Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

How Tune-Yards became a band

Tune-Yards' Merrill Garbus and Nate Brenner met as camp counselors at an art and music camp in New Jersey. Nate thought he was going to go to his senior year at Oberlin College, but he got a call from his counselor saying that they looked at his transcript and he would actually be graduating at the end of the year. They posed it as good news, but suddenly Nate was pushed out into the world. He was a practicing musician and had a couple musician friends who told him he could make a whole $1,500 in one summer by counseling at this summer camp in New Jersey. Garbus had already been counseling there for years. "One of the first things she said to me was 'I'm old as shit!'" Garbus was 26 at the time. "That was a tough time for me," she says. One day she asked Nate for a bass lesson. After one lesson he said, "Why am I giving you bass lessons? You're better than me."

David Longstreth actually pushed the band together. Tune-Yards was originally just Garbus, with Brenner helping her flesh out the songs on tour. After some gigs in Europe with Dirty Projectors, frontman David Longstreth asked them to open for Dirty Projectors on the U.S. tour and insisted that it be the tow of them. Since then Garbus and Brenner have been working together, but it wasn't until this album that Brenner came on as an official member of the band for their new album, "Sketchy."

In the interview Garbus and Brenner dissect the song " hold yourself," talk about the conversation that their music has with their hometown of Oakland, and the South African music of Batuk, in particular, this song.