A Bite With The Band: Earthquake Party! Munch On Ground-Moving Tacos At Los Hermanos
It's true: fuzzy pop trio Earthquake Party! doesn't have the flashiest origin story. Yes, they are yet another one of those bands that started in a living room as an excuse to dick around and have fun. Yes, for the past three years, they've been hopping from basement show to local venue to basement show in their hometown scene in Boston for the past three years, juggling retail gigs and serving jobs to get by. And yes, the only release they have available to fans is a three-song EP only available on cassette and via Bandcamp.
But sometimes that's all you need.
This year, they embarked on their first tour, a nine-date stint spanning between Boston and Chicago (there they'd been cold-called by bookers at the Empty Bottle). While guitarist Justin Lally claims the band "barely broke even" over the short jaunt, it did the trick. Returning to Boston, he and keyboardist Mallory Hestand quit their day jobs and battened down the Earthquake Party! hatches.
But do they have the commitment it'll take to make their band a full-time gig? The Voice met up with them when they swung into town for two nights last week, their first time back in the city since their first tour back in the spring. They're New York natives by no stretch of the imaginatio; Hestand spent a year living and working in Williamsburg before retreating back to Boston, while Lally seems positively bewildered by the city. But even out-of-towners have a favorite NYC food jointLos Hermanos, a taqueria nestled inside a tortilleria deep into Bushwick. Sound of the City met the band on the eve of Fashion Week to discuss the dos and don'ts of operating in a small scene, relying on the goodwill of fans with recording studios, and the benefits of biding your time as a band.
Tell me your origin story. How did you three meet?
Mallory Hestand: We actually worked together, all three of us, in retail, at the Urban Outfitters on Newbury Street[sarcasm] a blast. Truly. A blast. So much of a blast that we needed to distract ourselves. And Justin and I had talked about music a little bit. It worked out really well because one day, he texted me and said, "Hey, do you know that band The Vaselines?" and I said, "Of course, they're awesome," and he asked, "Do you want to start a band like the Vaselines?" and I was like, "Yeah!" We started out without a drummer; our first show was at the Beachcomber [bar] in Quincy, just the two of us. We just had a tambourine.
Justin Lally: Before that, we didn't even have a keyboard. We had an acoustic [at Mallory's apartment] and she'd play [the piano tool on] her MacBook, and that's how we wrote our first three songs.
M: It was awful!
J: Then we decided to have a party and a show at Mallory's and invited some friends and had this other band that had a drum set play with us. J-Raff came by and his band [at the time] the Wonderful Spells were still on hiatus, and he asked us if we had a drummer. We said no.
M: And then he asked us, "Do you... want a drummer?"
J: So we counted it off, and it actually sounded better than I thought it was going to!
And how did you settle on the name Earthquake Party!?
J: I thought it up randomly. People came to our shows and told me about the Upright Citizens' Brigade skit [of the same name], but I've never seen it. We also started playing like four months before the earthquake hit Haiti [in January 2010], and had to take some time off from playing shows just because of our name. We've played as Milkshake Party too, though!