If two leading ladies of indie rock were given the chance to turn the table on the typical interview process and become both the interviewer and interviewee—of each other—what would they talk about?
Thao Nguyen (of Thao & the Get Down Stay Down) and Sallie Ford (of Sallie Ford & the Sound Outside) were adamant about not talking about their respective 2013 releases, We the Common and Untamed Beast. Instead, they chose to chat about their cities, food, getting dressed in gross places and how many pull-ups they can do.
Maybe they are both humble—or saving themselves from the sure onslaught of canned questions about the albums—because both of their LPs are ringers. On Nguyen’s third full-length release, the San Francisco-based indie-rock sultress is dichotomous—playful and analytical, nimble and brazen, free and tight. Ford is a fine match in an opener; she and her skillful backing band know how to roll out rollicking rock licks, but can also slow it down a bit, lulling listeners only to bat them over the head with clever—and sometimes delightfully racy—turns of phase. Both artists have a lust for life, a lust for sound and, now, maybe, a lust for the interview process.
Thao interviewing Sallie:
Thao Nguyen: If you were accorded the power to name a city or town a name with three nouns—Salt Lake City, for example—what would it be?
Sallie Ford: Rock & roll.
T.N.: Can you explain, to those who might not know, what are some differences between Asheville, N.C., and Nashville, Tenn.?
S.F.: Asheville is in the mountains and is a little more hippie than Nashville. Every time I go to Nashville, it has a little more of a gritty, Southern feel. Folks in Asheville are sweet as pie and probably moved there from somewhere else; it’s like a vacation island from the Bible Belt.
T.N.: Where is the grossest place that you’ve had to change before playing a show? Please describe the conditions.
S.F.: I have a vague memory of changing in a porta potty—in general, those frighten me. I usually will just change in the van, if I gotta.
T.N.: If you could have any other automaker as a last name, what would it be and why?
S.F.: Volkswagen! Germans are smart and laid-back.
T.N.: Do you work out on tour? I think we’re all going to get passes to 24 Hour Fitness. Do you want to come? This is not really an interview question—more a question of logistics and team building. How many pull-ups can you do? I can do zero.
S.F.: I make an attempt to work out on tour and usually fail. I like cheesy workout videos, where I can do lots of jumping jacks. I’d love to work out with you fine folks! I can do zero pull-ups as well, but I rock at doing fake kickboxing moves.
Sallie interviewing Thao:
S.F.: If you could do a tour in three other countries that you’ve never toured in, what countries would you choose and why?
T.N.: 1. Vietnam—gotta go! Never been. That’s my peoples. 2. Cuba—things look so vibrant over there. And also, what an incredibly rich musical tradition. I want to soak it up. 3. Atlantis—going to find it. You’ve got to have dreams.
S.F.: What’s your favorite kind of food that’s not American?
T.N.: Maybe it’s too obvious, but Vietnamese food. Though, when we were growing up we just called it “food.”
S.F.: Who’s one of your favorite female singers?
T.N.: Cesaria Evora.
S.F.: What are some of your favorite things about the city you live in (San Francisco)?
T.N.: The proximity to open water and the amazingly fresh produce.
S.F.: If you could own any kind of guitar, what would you choose?
T.N.: An old National Resonator, without a doubt.
THAO & THE GET DOWN STAY DOWN
w/ Sallie Ford & the Sound Outside
The Urban Lounge
241 S. 500 East
Saturday, March 9, 9 p.m.