Indie rock darlings Annuals, a collection of five 20-to-23-year-old North Carolinians, compiled so much critical acclaim for their schizophrenic debut Be He Me that they didn't even have a chance to reflect on their adolescence. VH1 would be pissed. So the Beacon got frontman Adam Baker and bassist Mike Robinson to slow down, talk about dead musical legends and yearn for the days where The Sandlot was still acceptable to watch on a weekly basis.
Berkeley Beacon: Before we get started, let's do the obligatory, what's-in-your-CD-player question.
Mike: I've been recycling a lot recently, but I've been listening to the secret track on Aesop Rock's new album Definitive Swim.
BB: You guys cover "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot." What the hell?
Adam: Well, we were listening to a lot of Johnny Cash and he does his rendition of it. Hearing "I Got Stripes" in [Walk the Line] brought back a lot of memories from childhood.
BB: So what other star from a bygone era would you like to see have a biopic done of him and who would you have play him?
Mike: Does he have to be dead?
Mike: Then Jeff Buckley, I guess. But it's too easy: you just get Heath Ledger to dye his hair and you're done.
BB: Any other movies that cathartically made their way into your music?
Adam: The Sandlot. Definitely. In the second song ["Dry Clothes"] on the album, there's a part about the treehouse scene in that movie. That was a part of a recurring dream I had forever, so I just had to incorporate it.
BB: Musically, are there any quirks that you definitively ripped off for Be He Me? Was there a noise that you heard in the back of, say, "Ring of Fire" that you just had to use?
Mike: Everyone in music is a thief in some way, but - off the top of my head - there are two very specific things that I ripped off from Brian Wilson's Smile album. There's an "Ah!" in there before a break in the song that I probably owe him money for.
BB: The oldest person in your band [Mike] is 23 and none of you went to college. So here's your chance to tell all of those disaffected college students what a waste of time college is.
Adam: I could really tell you - I'm not very educated at all. All I ever needed to do, really, is take lessons until I got a basic grasp on the instrument and then I'd just dabble from there.
BB: Just so we're not telling people to drop out of college, it's still important to, you know, read, right? The lyrics on Be He Me aren't Little Brother, or anything. They're almost Mark Twain-y.
Adam: Twain-y? He's definitely one of my favorite writers. Wow, I'm going to have to call my Mom and tell her somebody said that. But, yeah, keep reading. Have to.