It’s been a busy 2013 for Shaun Fleming. Earlier this year, the 26-year-old drummer for indie “It” band Foxygen picked up and moved from his Agoura Hills home to New York City. There, in a cramped little apartment and stricken with a gnarly flu, Fleming wrote and recorded the songs that would become Diane Coffee’s big debut. The curiously titled My Friend Fish officially dropped October 29 on Western Vinyl, and like Fleming’s other gig, it’s jam-packed with ‘60s and ‘70s indebted psych rock freak-outs. But Diane Coffee’s influences don’t stop there. The record also finds Fleming channeling ‘50s backup singers, boisterous Southern gospel choirs, and smooth, sexy R&B crooners.
This Saturday, Fleming and his Diane Coffee cohorts make a stop at Muddy Waters Café alongside Aan and Gothic Tropic. Below, we chat with Fleming about Diane Coffee’s origin story and play a little game of tour van Mad Libs.
Tell me a bit about the Diane Coffee tourmates. Who’s playing what? It’s Jared Walker on guitar, Emily Panic on bass, Steve Okonski on keys, and Joey Lefitz on Drums!
How did Diane Coffee come into existence? Who is she? Mr. Coffee is the name of a song by this singer-songwriter named Nathan Pelkey who never was. The fact that Mr. Coffee had a female first name was partially due to the fact that I have been studying the masculine vs. feminine archetypes and how they play into my own personal life. Long story short, Diane is the embodiment of my feminine side.
Can you talk a bit about the album’s title? The album was created out of isolation and loneliness. I lived in a cramped NY apartment for two weeks while I recorded the album. I knew no one in the city and had a nasty flu taking hold of me, so I was a completely shut in. I was a fish in a fishbowl — the loneliest pet, in my opinion. Actually, fish are the only animals we feel totally comfortable having as a pet as well as having as a sandwich. Just an interesting observation.
Do you feel like there’s a common theme that runs through My Friend Fish? All the songs were either about people I left behind in California or things I saw/felt in New York. A lot was changing for me at that time and I think it comes out in the eclectic stylings of each song.
What are some of your favorite tracks to play live currently? What can folks expect from the show? Right now I really enjoy playing “All The Young Girls” and “Hymn.” Both can get very theatrical. I think people can expect to see a very high energy performance. Hopefully people will enjoy the set as much as we enjoy playing it.
Shaun Takes the Mad Libs Challenge
Today I left the Agoura Deli to go slapping and was mobbed by a huge crowd of elk. I conducted my way out of there as fast as I could and went to meet up with my friend Ryan Gosling. Ryan and I we went to eat at Cracker Barrel, then took a drive to Texarkana where we saw something amazing: a large green hotdog! We were in awe. After that, this group of doctors came up to me and asked me for my autograph. (But not Ryan. Weird, right?) On the way home, a bunch of photographers tried to take pictures of us, but we outran them on the 405 North. After that mess, the two of us went back to my place, put on heated slippers and had a sleepover. We ate mallow cups and drank almond milkz. We watched The Edge and played Catch Phrase. It was the most fun ever. We jazzed all night.
Cool Summer Presents Diane Coffee, Aan, and Gothic Tropic at Muddy Waters Cafe (508 E. Haley St.) on Saturday, November 9 at 8 p.m. Call (805) 966-9328 or visit coolsummerpresents.com for tickets and info.