Six Questions For ... Love as Laughter


Love as Laughter gets "Holy."

Love as Laughter is one of those bands that are easy to root for. Over the course of nearly 15 years and six albums the loosely organized crew led by Sam Jayne has played loosely organized indie rock. They know the power of a one-note guitar solo and that you can never go wrong ripping off Neil Young. "Laughter's Fifth" in 2005 signaled a new peak for the band, featuring both their catchiest ("Dirty Lives") and most epic ("Every Midnight Song") tunes but this year's "Holy" might be even better. It's released on Glacial Pace, the new label run by Modest Mouse's Isaac Brock and it manages to be a slicker affair while still maintaining the ramshackle charm that defined Love as Laughter up to this point. While many of Jayne's friends have gone on to big things Jayne is fine staying below the radar.

"Not everybody's going to get lucky, so to speak, or have all the time in the world to work on their band," he says. "There's nothing wrong with just being a band for a while and getting to put out records." Love as Laughter plays at the Black Cat Thursday night with the Oranges Band in one of those shows that I feel was booked specifically with me in mind. (Note to bookers: Bad strategy.)

The new record's out on Glacial Pace after you had your run on two of the revered Northwest indie labels (K and Sub Pop). What made you change?
I think the main thing was Isaac really twisted our arm to be on the label because he wanted to help us make a decidedly bigger push for Love as Laughter. To put more support behind us, make a bigger sounding record. And I was like, "Yeah, whatever man. That's cool. If that's what you want to do." And ultimately he talked me into it. It's a lot more involved and complex, the whole process. But so far it's been really good because we made a record that everybody's really proud of, including him. I think he just wanted to help us out, to make a fancier record.

You said that he wanted to give a "bigger push" to Love as Laughter. The first time I saw your name was in Beck's "One Foot in the Grave" and since then it seems like a lot of bands you're friends have experienced big success, like Beck, the Shins, Modest Mouse, while you guys have pretty much stayed in the background. What gives?
I don't know! Love as Laughter was basically a name I made for when I was doing home recordings and it just kind of became a band. It's a lot different from other bands in the sense that there's always people going in and out. And the music's decidedly different when different people are in it. It hasn't ever consistently motored down the road like a lot of these other bands that we're friends with that have had a consistent movement throughout the years. We stop and start up again and do different things. That's just the best way I can explain it. (Pause.) Although label people may argue that we're not the easiest band to work with. (Laughs.)

Well your last three were on Sub Pop, who obviously doesn't have much of a problem breaking bands. But there are probably lots of people that like the Shins and don't know you guys.
Well they may not even know that we're partially responsible for signing the Shins to that record label and getting them notoriety! It's like that with a lot these bands that we've grown up with or played with. We're constantly helping them and playing with them and vice versa but I'm not so sure if my intention in the first place was to make a big deal of it. I think now it's probably changed a little because I'm older and sick of living like a dirtbag.

Your lyrics are full of references. On the new album there are songs titled "Don't Worry Baby" and "Bonnie and Clyde." In the past there have been "Drugachusetts" (a classic "Mr. Show" sketch) and "Temptation Island" and all...
Like because the metaphors were maybe a little more far out before and now they seem a little more realistic?
Is that the answer to the question I didn't ask yet? It's just a lot of very specific references. Do those all mean something to you? Like on the new album you have a lyric about singing "Cowgirl in the Sand."
Yeah, that's just for my own personal amusement. I'm a nerd who likes all these things and references within the songs are just fun for me. And then people will be like, "Yeah man, I love that song, too!"

When Modest Mouse played on "Saturday Night Live" a few years ago you were playing with the band and standing stage center. Was that a surreal moment?
Yeah, people thought I was the lead singer. If you look at the clip there's a part where they throw the camera away from me because I start cracking up in the middle of it because I had quite a few shots of Jagermeister before we did that.

So I have to ask - what's your favorite "Mr. Show" sketch?
Well "Drugachusetts," that was our favorite one. At the time that was the band's unanimous decision for best one. But once you watch it more there are some that are a little more subtle that have some pretty deep jokes that I like better now. I haven't watched that show in a couple years because I watched every episode so many times. They're all just stored away in my video collection, we taped them all. But I was just thinking the other day of that one where the guy's like, "I'd like ... a donut ... with ... sprinkles." And it takes him 30 minutes to order a dozen donuts. Just that one little scene is great.

By David Malitz |  July 16, 2008; 12:13 PM ET Interviews
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LAL and OB IS a great bill, although I was underwhelmed by the OB last time I saw 'em.

Posted by: Jet Age Eric | July 16, 2008 2:37 PM

The dude with the dirty t shirt looks like Robin Gibb.

Posted by: Garry | July 16, 2008 3:58 PM

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