interview by Kenyon Hopkin
The imaginative lo-fi bedroom pop duo the Terrordactyls--not to be confused with the spelling for prehistoric bird Pterodactyls--have a colorful anything-goes lyrical palette enlivened by a youthful energy, even though the band name suggests otherwise. Sometimes on either side of the country, but mostly together in the same state, Michael Cadiz and Tyrel Stendahl continued on their journey after the departure of two other members who formed another band, the Pharmacy. The current two guys have a Juno-worthy song with Kimya Dawson and when they aren't being as cute as heck like that, the Dactyls range from Elliott Smith-like solemness to 4-track style rock in the basement. Their big tour coming up in the autumn will expose the country to a wicked fondness for the kazoo. [Kenyon knows how to write a feature story but doesn't have that kind of time. So here's the ever-popular Q & A. press-type photo credit- Sarah Cass.]
Advance Copy: There are cows in one of your videos. Do you think you will be able to save any from premature death?
Michael: Probably not, but they have pretty decent lives... relatively.
Tyrel: Those cows live at my parents…and they have great long lives and are delicious.
AC: Did you name the band after the Masters of the Universe creature?
M: No. We just wanted a really tight metal band name.
T: Have you seen Masters of the Universe lately? Doesn’t quite hold up like I hoped it would. And that new series is just weird looking.
AC: The Terrordactyls used to have other band members. Will you add people ever?
M: We might depending on what we need for tour and recording, but it seems as though Tyrel and I will always remain the permanent members.
T: As long as we have friends I think you can count on other people in and out of the band, but since most of friends have their own sweet bands it seems like we’ll always have to return them.
AC: Your influences include Fifteen and Pregnant. Any music influence?
M: No. Music is dumb.
T: I love music, but I’d rather go see Speed Racer for a third time or watch the Mighty Ducks trilogy.
AC: You made a cute video with scissors singing. Do you enjoy making inanimate objects speak and sing? How long did it take to make that video?
T: We are pretty down with anything involving magic, so we get pretty excited about any chance to make inanimate objects do things. That video took us 24 hours from start to finish.
AC: You met Andrew WK. You're big fans yes?
M: Yes. He makes really extreme music. He also seems like an exceedingly earnest and nice person.
T: That guy is doing everything right.
AC: You are from Vashon [an island in Puget Sound, Washington]/Brooklyn/Olympia. Where are you each currently living and why? How can you possibly deal with being far apart?
M: I live in a little cabin by a creek on Vashon Island four days a week and work in Seattle the other three.
T: I’ve been living in New York the last couple years working as a designer on a kid’s show and a bunch of other junk. Michael was here for a while too. We’re actually together more than we’re apart and I’m planning my triumphant return to the Pacific North West by the end of the summer.
AC: How great is it to start a tour from the Northwest (Oregon, Washington) and have the midway point be New York in October, just in time for the CMJ music marathon?
M: We both have a good number of close friends and family in New York, so it is really nice to spend some time with people that you know really well and vice-versa. I get burnt out on all of these crazy music conferences pretty quickly, but we are going to be playing a showcase or two while we are in town.
T: It will be nice to visit while we’re in town. I agree with Michael about the music conferences. They’re a bit too much for me. I pretty much hate music by the end.
AC: Have you seen Kimya Dawson lately? She got more popular after the Juno soundtrack. Is she seen as a superstar now?
M: I don't think that I've seen Kimya since SXSW and I didn't really get a chance to talk with her there. I'm not really sure what people see her as, but I'm pretty sure that despite all of that Juno craziness, she is still an incredibly genuine and humble person.
T: Yeah, I can’t imagine her changing no matter how popular she gets? The new stuff she’s been playing at shows from her Alpha Butt kid’s album is really amazing.
AC: Your music seems a perfect fit for Kimya, had you known her for a while? How did you end up meeting?
M: I think that I first met her in Tyrel and Brendhan's living room in Olympia.
T: Brendhan and I saw her play at a pizza place in Seattle five years ago and he asked if she would play at his birthday party. She did and his band The Pharmacy ended up touring as her back up band and opener that summer.
AC: I see you are wearing pajamas at a show. Do you thrive on being youthful?
M: I mostly just thrive on emotions like hate and contempt.
T: I don’t think anyone should be in a hurry to grow up.
AC: You have some unique, interesting items for sale other than cds, such as the custom turkey hand drawing for $2. Do you sell many of those?
M: Way more that I would have ever expected.
T: But still not enough to quite our day jobs so we have a ways to go.
AC: Are you f-ing psyched about the kazoo sponsorship? i'm so jealous.
M: I'm actually really excited about it. Normally, I wouldn't really be into something like that, but it's KAZOOS and they are made in the US, so I don't feel like I'm stepping all over somebody else's human rights just to get free kazoos. From what I can tell, they seem like nice people. And their kazoos are pretty cool too.
T: We are really excited about it. Kazoobie Kazoos are far superior to the kazoos we were using before and Rick the guy who runs the company is a library of kazoo knowledge. Pick some up at http://www.kazoos.com/ and tell them The Terrordactyls sent you.