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The Retinas: “It’s the Bad Things That Make or Break and Define it.”

June 9, 2016


The Retinas have been making music for nearly five years now, steadily putting out waves of shoe-gazy, post-garage, indie rock. Their latest project, chaba, drops tomorrow. The guys will be doing a house show to celebrate the release.

We spoke with frontman Tom McHugh about life in the band.

Congrats on the new EP. Can you tell us about it?

Thank you! We’re very excited about the new chaba EP.

The EP’s title comes from the first letter of each song.  We were trying to figure out a title of for the EP and nothing seemed to fit. It got to a point where we were joking around with ridiculous titles and thought of the idea of taking the first letter and making it a name. After a few variations we decided on chaba – “Cheesepuffs,” “Hey Julia,” “Accident,” “Beat It Out” and “Aries”).

The EP is a bit more lo-fi then our last one. We wanted to try and break out of a normal formula and start doing the opposite of what we would typically do musically. Half the songs were recorded in an abandoned post office in Manayunk and the other were recorded in our rehearsal space in Kensington.

What’s happening in the video for “Accident?” It’s pretty trippy.

We knew we wanted the “Accident” video to be dark and unsettling. The song itself is dark and we thought the video should follow that.

The plot points at how as conversations/relationships/love/friendships grow, they become interrogation rooms. In those rooms, you see the people as they are/what you know about them, and at the same time you have flashes of your own subconscious and nostalgia running that affect their perception, as well as the ideal perception of you want to have of them.

Among all of this you’re also learning their vices and twitches and flaws and anything else below the surface. The reason we say interrogation room is because the entire time your building the relationship, your acceptance of the worst parts about them are on trial and whether you choose to continue the relationship or to love this person is based on the darker aspects of them and whether they can be apart of your life.

You don’t truly choose or love someone for only the good things. It’s the bad things that make or break and define it.

You guys have been around for a few years now, right? How has the band evolved over the past five years?

The bands changed in a lot of ways over the last couple of years. For one, members have changed. Anthony Fulginitti (drummer) and I (singer/guitarist) are the only original members of the band left.

Musically, I think we’re transitioning out of loving our favorite bands and trying to be like them (i.e. Life At Work EP) into developing our own style. We’re not as afraid to explore different genres or write a slower song like we were before because we’re trying to doing something new and that hasn’t been done before. Or, at least, relate to people on our own level as opposed to a revivalist stand point.

You guys have been steadily hustling. What’s the goal for the project? 

I guess the goal is to do something new and relate to a larger body of people while doing so.

What should we expect from the release party? And can you provide details?

The release party will be a good ole fashioned house show in North Philly. It should be a good time. We have The Chelsea Kills and a newer band, Buddie, playing with us. It’s $2-3 donation you can find the details on our Facebook page.

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