians who can critique pop culture and spin jokes about #penisgate on or off-stage with ease. I caught up with the band backstage at Outside Lands’ Panhandle stage before their set to talk about a variety of hot topics — from the recent GOP debate to Drake and Meek Mill’s exhausting beef, to their unconventional picks for the song of summer. Read the Q&A with frontwoman and guitarist Sadie Dupuis, drummer Mike Falcone, bassist Darl Ferm, and guitarist Devin McKnight below.

STEREOGUM: Did you watch any of the GOP debate?

SADIE DUPUIS: I didn’t, I was on a plane the whole time. I read some things. I read that Donald Trump had more talk time than anybody else by at least a minute.

STEREOGUM: What was the most upsetting thing that you read that he said?

DUPUIS: I don’t think I read any actual quotes, I think it was just like … Wow, a lot of evil-doing clowns up on one stage. If we were home we would definitely be watching, live-tweeting. But I was sort of glad I was on a plane for it, because I didn’t want to get more upset than I already am about how all of the most evil republicans are the ones who’ve declared candidacy. I heard Bobby Jindal said some crazy shit about everyone needs to learn English.

DEVIN MCKNIGHT: The Indian dude? The like, second generation Indian guy?

FALCONE: We did see Jon Stewart’s last Daily Show last night. Which I didn’t even realize, that was just a coincidence.

DUPUIS: Yeah, big night for politics.

FALCONE: That was sad.

MCKNIGHT: He was all crying and stuff. Stephen Colbert came on and said some really nice stuff about him.

FALCONE: Literally everyone that’s every been on that show came on. Who’s ever been an anchor. It was nuts.

FERM: Was Steve Carell on it?

FALCONE: Steve Carell was on for like two seconds.

FERM: Oh, that’s cool.

DUPUIS: Unrelated to John Stewart but to the GOP debate, I think a lot of people were tweeting at Hannibal Buress that Ben Carson looks like him. And so Hannibal was retweeting every single thing that anyone tweeted at him like, is this actually Dr. Ben Carson or is this Hannibal Buress putting back on glasses? So there’s that.

STEREOGUM: Have you made any other appearances with Hannibal Buress since SXSW?

DUPUIS: Yeah, I mean we hung out with him a couple times.

FALCONE: He just randomly showed up at one of our shows like two months ago. At a teen center of all places. It was so weird.

MCKNIGHT: We went clubbin’.

DUPUIS: We did go clubbin’. We all went to one of his shows in Boston that was really great. And then we just like, hung out with him and his like, his crew. We went clubbin’. He gave us a shout-out during his DJ set and said “Speedy Ortiz in the building.”

FALCONE: And no one applauded. Dead silence right afterwards, no one knew who Speedy Ortiz was.

FERM: Did the record scratch?

FALCONE: Speedy Ortiz in the building — *record scratch noise* — and everyone was just like, looking around like, what just happened?

STEREOGUM: Are you all into any other comedians right now in particular?

FALCONE: None. Zero. [laughs]

FERM: Like Louis CK a lot.

FALCONE: Al Jackson. That’s the guy who opened for Hannibal, we saw.

FERM: Yeah Al Jackson, who’s awesome.

FALCONE: Yeah, like Bill Burr?

FERM: Yeah Bill Burr is really good.

DUPUIS: I kinda hate Bill Burr.

STEREOGUM: If Donald Trump becomes the president, what country are you gonna move to?

FERM: Puerto Rico?

DUPUIS: Oh, probably to Canada. Canada’s got problems too. But yeah, I don’t know. Donald Trump won’t become the president. There’s no way.

STEREOGUM: There’s no way?

DUPUIS: No.

STEREOGUM: I hope you’re right.

DUPUIS: It’s crazy that he’s leading the polls. It’s because all the other candidates are so idiotic that the only one that anyone will like … It seems there should be, out of ten people there should be at least one that like, is somewhat reasonable or makes any sense.

FALCONE: I think it’s helpful for the opposing party that he’s in the front, because I don’t think there’s any way he’s gonna get elected president.

FERM: Well, he’s media bait right now. It’s just like, he says crazy shit so then people wanna write about it. You know what I mean?

DUPUIS: But like, the level of idiocy that’s condoned for all of the GOP candidates, I can’t imagine a single one of those people getting any attention if they were running as a Democrat. It’s just like, crazy.

FERM: Is Jeb Bush in there?

DUPUIS: Jeb Bush is like the most like, and he’s fucking awful too. But he’s the most sensible.

FALCONE: I haven’t heard anyone talk about him really. And I figured he was like, probably gonna be the frontrunner.

DUPUIS: He was the frontrunner, yeah, until Trump started goin’ at it. I still think he’ll get the nod, but like…

FALCONE: How depressing would that be if the election was Clinton vs. Bush?

DUPUIS: It’s probably gonna be!

STEREOGUM: It’s insane. Let’s talk about Drake and Meek Mill.

DUPUIS: I went to a Nicki Minaj show in Berkeley a few weeks ago, and I walked in during Meek’s set, and he was just like ranting, making a speech about how everyone should follow him on Twitter and Instagram because he’s real. That was basically the extent of his speech. I’m not a big fan of him as a rapper.

FALCONE: He’s not a very good rapper.

DUPUIS: He’s like, passable. But I’m a big Nicki Minaj fan. Drake’s fine, I don’t have any problem with Drake. I think that his diss track kinda bummed me out, because like, the crux of his argument is like, “Oh, you’re opening for your girlfriend. How wimpy. You’re so weak, Mill!” But then Meek Mill’s response was like, bafflingly awful.

FERM: I think he put out a new diss track like yesterday or something.

DUPUIS: Another one?

FERM: Yeah. But no one cares.

MCKNIGHT: But doesn’t it make a lot of sense that he’s opening for Nicki? Because he’s not as popular and he’s not as good?

FALCONE: Yeah but you were saying that you were surprised how many people in your area of the neighborhood were just discussing this on the street.

MCKNIGHT: Oh, like, loudly discussing it. All over Bushwick.

FERM: This is like the hot topic.

MCKNIGHT: Or Bed-Stuy. Just people yelling about shit. Like, “Did you hear what Drake did? Yo, Meek Mill hasn’t even responded, what the fuck!” That kind of thing, it’s like … I mean, I didn’t even know what was going on, I haven’t heard any of the tracks. But I was amazed at how important it was to people.

DUPUIS: The cool thing is that none of the tracks are very good. It’s like, those are the two rappers that are gonna have a big high profile beef, really?

FERM: Well, it’s about ghostwriting too, which is so stupid, because it’s like, Drake is probably ghostwritten, and then everyone’s like, “it’s fine.” So it’s hilarious. Everyone’s like, “I don’t care.”

STEREOGUM: He’s a pop star!

FERM: It’s a very normal thing to happen. I think Meek just lost pretty fast. He called him out and everyone was like, we don’t care about this issue. Like, we still like Drake, even with the ghostwriting.

DUPUIS: I’m more interested in the Azealia Banks/K. Michelle beef that’s going on right now.

FALCONE: I didn’t know about that one.

DUPUIS: They were supposed to tour together, K. Michelle dropped off the tour, then K. Michelle tweeted something about lizards? And Azealia Banks … it kinda just like didn’t really make any sense. Azealia Banks went off and say all this really offensive stuff about like, her butt.

FALCONE: Her mother is a lizard!

MCKNIGHT: Yeah, so she was all offended.

DUPUIS: And then K. Michelle is like Whoah, wasn’t talking about you. And Azealia Banks just kept going. Just going crazy.

FALCONE: Azealia Banks is obnoxious and kinda crazy.

DUPUIS: She’s such a good rapper though!

FALCONE: And I hope she tweets at me. I hope she reads that I said that.

DUPUIS: I would’ve loved to see K. Michelle and Azealia Banks on a tour together.

FALCONE: That would’ve been cool. I would see both of them play. They’re both great. It’s way more unlikely that Action Bronson/Ghostface Killah tour will happen at this point too.

MCKNIGHT: But I think their beef is kinda boring also.

FALCONE: The Ghostface video is so funny though. Where he’s listening to Teddy Pendergrass and he just keeps being like “Listen to what Teddy is saying, man! That’s at you!” And he’s yelling at him and stuff.

FERM: Ghostface’s response is so funny. Action Bronson was just like, “I’m really really sorry,” and he was like, “I don’t care. You’re out forever.”

STEREOGUM: Every summer we do a “Song Of The Summer” poll on the website, and it’s always a great debate. If you could pick any song of the summer, what would your choice be?

DUPUIS: On the radio and stuff?

FALCONE: “Choices (Yup),” by E-40.

FERM: “I’m In Love With The Coco,” still. “Yakety Yak” by 2 Live Crew, still.

DUPUIS: “Trap Queen” is still the big summer one, though.

FALCONE: “I’m In Love With The Coco” came out in November, but you know what, excellent choice. [laughs]

FERM: It’s the song of the summer, what can I say.

MCKNIGHT: I’ve been listening to Future, but I dunno if anyone else shares that sentiment.

DUPUIS: I’m not as into Future as you are.

MCKNIGHT: “Fuck Up Some Commas,” man.

DUPUIS: I know what my song is! Fucking, “The Valley” by Miguel. It’s so good. I wanna cover it so bad, we’ve been talking about it. We’d have to figure out how to do it.

FALCONE: I don’t know if we could do it any justice, honestly. It’s too good of a song.

FERM: We’ve gotta try.

STEREOGUM: Do you like Wildheart?

DUPUIS: I like it selectively. I think the first half is so strong, and then there’s some stuff in the middle that I’m just like … you didn’t need to have all these tracks in here. And then there’s really good stuff at the end again.

FALCONE: Most Miguel fans would say it’s a very solid album, I think. More so than Kaleidoscope Dream. Kaleidoscope Dream is still my favorite. But I really like it a lot, the bonus tracks are very good.

STEREOGUM: How do you feel about the Lenny Kravitz song on it?

DUPUIS: I haven’t heard it.

FALCONE: I’m not into it.

DUPUIS: I like that he split his pants. It’s very bold to not wear underwear on stage. If anything, I’m wearing like, two pairs of underwear on stage. Just in case of an accidental…

FERM: Oh yeah. Three over here.

DUPUIS: You’re bending over, you’re fixing your pedals, you might flash everybody. Lenny Kravitz didn’t care. Just squattin’, leather pants, commando.

FERM: Why should he care? He covered “American Woman.” Why should he care about anything?

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Speedy Ortiz open for Wilco tonight and tomorrow in Oregon. Check out all the summer and fall tour dates here. Watch the “Raising The Skate” video below.