Sweet Interference
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Sweet Interference

Falls Church, Virginia, United States

Falls Church, Virginia, United States
Band Alternative Adult Contemporary

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Can this high quality and more established local band follow that great set? Why of course! The on-stage instrumentation is not too fdifferent with keyboards instead of violin and the vocal work is slightly more female lead but with loads of harmonies and alternating vocal lines. The vocal tradeoffs remind of that of the 60s psyche garage bands like the Peanut Butter Conspiracy and even have a touch of Dengue Fever. Musically, the PBC comparison really takes hold although it is far more modern unsurprisingly. But the band really connects with the psyche-pop scene of the 60s as opposed to the acid drenched jam bands or hard psyche powerhouses. The songs have a certain snap to them and melodies stand out with some occasionally show-off creative moments. I rarely lament the loss of hit singles being played on the radio, but when I hear three or four of their truly outstanding songs (including my favorite "Minimum Wage") that could really pull in a wide audience, my imagination goes back to my youth listening to tinny pop radio. Waking up at 4am and still hearing these hooks in my head is proof enough for me. But that era is gone, so hopefully touring, good local live shows like tonight's well attended affair, and plenty of accolades from people like me will help get this music heard. The audience tonight would agree with all of this as they enjoyed the hour plus set and wanted one more song before leaving. Two more outstanding examples tonight of the diverse and vibrant local music scene we have here. - DC Rock Live


Next up was Sweet Interference, another group of DC locals, whom celebrated the release of their new album The Falling In and Out. Dressed in various layers of red and black, they were led by Moira Annelin who belted out the lead vocals. In most songs, the straightforward lyrics took the form of a narrative, centering on such eternal adages as love, seduction and contempt for high school. The images Annelin conjured up were concrete, singing in “Monday Morning Recital” about getting caught in the rain; “No taxi will pick me up/ Because my dress is soaked/ Twisted up and looking totally insane.”

The band, rounded out with guitar, bass, drums and keyboard, and were happy to please the crowd. When the introduction of a new song with a tambourine was met with a call from the audience for “more cowbell,” drummer Zach Mast improvised and added it in. At the end of the night, despite a half-hearted protest that they had played all of their songs, and a false start as they tried to recall the right tune, cheers for an encore were fulfilled with a rousing run through “El Camino is a Car” from their first album Losing the Highway (released in Aug ’07). - DC Music Download


This local band has been under my radar until now. From the sounds on their new album, their fourth, it has clearly been my loss. I really like their approach. They use a lot of synthesizer to augment to basic rock band sounds and come up with a pop-rock balance that harkens back to previous eras, but easily fits in with modern listeners. Moira Annelin's lead vocals are excellent and the harmony vocals are carefully used. Their approach updates sixties garage-psyche-pop-rock just as what an excellent band like Circulus did with psyche-folk. In this case, I hear great psyche-pop melodies like many 60s bands did with vocals that remind me a bit of the Peanut Butter Conspiracy (a talented and oft overlooked 60s band). Sweet Interference also employs a progressive touch to their songs and if you are not careful, some thick nearly metal guitar chords will explode at you. When you have this kind of variety, you need the talent to bring it out and the songs to hold it together. Sweet Interference has all of that. The 12 songs on this album will be going on my regular rotation and I will make sure to catch the live show at Iota on March 12th.

Songs to try out:

Monday Morning Recital - The first song of an album usually has the hooks and sounds like a single. True enough here.

Damage Control - Nice catchy song with heavy moves and a duet that reminds me of the vocal work of Dengue Fever.

Minimum Wage - This starts simple and ends as complex as any prog-pop song you can think of. Great vocal work. - DC Rock Live


Last week Moira of Sweet Interference contacted me asking if I'd give a listen to their album.
Along with that email she sent this as part of their press release:

"Sweet Interference plays Art-Rock with Zappa-esque melodies and a driving back beat. SI’s music can be compared to driving in a new city with new sights, sounds and traffic-patterns that may at first seem confusing, but make sense in the end."

I read that and thought to myself, good God what a bunch of pretentious sounding artsy crap - driving in a new city with traffic patterns that make sense in the end. I thought here comes a band that ranks right up there with The Wandas. Thank God they didn't mention their dedication to "their craft".

Most bands that I have heard that say they are Zappa influenced, frankly turn out to be overflowing with attitude and short on talent.

I read on and saw that they also cover some stuff by the Pixies which made me feel much better.

Then I listened to what they had online.

The first thing that struck me was this chick can sing. Moira, it turns out has a really nice voice that I enjoy listening to.

Secondly, the band can play.

Okay, I thought, I was a bit harsh in my rush to prejudge based on things that actually have nothing to do with the music. Zappa-esque, it turns out, is quite an appropriate way to describe this band.

I still wasn't completely sold however as I felt that while the music is well played and thought out, (I hear what sounds to be a classical background or music school influence in a lot of their stuff.) I was also struck with the feeling that it is robotic and lacking soul, almost as if some high school theater kids, decided to form a rock band.

I just wasn't picking up on what exactly they were doing or where they were going, while at the same time I could dig the musicianship it takes to do what they do.

Then Moira sent me the rest of their album and it clicked.
The track Damage Control, is my favorite of the album. The music flows and I just dig the voice of the guy who is singing lead. The chorus is just so infectious and perky while at the same time the man is singing about the despair he feels at the end of a relationship. Making sadness sound catchy, is a trick.

The rest of the album follows suit, I found myself listening over and over picking up slight nuances here and there.

I hear things that remind me of Queen as well as Zappa. The thing is, the music is just so enjoyable that the tracks I originally wrote off as robotic, now sound better to me. Sweet Interference plays music that you need to really listen to several times before you get it.

Listening to Sweet Interference reminds me of a conversation I had with a woman one night while listening to a wicked Shamisen player do his thing. I was digging it - this 70 year old Japanese guy was absolutely ripping it up at a lightening pace when I leaned over to this Japanese woman who only listened to Western music because she felt the traditional Japanese stuff was boring and said "Eddie Van Halen has absolutely nothing on this guy!" She sat there for a bit then said "I see what you mean. I never REALLY listened to Shamisen before."

Sometimes you need to just step back and listen.
Grouch rating 4 out of 5 scowls - Grouchy Gaijin


Fresh off their headlining show at DC9, Sweet Interference is set to take the stage at EJ's Landing on Friday with fellow female-fronted band This Day Waits.

Sweet Interference is a DC based, five-piece, indie rock band with dueling female singers and a dance-evoking sound. They meld witty lyrics, harmonizing vocals and electric instrumentation with a style similar to the Rentals.

Fans of Cake may enjoy their sometimes biting but humorous lyrics such as "Will you admit your mistake? From the bottom of the lake." Singer Moira Annelin's angelic, sophisticated vocals add a nice level of irony to the punchy lyrics.

If you enjoy more rebelious sounding vocals, singer Nicole DeMambro brings out the band's spunky side. While taking the lead on vocals DeMambro can be seen dancing in the crowd and playing cowbell.

Their DC9 show included two covers, "Mad World" and "Love Will Tear Us Apart," and an encore at the crowd's request. The B-Film Extras and Gills and Wings opened.

Sweet Interference can be heard on myspace but should be experienced live.

7/17/2009 10:00 PM
EJ’s Landing
with This Day Waits
8601 Baltimore Ave, College Park, Maryland 20740

8/8/2009 9:00 PM
Rock and Roll Hotel
with Five Four, Bellflur and Gaslight Society. This show is all ages!
1353 H St NE, Washington, Washington DC 20002

- Kim Reed - DC Concerts Examiner


April 25, 2009

The Red and The Black

Sweet Interference - if there was an adult contemporary radio station for alternative rock, they would be in the Top 40 rotation. It’s like the indie version of the Mamma and the Pappas without a hint of soulful vocals. w/ Hey Abore, Bama - $6
- 2bloxdc.com


In reference to "I Cannot Die"

Great song!
We'll get it into rotation today!

Jake Jacobsen
Bolt.FM Internet Radio
All Indie-All The Time!
- Bolt.FM


Take a classically trained vocalist, a handful of talented musicians, and a songbook filled with entertaining lyrics and there you will have Sweet Interference. “What most characterizes [their] sound is the classical and rock fusion,” explained the band’s singer, Moira. “We are a band that likes to play around with traditional music theory and use chord progressions and harmonies that are not the standard format you hear on the radio.”
Fusing a lead singer who is classically trained in opera, with a mutli-piece rock band and another vocalist is certainly not the standard arrangement one sees on stage. However, after hearing your musical style and reading your bio I take it that you would rather be slightly left of center on purpose! How do you take advantage of your special arrangement and what impact does it have on your compositions? What are some of the characteristics that are hallmarks of Sweet Interference's music?

Chris – In the previous incarnation of the band, we featured two female vocalists: soprano Moira Annelin and alto Nicole DeMambro. At the beginning of the writing process we only focused on their different singing ranges, but once we started practicing and performing the songs we started focusing on how the two voices can bring different feelings to the music. Though Moira’s voice sounds high and beautiful, it can also add a lot of power and grit when the band gets loud and lyrics get mean. For example on the bridge “You Proved It” you can hear her sing so loudly that she’s over blowing the microphone, which really goes with lyrics, “I want you to die lonely in the dark.” Other times she just blows you away with her ability to sing amazing range of notes. On the song, “Hope, Control, Soap, and Soul” Moira starts low, soft, and slow, and the outro features her sky high, loud, and fast. To contrast that we had Nicole’s raspy alto, which she can use to create a very intimate feeling or to sound really angry. When we were able to get both of those voices on tracks together, like in “All The King’s Men,” “You Proved It,” and “Laugh So Hard” we able to create some truly great musical moments.

Unfortunately after our grueling recording process, both Nicole and guitarist Mick Sexton left the band to focus on their careers. It was a great loss to us, but we have been more than fortunate to find some amazing new members. We found multi-instrumentalists Josh Klein and Zach Mast, who both play Keyboards, Guitar, Drums, and Sing. Josh is an incredible performer and Zach has proved to be a great songwriter. We have also added two part-time musicians: Aaron Lowenberger has been lending his virtuosic guitar playing abilities and Becky Sach has been adding her smoky alto voice to balance Moira’s Soprano. Moving forward we should be able to do even more with multiple voices and instruments.
What are the band's plans and goals for 2010? Recording? More performances? Festival circuit?

Alex – We will definitely be writing new material and playing around the DMV area. We may play some festivals as well. I don’t believe we have discussed recording in 2010, but it will probably happen.

Chris – We plan to play out more in 2010 then we did in 2009. With our new members, we have a new ability to put on a great live show with more soloing, and even some three-part harmony. We’re currently applying to festivals and though we may start some recording this year. It will be more then a year before we release anything else, since we just released The Depths of Loneliness.

Josh – Our main plans right now (or so I’ve been told) are to really get out there and perform. We want to reach as many people as possible, get some new fans, and generally just rock out. Festivals are definitely in the future for us.

Moira – As our main booker, any suggestions of new venues and festivals we can play would be great…. sweetinterference@gmail.com.
Tell DoS readers a little about your composition process? Who writes, who composes, and who adds in the random commentary during your song-writing sessions?

Chris – During the past few years, I have written or at least begun the majority of the songs. While most have originated with me, songs often get changed and corrected during the learning and writing process. I take every comment I get from the members very seriously. All of our members have taken some amount of music theory, so they all can analyze the music I write from a theory base.

Josh – Chris writes most of the songs, but hopefully more of us will start with the song writing in the future. I’ve got some stuff that I’ve been working on that I hope we can play in the future. I’m pretty sure that I add in the random commentary in the songwriting. Although my commentary is more along the lines of “what random song have I heard recently that I will play incessantly during practice?” These can range from Lady Gaga to Justin Timberlake, and last rehearsal I was playing some Journey. We play written parts, but thos - District of Sound


Sweet Interference makes music that sounds like Oprah getting into a fist fight with Maya Angelou with the ambient background noise of a baby in a blender. At least that’s what Alex Marsh (bass), Chris Cortelyou (rhythm guitar/vocals), Jon Owen (drums), Mick Sexton (lead guitar), Moira Annelin (vocals) and Nicole DeMambro a.k.a. Nikki Dee (vocals/keyboard) say. But if that colorful analogy doesn’t do enough to conjure up the sounds of this Washington, DC band then think of them of as a blend of Indie, Emo, alt-country and rock.

Skratch: How long have you been together:

SI: Going on 3 years with some line-up changes along the way.

Skratch: Give me an idea of what one would expect from your live show.

Jon: The dark, angsty vocal delivery of Nikki Dee counterbalanced with Moira's fey operatic shimmer, pounding drums, dueling guitars, phat rolling bass lines with piano and a bleating Moog keyboard.
Chris: Suits and ties for the guys, dresses from the ladies and lots of turning your head to see everything going on.
Moira: We perform our songs true to the way they sound on our recordings with some changes to enhance the live show. You can expect to think that there are a lot of people and a lot of instruments involved in creating the SI sound.

Skratch: What do you guys do off the stage?

Mick: I usually enjoy sodomizing Chris or Jon with Alex's electric toothbrush. Oh, you probably shouldn't print that ‘cause Alex doesn't know yet.
Jon: We usually stop and get a bite to eat at one of the soulless and putridly lit fast food or chain restaurants that line the suburban highways. We're not big drinkers. On occasion, we may knock a few Pabst Blue Ribbons back.
Chris: We go to Hard Times Cafe and complain about the service and then sing their praises when they finally bring us their amazing chili. We also enjoy going to Star Bucks, 7-11, Panda Express, Chipotle, Roy Roger’s, Taco Bell, Wendy's, A & W, and hanging out with Jimmy at La Tasca in Old Town Alexandria.
Moira: Talk about the band, have boring day jobs.

Skratch: Where do you enjoy touring? Any good stories?

Moira: We would enjoy touring very much, I think.

Skratch: What are you favorite two lyric lines from your recent songs? Tell me a little about them.

Jon: "You know that she doesn't care about anything but your money and her wrinkles"-- men often perceive women to be materialistic and vain.
Chris: “I would never lie to you, the sky is anything but blue”--
cause it is so true from a scientific point of view and adds so much meaning to the song from an emotional stand point.
Moira: "Visions of stabbing my table companions, can’t let them find out"-- I just love the violent, passive aggressive tone of this song. The facade of acting happy and calm around people when you really just want to kill them with your bare hands. Who hasn't been there? “The light of the moon will make all your desires come clear”-- Being a night person, this really speaks to me. Everything is easier to express under to the cover of night and cheap beer.

Skratch: What other special talents do you guys have aside from music? Any hobbies?

Mick: Moira and Nicole are both brilliant when it comes to cake farts.
Jon: I enjoy creative writing, going to rock shows, and many sports. Chris is an excellent landscaper and horticulturalist. Nikki Dee is a brilliant film editor. Alex enjoys relating stories from his misadventures at Starbucks. Mick is a natural comedian coining new sexual terms to describe deviant sex and Moira likes shopping, judging from her motley assortment of outfits.
Chris: Skiing, golf, and bowling.
Nikki Dee: I’m a bit of a Jack-of-all-trades, but I really like photography. You should check out my Flickr stream sometime.

Skratch: Any secret crushes you care to divulge?
Jon: No crushes.
Moira: Our rhythm guitar player is super cute.

Skratch: Politically, where does the band stand?
Jon: I get the sense that most of the band isn't that politically fervent as only Moira and I attended Obama's inauguration. I'd say moderate left.
Chris: We are left of center.
Moira: We stand where all the cool little rock kids are currently standing because we just want to be popular. Right now that appears to be pretty far to the left.

Aside from being a "rockstar", what are your dayjobs? What are your goals?

Jon: I work for the NIH Legislation office and used to be a part-time film projectionist. My goal is to become an accomplished writer and respected artist and meet the right girl.
Chris: We all work for the same waste collection company where we met.
Moira: Day jobs are boring. The goal of everyone in this band is to be a rock star.
Nikki Dee: I work a full-time contracting job in DC, when I’m not there the rest of my free time is divided between the band and working part-time at an Apple retail store. As for goals, right now I just want to get out of debt. It seems to be my primary motivation these days.

Skratch: When all - Skratch Magazine


Discography

Still working on that hot first release.

Photos

Bio

Originally from Washington, DC Sweet Interference is a unique Recording Project that combines a wide array of musical influences to create their own blend of music. In March 2012 the band released their fourth full length album, The Falling In and Out. Since then they have taken a bit of a break for some minor life events (marriage, birth, engagements), but are excited to be back in the studio recording, and are gearing up for using newer technologies to create across multiple states.

Their music is melodic indie-rock reminiscent of early Pixies and Modest Mouse with a hint of The Rentals, though in the newer projects we expect hints of Massive attack and Britney Spears.  The songs deal with a wide range of themes including Super Heroes, Drug Use, Paranoia, Magic and fantasy, and other strange topics.

Sweet Interference is a 6 piece group consisting of: Moira Annelin (vocals), Owen Brady (guitar), Andrew Beutel (drums), Chris Cortelyou (bass/guitar/vocals), Josh Klein (keys/vocals), and Zach Mast (guitar/bass/vocals). The band has garnered press mentions in publications like DCist, Skratch Magazine and Express Night Out (Finalist for “Best Of DC”, Best Local Artist). They have also played extensively throughout the region.

Sweet Interference has released four full length albums to date: The Falling In and Out (2012), The Depths of Loneliness (2010), We Never Draw Hearts Anymore (2009), and Losing the Highway (2007). We currently Working on Mastering our Fifth and Writing our Sixth.

Band Members