Alaina Moore and Patrick Riley, the husband-and-wife duo of the indie-pop band, Tennis, are constantly striving to better themselves and their music. The musicians are currently on tour and are creating a record label based in Denver.

Samantha Trueheart (ST): What is your inspiration during your writing process?

Alaina Moore (AM): Patrick and I spent significant amounts of time sailing and living on a small sailboat. The first record we wrote was a literal, straight documentation of our first sailing trip. But since then sailing has taken an abstract place and has become a motivator to my creative life. Now the easiest way to write is when I retreat inward—I don’t gain as much inspiration from what’s going on around me as I do if I just let myself settle into my thoughts.

ST:  How did you get along with Patrick while sailing in such close proximity?

AM: The thing I credit the sailing ship now is our ability to live and work together in such a close capacity with our band. We felt we had lived a decade-worth of marriage in one year because of our intense closeness and dependency on each other. But we got really good at finding ways to have private time even though we were within arm’s reach of each other. We never feel we need to be physically apart to regenerate. We’re very autonomous, separate people and we work really hard to make sure that we don’t let our marriage be some kind of reducing or collapsing of our two identities into just one person.

ST: What are you most excited about with your newest album, Yours Conditionally?

AM: Yours Conditionally is the first record we produced independently, and we started our own label [Mutually Detrimental]. It ended up being successful and super profitable for us. I don’t think we could have done it at an earlier point in our career, but we felt ready, and I’m really glad we took the risk.

ST: What is your favorite song from the album?

AM: My favorite song from Yours Conditionally is a song called “Baby Don’t Believe.” It’s funny because we keep trying to play it live but it just doesn’t work. I think it’s more about the sounds that we got with the production style. It creates this very moody, emotional setting that live never [recreates].

A couple of the songs [in the EP We Can Die Happy] were leftover from Yours Conditionally. I felt very attached to them and wanted to get them out to the world, especially this one song “I Miss That Feeling,” which is like my baby.  

ST: I loved browsing through your band website, and I 
admire your fashion sense. It feels like something from the 70s or 90s.

AM: I want whatever we do to feel timeless, or at least sentimental. We were going for that childhood nostalgia—that’s the emotion we want to evoke in our work.

ST: What do you love about living in Denver?

AM: I think the skyline is so cute. When we drive in from the airport or get home from tour, it’s like an actual real city—not pretending. It’s so cute like you could eat it in a bowl of cereal or something.  

ST: Looking ahead, what are your 
goals for 2018?

AM: We want to continue touring into next year, and we want to shift into working on other people’s records now that we feel really confident in our production and engineering abilities. We’re building our own home studio and focusing on helping other people make their own records.

I want whatever we do to feel timeless, or at least sentimental. We were going for that childhood nostalgia—that’s the emotion we want to evoke in our work.