Interview with Cheer Up Club: Taking the Good & Bad, and Putting Life on Display

cheer up club
cheer up club
Los Angeles band Cheer Up Club’s spirited and upbeat energy radiates throughout their music, especially in their new release “In The Morning.” 
Stream: ‘In The Morning’ – Cheer Up Club

Los Angeles based Cheer Up Club are a colorful indie rock outfit bursting with buoyancy.

The band is recognized for their jubilant tracks that come to life with driving drums, distorted bass, and shiny synths providing a 90s Weezer-esque feel. Exuding a laid-back, feel-good grungy vibe this rowdy, ironic and fun group approach their songs with effortless ease. Cheer Up Club are unafraid to openly and honestly address vulnerable topics such as mental health, sexuality and addiction. Whether they are detailing a sweet sentiment or cynical notion, their relatable offerings connect deeply with listeners.

In the Morning - Cheer Up Club
In the Morning – Cheer Up Club
Go on hit the lights, let me call your bluff
The whites in your eyes don’t look so tough to me
They’re getting watery
We can talk it over in the morning
In the morning
Talk it over in the morning
Put it off again for breakfast food
Don’t wanna be rude, but are you avoiding me
Or the conversation
You can try my patience
It’s getting thin
We can talk it over in the morning
In the morning
Talk it over in the morning

Their latest single “In The Morning” tells a familiar tale of a pair in a spat that are too tired to work it out so they decide it is best to just talk it over in the morning. This track possesses a pure indie rock sound while their 2019 debut album Get Physical showcases a more punchy, punk sound. No matter what type of sonic style they exude, you know it is going to be the ultimate energetic ear candy.

Atwood Magazine interviewed Cheer Up Club discussing their band name, new single, work with the Midnight Mission and more.

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Cheer Up Club © 2020
Cheer Up Club © 2020


In the morning - cheer up club

Cheer Up Club: Thanks! Finding a band name is always such a “thing” and I just wanted it to feel natural and be something I could get behind and grow with. So I’d just jot down words I liked and see how they looked on the page. I think Wilco’s “Radio Cure” subconsciously got to me as the opening line is ‘cheer up’ which implies that something’s wrong but it’s not the end of the world. It was only later that I learned/realized that I was chronically depressed, so I guess the name was a hopeful goal. Is that too dark?!

How did you meet and how was the group conceived?

Cheer Up Club: To illustrate the last depression comment, I spent much of my time writing and recording a bunch, but at my core I’m a band guy – that’s always been the goal, which explains the Club aspect. Fastforward a bit and I found myself in a class with some real great folks who happened to be kickass musicians, so it all fell together pretty naturally from there.

Cheer Up Club: Nothing’s perfect and things are rarely as dramatic as most heartbreak ballads make them out to be. Exaggeration is cheap; absurdist honesty is fun and cuts deeper, so that’s what we strive for. I like the idea of being a bit of a funhouse mirror – it’s a warped reflection of whatever you put in front of it and nothing’s off limits. At the end of the day, I’d like to think I’m an optimist. Sure, the world is fucked but we can make it better and you should have fun doing it! The most serious topics are often rooted in something truly stupid – take bigotry of any kind. It’s absolutely terrifying but, if you zoom out, it sounds like a bad joke – ”you hate someone because of WHAT?! The way they look? What they wear, who they love, what junk they were born with?!” A touch of sarcasm can be the quickest way to show the cracks in any belief… but it’s also important to be empathetic and understanding, cuz it’s easy to get sucked into a nihilism pit where nothing matters and everything’s a joke. But now I’m ranting.

As for writing songs: I like social politics, how people interact, stealing snippets from books, movies, conversation, or the news. A dear and departed friend (RIP Lord Huckleberry) would often say “PAY ATTENTION!”  to life itself, to the little things. So that’s what I try to do and if something triggers a silly thought, it goes into a pocket notebook. When the band gets together, we’ll often just start playing something. If it starts feeling like something, I’ll crack open the notebook and see what words fit that moment.

Your latest single “In The Morning” focuses on a couple that is completely drained from a fight and decide they should just talk it over in the morning, but also has a much deeper meaning as well. It is about realizing there are some things that can’t be solved right away such as the pandemic, mental health and the economic divide. Is there any advice you can give to others on how to deal with anxiety from things that are out of their control?

Cheer Up Club: Control, control, control. That’s the one thing we all want and will never truly have. Life is crazy, life is random, life is painfully predictable and often terribly unexpected. This year’s a testament to that (and to think we had a tour booked for April – May). And sometimes we just have to be ok with that – you can laugh or cry, your choice. But life goes on until it doesn’t, so make the most of it while you can. And if you feel like you can’t anymore, take a breath and give it a little while longer. If you’re trapped in a certain state, go to sleep. It won’t fix it, but at least you’ll get a fresh perspective.

What is the worst fight you’ve had with a significant other and how did you resolve the dispute?

Cheer Up Club: Ouch. That’s both a little too personal and a little too recent to be comfortable, but I’m sure I’ll be able to laugh it out in a song soon enough. And when that happens, you’ll be the first to know, how’s that! We can do a little debut or something.

I will say I’m a talker, not a fighter. Sometimes that’s worse and hurts more. Even uglier – I never thought I was a jealous person until I met my girlfriend. It’s a weird realization to have but I love her to bits, so I guess that’s only natural. Or maybe I’m just selfish?

But overall, the very “couples therapy” idea of never go to sleep angry is a really nice thought but some things can’t be solved with a twenty min chat and make up sex. Sometimes you’re tired, pissed off, drunk, or confused, and that’s ok! Communication is everything… when it works. But if you’re talking to a wall or being irrational, sometimes it’s better to be grumpy for an evening and wake up to realize how silly your pouty face looks and pick it up from there.

The track has a sort of upbeat feel contrasted by the song’s more serious subject. How was the song crafted?

Cheer Up Club: There’s so much crazy terrible shit happening right now and we’re all cooped up, left to cope in whatever way we can. And it’s claustrophobic. I wanna fucking dance. I wanna to hug my friends without thinking we could be killing each other – or someone else. So I guess this was my way of balancing those things; dance as if the world is ending, and it might be. But you can celebrate life and feel good even when things are very bad. It means more that way, and it’s a good reminder of what life was like pre-catastrophe, without ignoring what’s going on.

I understand all the proceeds for the release are going to the Women’s Crisis and Bridge Housing program at The Midnight Mission. Can you tell us more about what got you involved in this organization and how others can help?

Cheer Up Club: Hmm, that’s another one that’s a little close to home but it’s an important topic that’s been ignored for too long so… I got an SOS buttdial from someone really close to me, no joke. The GPS said they were right in the heart of Skid Row. So I went door to door, shelter to shelter to find them. I found them and The Midnight Mission at the same time – lucky me. Long story short, I’ve seen first hand what they do and can fully get behind them. They’ve been running since 1914, were a huge source of support during the Great Depression, and they discontinued religious services at the same time, which is important to me. I wouldn’t say I’m anti-religion, but it’s a personal choice, and it always skeeves me out that most support programs in this country literally require some form of Christian indoctrination, which feels ugly and opportunistic when dealing with people at their most desperate. I’m sure it comes from a good place but…

On a more macro level, this program brings attention to the biggest and ugliest topics of our time. Structural racism. Economic divide. The gender gap and domestic abuse. Mental health, healthcare, addiction. It’s all in there, in ways that you and I can’t imagine without seeing it for ourselves. So go down there, stay safe, and help out however you can. Volunteer and raise awareness. And oh yeah, buy our song on Bandcamp and share it with a friend. Most people I know, myself included, don’t have enough spare cash on hand to make a big difference, but if we all put in a few bucks, we could actually help out in an immediate way where it’s needed most.

I know your gigs can get pretty wild with a party vibe of balloons and even the occasional cross-dressing. What is the craziest thing that has ever happened at a live show?

Cheer Up Club: Ha, thanks, we try to have a good time! Probably the craziest and possibly most wholesome thing that’s happened at a show was when one of our friends fell in love… with our merch-booth mascot who happens to be a male sex doll named David. Nothing too pervy – more the cheap Bachelorette party type with a plastic porn stache. But people seem to like him and he’ll often end up crowd surfing which is fun.

And, oh yeah, last Halloween we did a Wizard of Oz theme where I was Dorothy. The dress was way too tight and a little too revealing; I almost became the unintentional victim of auto-erotic asphyxiation right there on stage.

Cheer Up Club © 2020
Cheer Up Club © 2020

On the topic of live shows, now that those have come to a halt due to the pandemic, how are you staying connected to your fan base?

Cheer Up Club: Ugh, it’s weird. On one hand, we’re all just trying to distract ourselves but it’s also good to just check in and see how people are holding up. We’ve done a few live streams on Instagram and whatnot, which is cool but also weird – you’re playing to a camera so you can’t feed off the audience. Though it’s always nice to see friends pop in or shoot a text afterwards!

Cheer Up Club: Shit, I’ve picked up the idea and intention and even some tools for new hobbies but then I get sucked into the same old same old writing/recording stuff, which isn’t a bad thing. The sad part is in “the before times,” fucking with synths and drum machines was my musical vacation when not playing in a room with the band. Now that’s been flipped and I’ve had plenty of time to mess with weird noises and little grooves, which is fun, but more than anything I just want to be able to play in a room with my friends on the regular again!

With all the changes currently going on in the world, how have you been able to cope with it all and what have you learned from it?

Cheer Up Club: Mmmmm, I might be the wrong person to ask about that. When quarantine started, I read Stephen King’s The Stand which is about 99% of the global population dying from a flu-like pandemic. Regarding politics, my news intake has skyrocketed and I have gigabytes full of newscasts and political rhetoric that I swear I’m totally gonna sample and use for some project when the nightmare’s over. We’ll see if that happens.

Overall, I’d say stay busy, try not to ignore what’s happening, but don’t let it wear you down (a big ask tbh). Check in with friends and help people out however you can. That includes community action and local businesses. Go easy on yourself and make time to do something you love (assuming it can be done safely). Little things like doing the dishes or cooking a nice meal go a long way to break up the quarantine monotony and give a nice sense of accomplishment. Find ways to break up the days/week, and stay creative. Also, if you have pets, give them extra love!

Lastly, who are some artists on your current playlist that you enjoy that you can share with our readers?

Cheer Up Club: Sego just put out a new record which I’ve been spinning quite a bit. Additionally, I’ve been digging The Bats’ Daddy’s Highway, Soccer Mommy’s Color Theory (if you need ’90s vibes and some sadness), Starlight Mints’ The Dream That Stuff Was Made Of. Marika Hackman just released a version of Elliott Smith’s Between the Bars, which I was lucky enough to see her play last year at The Roxy. Her recorded version is great, but hearing it live with just her and a guitar was just magic. There’s always more, but that’s a good start.

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Stream: “In The Morning” – Cheer Up Club

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In the morning - cheer up club

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