Jason Klauber and Molly Shea of Acrylics are sitting side by side at Grand Morelos, a 24-hour Mexican Restaurant/diner on Grand Street in Williamsburg. Over chips and guacamole and Sol we discuss the band, what it means to make music in Brooklyn, the past, the future and the present.
Klauber and Shea are close- they’ve been playing together for 6 years- and it’s obvious. When a question is asked they look at each other and both begin answering. Jason is fast paced and chatty, Molly is ponderous, almost quiet at times. They compliment each other.
The two met at Oberlin College in Ohio, immediately bonding over their love of music. Both play guitar, and both write songs. After various relationships, bands, college courses and passed time they found themselves together in Brooklyn. It was a natural process.
Klauber and Shea are at the heart of Acrylics. They write the songs, they named the band. A rotating cast of friends accompanied them for some time, but the band is now a full-on 5 piece. Travis Rosenberg plays pedal steel and keyboards, Jake Aron picks bass strings and Sam Ubl handles the sticks.
Acrylics recorded 13 songs, a full albums worth, at Vacation Island with Matt Boynton before they were approached by Chris Taylor of Grizzly Bear. Taylor saw Acrylics play their second show ever, in March at Union Pool, and immediately told them he wanted to record them for his new label, Terrible Records.
Was it right place/right time? No, says Shea.
“We’ve been working together for so long,” she said. “It’s not like it came out of the blue.”
Fair enough. But the opportunity that Acrylics now have to shine like Acrylic tipped fake nails is a big one.
The 5-song 10” record has been recorded and pressed and will be released on Oct. 28. Acrylics play 3 CMJ dates and have been practicing like crazy in preparation. When I met them they were on a rare no-rehearsal night off, and were on their way after the interview to listen to a test pressing of the record.
Klauber says Acrylics is a “rock and roll band.”
Indeed they are. Acrylics music is full of lush orchestrations, 70s inflected melodies (complete with ahh’s and oooh’s) and a lot of vibrant, shiny guitar work. Coming from the Brooklyn scene that produced such acts as Amazing Baby, MGMT and Chairlift (Klauber used to be roomies with the Lift’s drummer Patrick Wimberly), is an interesting fact to note because Acrylics doesn’t sound like those bands. Acrylics is certainly a pop band but electronics mostly take a back seat- and 80s riffs are virtually nonexistent- though that may change. Klauber said he’s interested in “combining organic sounds with digital sounds.” Who isn’t these days?
Klauber and Shea both write songs for Acrylics, sometimes together, sometimes alone. The way they write mirrors their personalities. Shea is a bit reserved, as if her mind is skipping stones before she speaks. Or maybe she’s just hearing sounds in her head.
“Sometimes I just hear the melody walking down the street,” she said.
Klauber says for him, his songs tend to have more of an emphasis on lyrics.
Both Shea and Klauber are happy living and working in Brooklyn, though Klauber says its not the “hippie jam fest” he expected. Regardless, collaboration abounds in the borough, and it looks as if Acrylics have found a way to cut through the murk that accompanies a city with so many bands.
“We’ve met a lot of people here that have opened doors,” said Klauber.
And right on time Shea chimes in.
“It makes it tough too, lots of bands are vying for the same attention.”
Shea and Klauber have always been around music- they came from families that appreciated music and both worked and hung out at the radio station at Oberlin. And now they are looking forward to releasing the 10″, going on the road and playing every night and eventually releasing the already recorded album. Any big wishes?
“It would be really great to open for someone mind blowing, like Neil Young,” said Klauber.
Acrylics: All of the Fire
Acrylics: Molly’s Vertigo