By Julie Smitka
August 18, 2015
Karl Kuehn, Graham High, and Kory Urban were brought together in Southport by “fate and strong will.” Catie Yerkes met John Meier at her home and venue (the Mattress Fort) in Raleigh during a Tiny Moving Parts show. Since then, both Museum Mouth and Naked Naps have become pop-punk staples of the NC scene. Museum Mouth is currently on tour and Naked Naps is preparing to play at this year’s Hopscotch Music Festival. Despite their hectic schedules, the bands collaborated for their first cassette. CLTure had the opportunity to talk with Karl Kuehn and Catie Yerkes prior to today’s debut of their four-song split on Too Far Gone Records.
CLTURE: You’ve both been incredibly busy lately with playing so many shows. What was the inspiration behind collaborating for this split? Why now?
Karl Kuehn: We had been wanting to do a split because it’s a very cool and punk thing that a lot of bands do. I believe Catie asked if we’d be interested. Obviously, we said of course because we love Naked Naps and after a year of talking about it, here we are!
Catie Yerkes: I love splits. It’s like the band love version of a promise ring.
CLTURE: How would you describe the split?
CY: It’s like a bottle rocket romance: four songs that are intense and gone before you know it.
CLTURE: What was your favorite part of the recording process?
KK: “Wave Emoji” makes use of some crazy bass drone stuff that I think we were all waiting to utilize in a musty moth song, so tracking that outro was definitely a highlight.
CY: John engineered and mixed these songs. I think he learned a lot.
CLTURE: Were there any challenges?
KK: Actually finishing it [laughs].
CY: We’re really lucky that we get to play a lot of shows. So scheduling time to do it was hard, because it’s hard to say no to playing shows with great bands at great venues. These were the first recordings we did completely on our own.
CLTURE: Tell me about the album art. What was the inspiration?
KK: I have this weird mannequin torso that I’m kind of obsessed with and I knew right from the get-go that I wanted to use it. The lyrics to both of [Museum Mouth’s] songs on the split reference our first full-length album Tears In My Beer so I went back to the same beach access where I took the pic on the cover of that album and recreated it to an extent. If you buy the tape, inside of the j-card is a pic of the mannequin torso sitting on top of my car which I think is cute/fitting since both of the Naked Naps songs have car titles [laugh]. I don’t know. I’m big into color and I know Catie and I bonded over a palette we saw fitting with these songs so then it was just a matter of finding the right images that fit that palette.
CY: We rode our bikes around Boylan Heights area. We did a playing scene at my house. The water balloon fight was at my friends Chris and Izzy’s house. It was a lot of fun to be a part of a different creative process. Evan Kidd directed it and he’s great. He had a lot of cool ideas for a variety of shots and we did some things on the fly. We wanted to make something that was frantic and light.
CLTURE: How do you feel your bands have changed since your last releases?
CY: The biggest difference is now we have more support than I could have ever anticipated. I wrote all the songs for Ok, Bye in my bedroom pretty much for myself before we played our first show. The fact that there are people out there who are into what we do is a big drive to always try harder and write the best songs we can.
KK: [Museum Mouth] put out two songs on a lathe cut 7” literally a week before we announced this split so I’d say we’ve probably eaten breakfast a few more times since our last release.
CLTURE: What are your plans for the rest of the year? What are you looking forward to the most?
KK: We start tracking our new record for Rory Records next week! I look forward to finishing that and setting a release date and then touring on it.
CY: We’re playing an official show at Hopscotch. That’s a dream come true, having gone the past five years. We finished recording an album. Not sure when it’s coming out, but I hope before the year is over. We want to put out a couple of splits next year. So we’re writing and recording those songs. I really want to record at Kings because it’s the best sounding room in Raleigh.
Check out the full Hopscotch Music Festival lineup.
Check out the Too Far Gone Records page to buy split cassette.
“Toyota Prius, The Silent Killer” music video: