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Sunday 6/5 @ The TLA: When I Was 12.

June 2, 2011

Adrianne Gold, lead singer of When I Was 12, is desperately trying to get her bandmate Carolyn Haynes on this conference call so the interview can begin.

“I’m not very good with technology, so we’ll see how this goes!” she says.

Eventually there is success and all is good.

When I Was 12 is the combination of four college students – two guys and two gals – coming together to make, as their Facebook description aptly puts it, “charming lyrics sprinkled on top of cute melodies.”

Fear not those wary of Apple and Starbucks ads. Don’t worry – it’s not like that. Similar to Belle & Sebastian at their quietest and Beat Happening at their most sincere, When I Was 12’s main objective is making your heart feel good.

They’ll be playing a record release show for their new 7-inch at the TLA this Sunday, June 5th, as part of the MAD Dragon Showcase. Kuf Knotz, Hezekiah Jones and many others are on the line-up.

What is it like balancing school and the band?

Adrianne: It’s really hard! Drexel runs on the quarter system, so it’s like, “You just took your mid-term … here’s your final.”

In music history, we go from Bach to the Beatles in two days.

Carolyn: It’s definitely hard because we’re trying to balance finals and preparing our summer tour. Luckily, our co-op this summer is our tour but next summer, we probably won’t be as lucky.

Speaking of that tour, actually, I saw that you guys had a Kickstarter page to help fund that tour and the mixing and mastering of your new full-length. Were you surprised that you were able to raise so much money?

Carolyn: I didn’t think we’d get to $2000 and now we’re, like, $80 away from $3000?

Adrianne: It’s at $2,926! I don’t know how that happened but now I have to write a lot of awkward love songs. [JUMP Note: The Kickstarter goal of $50 or more was the offer to write a song about your loved one] For example, my uncle’s husband wants me to write a song for him … about my uncle. So that’ll be challenging.

Taking off from that, a lot of – or almost all – of When I Was 12’s songs are about love. Are the lyrics shaped by personal experience or your idea of what love is or should be?

Adrianne: I don’t really know what love is or should be. I definitely think it’s always, if not often, based on true experiences. If I didn’t have boys that broke my heart or if I didn’t break anyone’s heart, I don’t think I’d have anything to write about. Because politics is so hard to write about and no one wants to hear that, you know? You don’t bring up politics at parties!

Truth! Will there ever come a time when you start writing songs about bad relationships and the songs take dark turns and have tons of minor chords?

Adrianne: Yes, yes, yes! We actually had a talk about it last week, like, “We have to start having songs with minor chords!” Our song “Crow” (off of last summer‘s Recollections of Affection EP) is pretty dark. That’s when I started writing about drugs and…

Carolyn: We didn’t take them! We knew a guy who did!

Adrianne: Yeah and for all the ladies out there, don’t get involved with guys who are “cool” and “dark.” It’s not all it’s cracked up to be!

To backtrack a little, how did the four of you come together as When I Was 12?

Adrianne: Well Dan Houwen (guitarist) and I met through Myspace, which is embarrassing because it wasn’t that long ago…

Carolyn: Yeah, Myspace is pretty dead…

Adrianne: I thought he was cute and in his profile picture he was holding a cat and I thought, “Oh god, any boy holding a cat.” So I asked him to be in the band. Ryan Heupler, our drummer is friends with Dan, so that’s how we met him. And Carolyn …

Carolyn: We go to school together and we took Piano 101 together. We were both scared of our teacher, so one day we were talking and she asked me what type of music I was into and then hung out a few times. We were in her room one time listening to the Unicorns and I was singing along and she goes, “Oh, you sing?” And I was like, “Well, kind of.” Then she asked me to play Glockenspiel for a little bit, and then asked me to be in her band.

Adrianne: I’d like to add that Carolyn has really nice red hair and really cute sweaters. If you have red hair and a sweater, you can probably be in this band, whether you play an instrument or not.

You’ll probably get a lot of e-mails from gingers with sweaters reading this interview wanting to join your band now.

Carolyn: We’ll take it!

What about the 7-inch you’re releasing for your show at the TLA?

Carolyn: Well, the third time is a charm. We’ve had two record release parties with no record and we decided we’d switch it around this time.

Good thinking. Do you shy away from or embrace the idea of your music being tagged as “cutesy?” Do you treat it as a derogatory or positive term? Sometimes it’s a really weighted label.

Adrianne: Well, for a while, I was getting really tired of people saying it was so cute all the time, but I’ve really started to embrace that with teddy bears and super cute Twee music, with simple chords and lots of glockenspiel. I don’t know, I’m really into super cute things, like, my room is the one in the video for “Tree Trunk Of My Heart.” I guess you can see what I’m about from that.

Are the guys in the band ever like, “Man, we gotta throw some Pantera riffs in here to toughen it up!”

Adrianne: Oh my god, I don’t understand! One time I wrote this song called “Total Prick” and it’s just about bashing guys and they were SO excited to play that song cause it was somewhat punk-rock, I guess. It was weird cause they were really excited to play a song that bashes boys.

Boys bashing boys … it’s not a good thing.

Adrianne: Boys bashing boys! That’ll be the next album’s title!

  1. Bill permalink
    June 2, 2011 11:13 am

    The drummer’s name is Ryan Heupler…not Brian Huckler. Nice job.

    • Geo permalink*
      June 2, 2011 12:24 pm

      It’s been amended in the story. Please accept our apologies for the error.

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