A Couple Who Call Themselves Spaceships Said, "Why the Hell Not?"
Few empty spaces exist in the cramped Echo Park apartment of noise-pop duo Spaceships. A drum kit blocks a massive bookshelf overflowing with outsider literature, Carl Sagan books and '80s disaster movies on VHS. Two end tables are covered with production mixers. Two gray-black cats scale the thrift-store furniture. A guitar poses underneath a lamp. The dining room table doubles as a factory line for the bedroom-garage rock band's self-designed T-shirts and self-pressed 7-inch records.
"Doing it yourself is easier because ...," says Jessie Waite, Spaceships' guitarist, singer, engineer, mixer, producer, co-songwriter, shirtmaker, logo designer, publicist and show booker.
"... It's definitely not easy," imparts shaggy-haired Kevin LaRose, the soft-spoken but powerful drummer, co-songwriter and co-conspirator.
"It's not easier," the pixie-ish Waite corrects herself. "We wanted to do this and had no money or other options. We recorded the guitars and singing in our apartment and some drum parts -- with the silencers on. We bought plastic sleeves for vinyl, burnt CDs to sell on our Bandcamp page, and watched an instructional video on silk-screening. There was a lot of trial and error."
To accentuate the point, Waite grabs two wooden shirt-making panels etched with the band's emblem, a UFO soaring over a pair of pyramids, only one of which matches the precise Spaceships tattoo on her left forearm.
Spaceships' goal is permanence, or at least making enough from music to quit their day jobs. (He works at Amoeba, she works in postproduction.) Waite and LaRose, both 28, have been together since they met as freshmen at Boulder, Colo.'s Naropa University, a school inspired by Buddhism and the Beat generation. They were kicked out of their dorm -- the "intentional community" -- one Halloween.
"They brought witches to our hall meeting to lead us through meditation," Waite says, laughing. "Then they brought out a 'talking stick,' and each person took turns telling why they were pissed off at us."