“Jesus Tap-Dancing Christ.” I’m sitting bar-side at Tutu’s and Ana Becker has confirmed, via Facebook messenger roughly 55 minutes after I got there, that 3/4ths of Fruit and Flowers are grabbing a table at Tina’s Place. The poor bartender has been listening to one of my patented anxiety rambles that, summarized, equated to “Where are they? I have so much paperwork to fill out when I get home.” But ok, wires get crossed, confusion was had when Tina’s and then Tutu’s were mentioned last night as a brunch option, it’s fine, it’s fine, it’s fine. I hastily pay for my coffee and burst into Tina’s three minutes later chanting about how fine it is.
Anyway, you know Fruit & Flowers, right? Well, I know Fruit & Flowers too. 3/4ths of them have also given ear to my anxiety rambles (anxambles?) at this point. I met bass babe Caroline Yoder at Pinkerton Wine Bar when I was ballpark 23 and had a lot more free time on my hands. Guitarists Ana and Lyzi Wakefield (who also writes for AudioFemme!) entered my life after I moved here proper, and drummer Jose Berrio Lesmes and I became Facebook friends recently, so yeah, we’re legally all blood kin.
If you somehow answered “No,” then A. Wow, seriously? and B. Here’s the deal: Fruit & Flowers is a busybusybusy band that relies on a heavenly trifecta of harmonies over mile-a-minute pulsating beats (the main exception being siren song “Turquoise”). Their debut EP Drug Tax is slated for release June 30th, and they’ve recently released a video for lead single “Out Of Touch.” It is gr8 with a capital 8, and I may have drunkenly described it as “Mary Kate and Ashley’s ‘I’d Rather Be Surfing’ video but if Lana Del Rey directed it.”
Sober I’m not sure if that’s accurate. Regardless, it’s a killer music vid, they’re a killer band, and we’re grabbing brunch together today, even if it kills me.
The Scene: Tina’s Place is a diner, guys. You know what a diner looks like by now. I don’t need to craft a whole monologue about that – we’re late enough as it is.
11:43 Caro and Ana order eggs and grits, Jose orders French toast with ham, I get a feta cheese omelette, and Lyzi… isn’t here yet and is either meeting us at the restaurant or at Pickthorn, where the gang is getting makeovers for the Color Me Bushwick Festival. Obviously I’m tagging along because free makeovers is the kind of pseudo-glam musician activity I love to lurk on. Not that the gang is so typically fancy.
“My hair is so funny because sometimes I wake up and I know it’s going to be a crazy rat’s nest,” Caroline says. “But sometimes I wake up and it’s like a whole new sculpture that I’ve never thought of.”
I’m always excited by Caroline’s hair, but when she mentions in passing that she did synchronized swimming, I’m more excited by the idea of Caroline in pink swimming cap decorated with plastic posies.
“Were you good at it?” I ask.
“I was pretty good at it. I’d have to do core strength training if I were to do it again,” she says.
“Does it involve like a lot of…lung stuff? Because you have to do heavy breathing because you’re upside down with the legs… ” I pretend my arms are little legs kicking, looking like a moron in the process.
“I always referred to it like doing a balance beam routine, holding your breath,” Caroline explains. We push up against the underside of the table with our palms flat. “If you put your hands on the bottom of the table and you try to lift the table, that’s the amount of repel you have on the water. So this is how you learn this – it’s called support scull.”
“Where did my contact lens go?” Ana asks in the midst of our swimming lesson.
11:58 Ana would kill to meet Paul McCartney, although it’s fair to assume any living Beatle would be a win.
“But if you see Ringo Starr you wouldn’t be that intimidated,” Jose says.
“To say hello?” Ana asks.
“Because he’s Ringo Starr,” I offer.
“He’s Ringo,” Ana confirms. “But I feel like he’d appreciate it more. I assume less people are like, ‘Oh my god, it’s Ringo!’ versus ‘Oh my god, it’s Paul.'”
“Like on the hierarchy of Beatles…” I start.
“There shouldn’t be a Beatles hierarchy, man,” Ana says. There shouldn’t be, but… “Even if you’re the least appreciated Beatle, you’re still a motherfucking Beatle.” Jose then mentions the uprooted would-be Beatle Pete Best.
“Yeah, that’s the least appreciated Beatle,” Ana says.
“I always feel like I’m the Pete Best of the band,” Jose says “Which is not like a bad thing, but…”
Ana and Caro chorus a series of disagreements and our food arrives.
12:10 Caroline asks what people usually talk about during these interviews, and I shrug. “Whatever makes you happy, pretty much. What makes you happy?”
Everyone thinks before Ana and Caroline sound off.
Ana: Playing music.
Caroline: Ian Bentley.
Ana: Tim. [fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”yes” overflow=”visible”][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”][pause] Gross.
“Jose, what makes you happy?” I ask.
“Music makes me happy, eating makes me happy,” he says.
“We’re all simple creatures,” Ana says. (Caroline: HA) “New clothes make me happy.”
“I like really good books,” Caroline says. I ask her what she’s reading now, and as she briefly searches her bag Ana adds “going to a paper store” to the happy list and Jose sighs “Trader Joe’s banana yogurt.”
“I can tell you what makes me less than happy,” Ana says after a while. “If I look up the levels of hierarchy of organizational structures in the world any broader than our immediate friends and what we’re doing in the music scene, pretty much everything outside that is really depressing right now.”
“That’s true.” says Caroline.
Um. Help me out, bbs.
They mean all the current issues with healthcare, poverty, racism, global warming, “the sewing of the seeds of mistrust in media and journalism, that’s a real mindfuck for me,” Ana says.
“I’ve been thinking a lot about it and I feel like even though the whole thing with Trump absolutely sucks and it’s pretty surreal, it’s nothing new,” Jose says. “It feels like finally something represents what’s been wrong with this world and it’s country.”
“It put a spotlight on it…” I say, as the band goes on about the crumbling state of things for a few minutes, before I come back with “So that makes you unhappy?”
Caroline goes into it. “It is also weird to be like, ‘Oh, I’m so happy, the music is going so well, and then having someone be like…'”
“‘I lost my healthcare.'” Ana interjects.
“‘I’m fucking miserable, fuck you and your band,'” Caroline chimes back in.
“Something not that profound that makes me unhappy is that lately I like to drop off laundry because I prefer to leave it there and pick it up later, and they keep losing my socks,” Jose mentions, trying to offer some levity. It reminds Ana that she needs to pick up her laundry, too.
I am very grateful for this, but I send in my blanket anxamble on the state-of-the country. “I think that’s the struggle that a lot of us, especially in creative fields, have right now,” I say. “We feel fucking crazy for having fun and creating good art and doing the things we love to do. But with that sense of frivolity it’s like, ‘Should we be doing more to keep our world from falling apart?'”
“Well hopefully we keep it from falling apart just by living in it,” Caroline concludes.
Ana leaves to get her laundry. Caroline starts reading from Ramblings of a Wannabe Painter. “‘Criticism is our censorship…'”
12:40 Ana, Jose and I are walking to the salon, divulging tidbits and tales of their family life. Ana in particular has an amusing anecdote about her New York-bred grandfather and the way he rolled his eyes about bedbugs.
“He said that he remembered in Williamsburg, one of his few memories of his grandmother was staying over at her place and that she would have tar paper under the sheets to keep away the bedbugs and he remembered the way the tar paper sounded when he rolled over, that it crackled,” she says. “And I just love that, I love that seemingly insignificant memory handed down several generations to me, living in the same place.”
While we cut through the park Jose talks about his sister. Apparently she has a residency as a columnist for the Metropolitan Museum of Art. “They said she can write about anything she wants,” he says. “It doesn’t have to be art.” She recently penned a piece involving Marxist nuns.
I sigh at this statement like he told me Jordan Catalano was asking about me in Calc. They laugh. “Sorry, that’s like journalist porn.”
“Whatever… you… want,” Ana echoes.
1:32 “We’re just making it more of a haircut than just a blob on my head,” Lyzi says from her salon chair. She missed brunch because her phone died, and then she overslept, and it’s okay, it’s fine. I’m recap the first part of our interview, then deliver the same question I gave her bandmates: “So what makes you happy?”
“Well, I guess it varies,” she muses. “I feel like recording music in my room makes me happy.” She then backtracks – it doesn’t have to be in her room; recording music in general does the trick. She also lists cuddling with her tabby cat and going to the beach (she likes Fort Tilden, not a big fan of Coney Island) as harbingers of happiness.
After some chit-chat I realize I’m in the way of the beauty process. Ana is getting her hair washed next to us, Caro and Jose are on their respective mobile devices (they weren’t named one of Brooklyn’s hardest working bands for nothing) and I should get my own macbook and do the same.
I don’t have the same open schedule I did when I was ballpark 23, though I wish I did. No matter how long I hang out with musicians, I still end up being the one who leaves the interview to transcribe, to edit, to recount the stories of the scene while everyone else is living them. It’s getting clearer: I don’t have endless free time to lurk anymore.
But with Fruit & Flowers, I’ll always try to find some time to at least stop by. Whether it’s Tutu’s, whether it’s Tina’s. Even if it kills me.
Sit tight for Fruit & Flowers’ upcoming “Subway Surfer” music video and catch the Drug Tax record release party June 29th at Baby’s All Right.[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]