December 21, 2017

Tennis’ husband-and-wife team Patrick Riley and Alaina Moore began writing music together as a way to document their history voyaging and living aboard a sailboat. The result was their first release, 'Cape Dory.' Moore and Riley followed 'Cape Dory' with 'Young and Old,' which The New Yorker described “ as winsome as it is ebullient” and debuted #1 on Billboard’s Heatseeker Chart and #1 on CMJ Top 200, where it remained for three straight weeks.

What are some recent, upcoming or current projects you are working on?  In between tour dates Patrick and I have been producing our friend Johnny Payne’s solo record. He’s a member of one of our favorite bands, The Shilohs. He’s a gifted songwriter and we’ve loved being a part of his work. The Shilohs are tragically underrated. You should listen to them.

If you were a drink, what drink would you be? A manhattan. That’s my drink. Michelle Branch recommended whiskey for a sore or tired voice, so I take that advice as gospel. Also, a college professor I loved told me a manhattan is a perfect drink. He’s right.

How did your interest in music begin? I always loved to sing and play piano. Musicals were a childhood staple and I spent an inordinate amount of time making up songs with my sisters. I never thought I was particularly good at it, and it’s hard to believe that this is my job now.

What other musicians are you interested in right now?  Kacey Johansing, Weyes Blood, Anna St. Louis, and Jessica Pratt.

Who would you ideally like to collaborate with?  I already work with my ideal collaborator. I don’t think I would make music at all if I didn’t make it with Patrick (my husband and bandmate). Not because of some weird co-dependency, but because if I was to work without him I would pick a different discipline or art form entirely. Songwriting is much more of a private act to me than a collaborative one. Patrick and I mostly write alone and involve each other at the later stages in our work. Once the song has taken shape and is ready to be recorded.

What do you want a listener to walk away with after hearing your music?  I have never wondered that. I suppose I want listeners to have that ineffable feeling of pleasure or sense of beauty, without being too reflective about it. That’s what I love about music, your experience can be as superficial or intellectual as you’d like, and no one can influence that feeling. It’s spontaneous and personal.

What’s your absolute favorite place in the city/the world to be?  In my living room, playing records with Patrick, drinking a manhattan.

Most embarrassing moment on stage?  I don’t have embarrassing moments as much as feelings of panic or loss of control. When something truly absurd or show stopping happens, I talk it out with the audience and it tends to disarm and bond us in a really special way.

What are you really excited about right now? Patrick and I are building our own studio. I’ve never worked in a studio built by or designed for a woman. Studios are masculine, alienating spaces. They are esoteric and overly complicated. I want a space with my needs and interests in mind. I want an interior that is clean, natural, colorful and ready to hand. When we’re finished, Patrick and I will open it up to other bands and artists to use. We’re really excited about it.

Where do you plan to travel next?  We’ll be on tour all of January, playing shows through the midwest, the east coast and part of the south. After that I hope I don’t go anywhere for at least a month or two!

Do you get fan mail? What’s been the most exciting thing you have received from a fan?  No one has our address so we don’t get fan mail, but I was recently asked to handwrite some lyrics for someone to get them tattooed, and I was really touched by the request.

Can you share one of the best or worst reactions you have gotten as a result of your music?  Patrick and I have worked really hard to shield ourselves from outside opinions of our work. I know what we’re doing is working if people come to our shows. But I can say, when Vinyl Me, Please chose Yours Conditionally as record of the month, I thought I would die of happiness.