Food helps us learn more about people, so we sat down for a meal with four different bands amidst the Coachella chaos. We asked them to describe their music in food terms, which resulted in a few intriguing responses and many laughs. But the best part was, every artist was a complete pleasure to talk to despite their tight interview schedules and the ramshackle table settings we scrambled to put together, and we like to think food played a role in that.
Winsome grilled cheese sandwiches with Local Natives
Shortly after their magical set on the Coachella Stage, Taylor Rice (vocals and guitar), Kelcey Ayer (vocals and keyboard) and Matt Frazier (drums) sat down with us for grilled cheese sandwiches and farro salad from Echo Park’s Winsome.
The Silver Lake–based band love food as much as we do, with local favorites including Winsome (how convenient), Los Feliz’s HomeState and Atwater Village’s Tacos Villa Corona. They also seek out recommendations while on tour by talking to baristas at local coffee shops.
“Every morning [while on tour] we try to take showers if we can, then we’re like, where’s the coffee spot?” Ayer says.
One of their most recent finds was Saint Leo in Oxford, Mississippi, which was a James Beard semifinalist this year.
“They have really good stone-fired pizzas. You know Little Dom's in L.A.? It felt similar to that.”
Asked to describe their music in food terms, the guys went on an entertaining flavor journey, which went something like this:
Ayer: I think our music is like, a mix of savory and sweet. It’s like fruit on a pizza. I used to work at a California Pizza Kitchen and nobody on the staff liked the mango tandoori chicken pizza, but I thought it was really good. I loved the mango on the pizza with the chicken. I loved the sweet and savory.
Rice: Should we say a Hawaiian pizza? Because I do love Hawaiian pizza so much. I think that’s a good option, Hawaiian, but with jalapeños. But, what’s the food we eat the most while recording?
Ayer: Burritos. We eat a ton.
Rice: The burrito is really the perfect food. A burrito can hold so many things. We’re like one burrito. We’re like a burrito with, you know, it’s got pico de gallo and guacamole and habanero.
Ayer: And it’s got Spanish rice and black beans.
Rice: I would put carnitas in there.
Ayer: I’d put shrimp in there to feel a little fancy, because we have some fancy parts to our music.
Frazier: We do call Kelcey “fancy parts.”
Ayer: I could see us putting some crazy rub on the shrimp that we grill.
Frazier: Local Natives, an assortment of burritos.
Local Natives play the Fox Theater in Pomona this Wednesday and again next weekend on the Coachella stage.
Kogi tacos and Wolf cheesy tots with Tennis
Tennis vocalist and keyboard player Alaina Moore tried her first Kogi taco (and Korean taco in general) on Friday, after completing a dreamy set with her husband, Patrick Riley (guitar) in the Mojave Tent. It was her first meal of the day, and it was 4:30 p.m.
The retro-inspired pop duo from Denver chatted with us over Kogi and cheesy tots from Wolf, both restaurants they hadn’t heard of before. Despite not having eaten the entire day, they were, to put it lightly, the nicest people in the world, perhaps because cheese was on the horizon.
“Cheese is my shit,” Moore says. “And I just love tater tots.”
“We love tacos. We eat a lot of tacos on the road,” Riley adds.
When asked to describe their music in food terms, Moore flipped the script.
“We are so entrenched in music we only use music terms to describe all other things. Literally everything is described in music terms. So umami would be low-end [referring to frequency], and I’d say something really acidic would be really bright, like a lot of high-end, in terms of the EQ spectrum instead of the flavor profile.”
“Right now our food has a 'delay' on it,” Riley adds, playfully referring to the food running late (it had to make it across the field from Main VIP to the press tent).
Those two are troopers.
Tennis open for Local Natives on Wednesday, April 19, at the Fox Theatre in Pomona and will perform again at Coachella weekend two.
Mainland Poké with Tycho
L.A. Weekly: Is it good?
Tycho: Fuck yeah, amazing.
San Francisco–based band Tycho killed their visually driven instrumental set on the outdoor stage Saturday evening, and founder Scott Hanson (known himself as Tycho, too) met us in the Rose Garden for late-night Mainland Poké bowls before his DJ set in the Do Lab.
“This is really good rice. As sticky rice goes, this is great,” he said. “And I always love cream. I’ll put sriracha and mayo on anything Japanese.”
Tycho is quite passionate about food and the dining experience as a whole, including ambiance and presentation. “They turned an old club in Oakland into an awesome Asian fusion, Thai place called Blind Tiger. The interior alone is amazing, but the food is incredible. It’s all presented [with detail]; they bring a chicken dish in a Chinese takeout container and pour it out like it accidentally fell down.
“I love the experience. If I’m gonna go out, we go out for that, that’s what we go out for, I want the experience. It’s like a show.”
“So you’re not going to Denny’s then?” I joked. He immediately responded with a no, but took it back.
“You know what? I take back everything. Moons Over My Hammy is fucking amazing. With the hash browns, unbelievable.”
When asked how he’d describe his music in food terms, he responded without hesitation.
“Cream of asparagus soup. That’s my favorite soup so … there’s some green and white, a little bit of a viscous quality. It’s dense, but it has this perfectly stratified, various elements all suspended in a colloidal mass.
“It’s everything all at once, but perfectly mixed.”
Tycho plays weekend two, then continues on his national tour, starting with Denver.
Sweetfin Poké and Hanjip with Blossoms
English band Blossoms had their first Coachella this weekend, both as a band and as spectators. The indie-rock ensemble are on a mission to find the world’s best Bolognese sauce, and during this interview, lead singer Tom Ogden tried avocado for the first time. It was an eventful 30 minutes.
So far, their favorite Bolognese was, appropriately, had in Bologna, Italy, but also in Osaka, Japan.
“Consistency, flavor, texture and dankness makes a good Bolognese,” said guitar player Josh Dewhurst. “It needs to be really dank, not too dank though.”
While most of the band members are open to trying different foods, Ogden admitted he likes to keep things simple.
“I’m not a foodie. I like basic food. I don’t offer much in this situation,” he said. “You can’t find a meat-and-potato pie anywhere [in the States]. I got into pineapple today. I hadn’t had it before. I didn’t know what a pineapple looked like.”
Which is why he shocked his bandmates when he decided to try a tiny morsel of avocado from a poké bowl. The result:
“Fuckin’ horrible. Why would you eat that?”
The remainder of the interview consisted of a great deal of laughter, and their criticism of American breakfast meats. According to keyboardist Myles Kellock, the band’s been eating a lot of Denny’s lately.
“Why are the sausages so small?” drummer Joe Donovan asked. “You get two sausages, they come and they’re like a little finger. An index finger.”
However, they do agree that Americans do hash browns better. (Guess that's a theme!)
They described their music in two ways:
A meat-and-potato pasty from U.K. bakery chain Greggs. They highly recommend Greggs for anyone traveling across the pond.
And, as a great first-date meal.
“I think we’re a really good first-date meal. That’s what I’m saying. It’s a really good first-date meal. Everything’s there,” Donovan said.
“We’re a sustainable dish,” bassist Charlie Salt said.
Blossoms perform at the Echo on Tuesday, then are back at Coachella for weekend two. If you see Ogden, be sure to offer him some avocado.