Thursday, January 6th, 2011

Emerging Artist Interview: Laura Stevenson and the Cans

Laura Stevenson and the Cans

Laura Stevenson began playing music at an early age, taking note from her composer grandfather Harry Simeone - most famous for his arrangements of "The Little Drummer Boy," and "Do You Hear What I Hear?" - Stevenson's musical exposure began with her classical training but, as she grew, she turned to the nurturing, tight-knit punk and indie rock scenes of New York. As a founding member of the Long Island punk rock collective Bomb The Music Industry, Stevenson toured the country with national headlining acts throughout her late teens and early twenties.

During her tenure with Bomb The Music Industry, Stevenson began privately composing songs on the softer side of indie rock and traditional folk, sometime performing live solo or recruiting members of Bomb The Music Industry as auxiliary musicians.

Stevenson began playing and arranging her songs with Mike Campbell in the summer of 2007 after the two met at a music academy where they both taught. At around the same time, Alex Billig began playing trumpet and accordion with the group. With the addition of string and brass instruments as well as full percussion and electric bass, the original acoustic, skeletal arrangements began to blossom into a fuller sound. The band was dubbed The Cans.

Laura Stevenson and The Cans released their first full-length LP, titled simply "A Record," for free download through donation-based label Quote Unquote Records, and later was picked up by Asian Man Records for an official release in the spring of 2010. The band toured the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom and Western Europe for the better part of that year. Laura Stevenson and The Cans plan to release their sophomore album in April 2011.

What was the first record/cassette/CD that you owned and how did it change you?
Nirvana: In Utero on cassette. I bought it with my own money in 5th grade. Before that I never listened to my own music- I was raised on a steady diet of Neil Young which also rules so... I was pretty lucky.

If you could pick any musician's brain over a beer, who would it be?
Maybe Leonard Cohen? But we'd drink hot toddies out of fancy tea cups.

Who are you musically influenced by that no one would ever guess by listening to your music?
Probably Akron Family, I love that band so much.

If someone invested a million dollars into your band, how would you use the money?
Buy a new van. After that, I'm not sure. I bought a lottery ticket the other day and the only thing I could think of wanting to buy with the winnings was a van with airbags. And heat. And air conditioning.

Which 5 songs would you cover if you had a cover band?
Probably Possum Kingdom by the Toadies. 5 times.

Name the place you'd most like to play a show, anywhere in the world.
The Henry Miller Library in Big Sur, California.