The Damsels in Distress were asked to record at the KUAR studio for a music performance and interview for KUAR Arts & Letters Valentine’s Day show. You can read about what it was like recording on the KUAR Recording Studio post. This a special episode “Valentine’s Day With The Damsels in Distress” aired on KUAR with KUAR Arts and Letters.
Here is a transcription of the radio show.
J. BRADLEY MINNICK = JB
MICAH = M
JB: In the spirit of Valentine’s Day on Arts and Letters, we are talking with Lauren and Micah Sukany of the Damsels in Distress. Their music is fun, post-modern, and quirky-cool.
JB: Artists, song writers, children’s story writers, puppeteers, and performers husband and wife team The Damsels in Distress, Lauren and Micah Sukany – Welcome!
L: Thank you!
M: Thanks! Hi.
JB: So many of your songs deal with the not unsubstantial dilemma of marriage, getting married – as in “We’re Gettin’ Married” from The Family Album, “I Do” from This is Art, and “Mr. and Mrs.” from Spinning Plates – could you talk about the interstices of making art and music as husband and wife.
L: It’s like nothing else. I think I hear other people talk about their marriages and they – there is this sense of kind of having time away from maybe their significant other. But as a married couple working together on our own creative ideas, we’re compelled to come together at the end of the day to work on one of our one hundred projects that we have in mind. So, I think as, you know, being married and being band mates and that’s really how we fell in love, that’s how we experienced our entire courtship.
JB: What was your courtship like?
M: Our courtship was the band. That’s pretty much what we did. That was great because a lot of first fights are about inconsequential matters, and so were ours, but they felt much more important because they were creative inconsequential matters.
M: So, we learned how to argue pretty effectively right off the bat.
L: Right, and like when couples boss each other around like, “Go get me this or that” it would be band mate stuff, so.
M: So, when we would play a show, like in Little Rock, and we needed to get back to Springfield and pack up like at one in the morning, we knew what the other person was like after a really long day – exhausted and cranky.
L: Early on.
M: Early on.
M: So, we knew what we were getting into when we married.
JB: You write your song, “We’re Gettin’ Married” – “a February morning. It’s going to be cold for sure. But we don’t mind about the climb. Cause we’re going to get married.” What’s the climb been like?
L: The climb has been…
L: Ya, it’s – I just think there’s something about getting married at 24 that as you mature through your 20s and you’re going through other things you know, while you’re going through the marriage – I think that is what is most difficult. Just self development and learning responsibility and not say, “Oh, I’m going to blame the other person” because I have to be responsible now. But just learning how to be a responsible person, learning how to deal with problems.
L: You know I think that is the general climb in that sense.
JB: You talked with me Lauren about how so few songs are written about married people.
L: Ya, well it just seems like a lot of love songs are about the longing or the pining or the forbidden love. Um, but there aren’t a lot of just these nice delicate songs of love – about lovers and marriage and um the intimacy of marriage.
JB: You write you’re “just out of step living in small town Arkansas” How does one live a fine line between routine and spontaneity?
L: I think you have to pay attention to your soul. And for us – being creative and living this very normal day to day, paying bills kind of life – I think as an artist and musician it gets really difficult sometimes.
M: She’s spontaneity. I’m trying to be in step. Her problem would be “how do you practice when you’re not writing? How do you practice when you’re not performing?” Mine is “how do I interrupt my rigorous practice schedule to write something or to do like a performance?” So, we compliment each other well in that respect.
JB: On your blog you write about a lot of processes, what are some of the processes.
M: Well, the key to the processes is really how the band started. In which I gave Lauren this demo tape of all these songs that I had written just to see what she thought of them. And then she played that tape while a tape player was playing and she sang over it.
M: That’s pretty much how it’s worked for most songs since. Is that I’ll be playing something and then she’ll complete it in the sense of that’s the melody that goes to that part or that’s the accompaniment that makes that line interesting. So much of what we do is responding to kind of like love letters. Each recording is like a little parcel of magic that we get to open at any moment. So, I can open up a little parcel when Lauren’s not home and listen to what she’s created and then add my part to it and leave it as a present for her to find.
JB: Thank you to Lauren and Micah Sukany of The Damsels in Distress. You can follow their unique and imaginative website Paper Opera, which highlights their music, art, stories, and their artistic dog, Ein. Thanks to Chris Hickey for producing the program for Arts and Letters. I’m J. Bradley Minnick. Happy Valentines Day.
You can listen to this Valentine’s Day with the Damsels in Distress episode at ualrpublicradio.org/post/valentines-day-damsels-distress.
We also recorded “I Don;t Drive” at KUAR.