Interview: The Pretty Faces, Part I — Biography

 [Typist Notes: After inadvertently not updating this blog for most of the summer, I’m back to typing with a vengeance. This post is the first installment from an interview I conducted with the band The Pretty Faces, on April 28th in Boca Raton.  I sat down with Jeph, Hannah and Tom Thorslund in  between two major events for the band, namely the release party for their CD, “Another Sound”, (which received its first review anywhere in this blog) and their large-stage debut at Sunfest, the West Palm Beach music-and-arts festival. A number of event-filled months have passed since then, but this interview  provides an insightful look into a band whose fortunes are still on the rise…]    
The Pretty Faces, Boca Raton, April 28, 2009. (l-r) Hannah Thorslund, Jeph Thorslund, Tom Thorslund


I. Hometowns and Birthdates

“Once you answer these [questions], you never have to [do so] again.”

Type Writer: I’m gonna start off with some biographical questions; once you answer these, you never have to answer them again [laughs]

Jeph:[laughs] Okay! [They’ll be] documented.

Type Writer: Exactly. So, I believe I read in the Miami New-Times that you guys moved here from Waterloo [a university town in Ontario, Canada]. Is that where you grew up?

Jeph: More or less. Tom and I were born in Mississauga, which is outside of Toronto, and I was ten years old [when]  we moved to Waterloo, which is an hour away, and we lived another ten years there.

Type Writer: And you, Hannah?

Hannah: I moved around a lot, [but]  I lived the longest  in Waterloo. I was born in Newfoundland, which is a place Canadians like to make fun of. [laughs]

Type Writer: You’re a Newfie? [derogatory term for people from Newfoundland]  I know about Newfies! [laughs]

Hannah: Yeah, that explains a lot. And now I’m blonde, so I just have everything have working against me.

Jeph: She’s a blonde Newfie.

Type Writer: Blonde but  not for much longer, right? [Typist Notes: At the time of this interview, Hannah had already announced she was returning to her natural brunette colour shortly]

Hannah: Not for [much longer]! [But] it gave me an excuse for a while.

Jeph: [Now] you’re gonna have to [just] rely on being a Newfie.

Type Writer: Tom, you’re the younger of the  —

Tom: Yeah, I’m the youngest. [Hannah]’s twenty-eight days older than me.

Type Writer: Oh, so you’re the youngest in the band too? [Tom is the younger of the two Thorslund brothers]

Tom: Yeah.

Hannah: Not that I ever rub that in his face.

Tom: Ever.

Hannah: I have twenty-eight days over you.

Tom: I don’t mind. I learn so much.[Hannah laughs]

Type Writer: So when’s your birthdays?

Tom: [Hannah’s] September 1st and I’m September 29th.

Type WriterI’m September 29th.

Tom and Hannah:  Really?

Type Writer: Yeah, yeah.

Tom: Creepy.

Jeph: [laughs] We didn’t plan that.

Type Writer: Yeah, I’m calling b******t on this whole thing.

[Hannah, Jeph and Tom laugh]

Type Writer: Man, you guys are playing me.


II.   What’s in a (punk-rock) name?

“He gets mad when I don’t [spell] it [that way].”

Type Writer:  So, is Jeph short for something?

Jeph: Ah, no.  Jeffrey [laughs]

Type Writer: It’s an unusual spelling, that’s why I had to ask.

Jeph: It’s my punk-rock spelling.

Hannah: [laughs] He gets mad when I don’t [spell] it [that way].

Jeph: [I thought,] I gotta create a name like Iggy Pop, but then I just changed the spelling of my own name.

Type Writer:  Perry Farell did that. You know, “peripheral”. It took me years to figure that out.

Jeph: I figured that out just now.

Hannah: Well, I made my name a palindrome. Not quite as cool.

Type Writer: That’s going a bit too [far]. I’m not sure which is worse, Tom co-opting my birthday –

[Jeph laughs]

Type Writer: — or you making a palindrome out of your name, that seems to be a bit too much.


  III. Hannah and Jeph

“I [would see] her when I would go back to Canada to visit family. That’s when we started to get closer.”

Type Writer: Okay, Hannah and Jeph, did you guys meet musically,  socially, academically…?

Jeph: Socially. We were friends for quite a while in Waterloo, and then Tom and I moved away, then I [would see] her when I would go back to Canada to visit family. That’s when we started to get closer.

Type Writer:  So you guys met socially but you both happen to be musicians?

Hannah: Not at the time. I was fourteen or something, and I started to play guitar [then] and [to write] songs, but I never told [Jeph]. But he always had a band. It wasn’t until he came back [to visit] that I actually played some stuff [for him.]


  IV.              Tom and Jeph

” ‘Oh, guitar is way too hard; I guess I’ll end up being the keyboard player of the band’ “

Type Writer:  So I take it [Tom and Jeph] grew up playing instruments?

Tom: Yeah. I was banging on pots and pans…  so I kinda had to buy drums.

Type Writer: And your parents were cool enough to let you learn the drums?

Tom: Yeah. They were more than down. They were very patient. [Jeph laughs]

Hannah: They tried to prevent it as long as possible.

Jeph: [Our] dad was into bands when he was younger too; he played bass and sang, usually. And I… took piano lessons for a while, but I didn’t really have too much fun with that. I kinda thought, “Oh, guitar is way too hard; I guess I’ll end up being the keyboard player of the band”, but I never really thought that was that cool. I just kinda thought that was my lot.

Type Writer: So technically, piano was your first instrument?

Jeph: Yeah, I guess so.

Tom: Technically, mine too.

Type Writer: Oh, yeah?

Tom: I didn’t stick with it that long.

Jeph: Then I started playing some bass, because my dad had [one]. And, you know, it’s one note at a time, and I sorta played some Green Day songs and stuff like that when I was a teenager. And then it was,like, [to dad]  “Okay, teach me some chords”. So my dad taught me some chords.

Type Writer: So your dad was mostly a bass player then?

Jeph: Yeah, and he played guitar too. Mostly acoustic guitar, he just kinda  —

Hannah:  [He’s been] playing the same five songs his whole life. [laughs]

Jeph: Yeah, [he’d] sing the same five songs over and over again. Paul McCartney and stuff. [laughs]                                                                         


[Coming Soon: PartII — Influences]