The song “Light & Day/Reach for the Sun” from 2002’s The Beginning Stages Of... has been featured in the Volkswagon/iPod commercial in 2003, the feature film Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, an episode of Scrubs, and more recently in the trailer for the new Lorax movie. What do you contribute the song’s longevity and versatility too and did you ever think that any one of your songs would be so widely used? I have no idea. The universe rewarding me for not selling my publishing back at a time when we were so broke and approached time and time again to sell it? Ha. Thank God I didn’t sell. Polys would have ended before now as every major label has folded through the years. I am grateful the song has had its own life. How has licensing the song to various companies and movies helped The Polyphonic Spree? Well, it’s definitely helped finance many, many opportunities for the Spree as we’ve been on our own label quite some time. I’m not sure it’s exactly helped sell records? It’s weird. I have no idea if people even identify the “Spree” with the song sometimes. It’s been nice to be a part of some good stuff because of the song’s use. At the beginning of “What Would You Do?” video, you mention that “The time is right for us to get back together, go back out there and spread the gospel”. What makes now the right time for getting back together and why not sooner? A decade later, much reflection and the want and need to continue what we started is now. More challenging time now than ever, that’s how we do it. I don’t know why. One particular line I found interesting in the song “What Would You Do?” is “What would you do if religion turned into sand? // We wouldn’t be judged and the world would have a lot more friends.” Can you explain the meaning behind the second half of that lyric? What is your stance on religion and do you consider yourself a religious person? I think it’s pretty obvious, one religion challenging another has led to years and years of turmoil. Me religious? I am religious about certain things.
You’ll soon be starting phase 1 of the You + Me tour, do you have plans to tour beyond that? Yes. We have 3 phases of the tour. We will wrap up May 30. We will then head into the studio for a Poly Holiday album to be released in fall 2012 with some shows in December. You mentioned in an interview last summer that you’ll be releasing monthly 7”s of new music instead of just one album. Is this still the plan for the new Polyphonic Spree songs or will there be a full album released? Yes, that’s the plan. We are finishing a couple of more songs now. We have released a 7” of our own Xmas song titled It’s Christmas as well as the 7” single currently out “What Would You Do?” as mentioned. Good Records is a store you run in Dallas, and Good Records Recordings is the label arm of that store. Having been on and dropped from major record labels before, how does it feel to be working for your own label and what are the advantages and disadvantages of releasing music through Good Records Recordings? Advantage is: complete freedom. It’s worth quite a bit. Absolutely any idea and/or decision is all your’s. Whether it’s good or bad, you own it. But at least it’s all your’s to own! Disadvantage: a little more work, but it all pans out as it’s less time spent convincing any non-believers at hand. With all the work you do with Polyphonic Spree, why did you want start Preteen Zenith? It just happened that way. Had more songs that didn’t feel like the Spree. Took a breather and a completely different approach at my own speed. Went and did
something with an old friend, Phil. I’d wanted to collaborate with him for so long as we had some great synergy back when recording Tripping Daisy. Then..... A while back you posted a bunch of stripped down demos that are now being released as Polyphonic Spree (“Bullseye”) songs and Preteen Zenith (“Breathe”) songs. Will the other demos that you posted be released as well? How did you decide which songs would be performed by which band? It’s possible of course. I have since split some of the songs up into Preteen Zenith, Poly and solo stuff. The songs fell where they were supposed to. It wasn’t as planned as it seems. Where did you get the idea to release the song “Bullseye” as a downloadable app/game? What was the response like for it? It started with wanting to animate a character I’d sketched in past. We contacted Moonbot Studios as they were fans. They suggested we do the app. Worked out to be a fantastic idea. The response has been very positive. You and your wife, Julie Doyle, have been together since your teens and have always worked together on your musical projects. How have you two maintained such a long lasting relationship? What is it about her that has made it so easy to work together on your musical projects? It’s just that simple. We grew up together with very similar life ideas. Life = all that comes with it, everything under that umbrella. It’s always been an easy relationship creatively. We feed off of each other and balance each other out. I suppose the ingredients that have made the Spree and most everything we’ve done together a possibility stems from years and years of friendship, trust, and yes, love.
On the theme song you composed for the show The United States of Tara, you enlisted your kids to sing back up on the song. How do they react towards your music and are they interested in pursuing music? Ah.....it was quite fitting. Our family had been experiencing many challenges at the time and lyrically, emotionally it just seemed right. It’s not easy to answer how they feel or react to my music. Like anyone, I hope they enjoy it, but there’s absolutely no pressure on them to react one way or the other. They are their own. And I am learning from them. How do you and your wife balance family life with your musical projects? Exactly. Seriously, we just figure it out the best we can. Bands/groups of 3-5 members sometimes have problems aligning their schedules to record and tour, how do you make it all come together with a group of 18-22 members? All relative. Is it more work? Probably. However, it also depends who you’re dealing with. Frame of mind is key. I believe whether a 2, 4, or 20 piece, most everyone’s heart has to be in it. Otherwise, it’s just not worth it and creates more work than necessary. Good Records Recordings was slated to release re-issues of Tripping Daisy’s albums, is that still happening? Since you work with other ex-members of Tripping Daisy in The Polyphonic Spree and Preteen Zenith, have you ever considered a Tripping Daisy reunion with the surviving members of the band? Yes, eventually the Tripping Daisy stuff will come around. Good Records Recordings released Tops Off Our Head 12” not long ago. More coming. A reunion? Not planning on it, but never say never. When all and said and done, how would you want the Polyphonic Spree to be remembered? The Beginning Stages, 2000. We were there. It’s been real. If we stop tomorrow, we can honestly say we contributed something worthwhile to pop culture, beyond just music!
Interview with Tim DeLaughter The Polyphonic Spree thepolyphonicspree.com Good Records Recordings goodrecordsrecordings.com Photo: Chris Penn