Indietracks interview #5: th’sheridans

A DIY incongru-pop outfit, th’sheridans sing about food, small towns and dating. The band comprises Adam Karenina Sherif (vocals/guitar) and Julia Oertli (vocals/viola/synthesiser/drum machine). Based out of London and happy to have found an inclusive queer indie scene, they play both electric and acoustic shows. Releasing on their own Eatery Records, they’ve put out five records to date. Sonically, th’sheridans can be found creeping on the corner of 53rd & 3rd, inhaling clouds of digital ash and giving off a scent of Eau d’ Bedroom Dancing. Or, you know: Ramones/Bright Eyes/Le Tigre.

Hiya, please tell us a little bit about yourselves
Julia: We’re two average individuals in their late 20s: we like to play songs and talk about everyday feminism. We get on pretty well despite some divergent interests: Adam likes wrestling and comics, while I prefer swimming, the mountains, and stuff like that. Occasionally, you might spot us on the Megabus to a weekend destination – when we went to the New Forest last year, Adam fell into a bog mid-argument. It was great.

What music are you enjoying at the moment?
Adam: I’ve really fallen back into the light strains of ‘goth’ I enjoy, particularly a couple of the earlier albums from Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds (The Firstborn is Dead, and You Funeral…My Trial). I’m also devouring all the Cave interviews that seem to be cropping up lately. He’s not nearly so maudlin as people seem to think, and he’s actually profoundly funny rather often. Julia and I also went to see Depeche Mode recently. Their new record is admittedly weak, but it was legitimately the best stadium-type show I’ve ever attended. Music For the Masses is back in rotation for me, as well. As far as Julia though, I don’t believe that she listens to any music that’s not David Bowie anymore.

Tell us about an unusual place you’ve played a gig in the past?
Julia: In the summer of 2012, we were busking by Lake Zürich. We were approached by some exceptionally friendly strangers who asked if we could soundtrack an imminent marriage proposal. Clueless, we agreed and they hastily rented out two tiny rowboats. They took one, filming the whole affair and the two of us, with our drummer Joe, squeezed into the other. It was windy out on the lake, waves crashing against the flimsy walls of our vessel: so Joe had to paddle, Adam clung to his acoustic guitar and I meanwhile determined it was unsafe to take my heirloom viola on-board, and instead decided to vocalise my parts in the hopes nobody would judge…

Our patrons went ahead, leading us to the soon-to-be-engageds who were already out on the lake. We’d briefly discussed what to play and settled on our fried food-themed love song, ‘Your Favorite’. As we were crept towards the couple’s boat, we also agreed that if the girlfriend rejected the proposal, we would play ‘Man Overboard’ by Blink-182 – thrilling stakes, from our perspective. Fortunately and unfortunately, it didn’t come to that as she accepted immediately. We returned to the banks of the lake pretty sharpish, while the guitar was still relatively dry. A pretty surreal experience that paid a handsome CHF 100, but more importantly, the invaluable honour of providing an entirely unplugged soundtrack to a potentially transformative moment in two people’s lives, interspersed with gulps of water and our voices cracking from the wind.

Do you have any exciting plans for the rest of the year?
Julia: Unusually, we’re playing the wedding of some very dear friends of ours just before Indietracks actually. They’re requested we play for their first dance, no less. We’re doing the Italian partisan folk song, ‘Bella Ciao’, which happens to be the first track the two of us ever performed together. So, another honourable marital soundtrack – perhaps our true niche?

Adam: And post-Indietracks we’re looking at recording an EP with some cheap studio time. I may also be trying to put together a secret thing that maybe has to do with the band Japandroids. Maybe.

Do any band members have any particular skills, hobbies or claims to fame you wish to share?
Adam: At age 12, I was the fastest kid in London.

Do you have any surprises planned for the Indietracks festival?
Adam: If everything pans out as intended, we should have some fresh merch in time for Indietracks. I work at Orbital Comics in London, and I’m doing a work swap with my colleague, Joe Jinks. He’s designing our next t-shirt – cartoon versions of us, flanked by a bunch of the comics characters who populate some of our songs. In exchange, we’ve been commissioned to write a track for inclusion in an upcoming issue of his series Archie vs. Orbital wherein Archie, of Riverdale fame, sets out systematically to murder all of the Orbital staff. Good fun.

Who are you most looking forward to seeing at the Indietracks festival, and why?
Julia: MARTHA! Best contemporary punk band ever and just so much fun to watch. Never miss any of their gigs in London.

Adam: The line-up’s wicked through and through. In addition to heroes The Tuts, Crywank and Baby Arms, I’m positively jazzed to be on a festival bill alongside Frankie Cosmos. Her album, Next Thing, was easily among my favourite records last year.