The East Coast synth-pop band Magic Man recently finished a tour with Panic! at the Disco, shared the stage with Walk the Moon and garnered great reviews from the likes of Rolling Stone, Glamour, The Boston Globe and GQ.
But what the duo behind Magic Man—vocalist Alex Caplow and guitarist/keyboardist Sam Vanderhoop Lee—really wants to do is screw around during an interview.
That’s not all bad, however. The main men of Magic Man, who will play its first Arizona show this month, a sold-out gig on November 16 at Crescent Ballroom, prefer to poke fun of each other in lieu of answering questions. It’s all pretty funny.
Caplow and Lee spoke to College Times about the tour, its run with Panic! at the Disco and its latest album Before the Waves.
College Times: You recently wrapped up a tour with Panic! at the Disco. How did that go?
Lee: It was horrible. We hated it. No, that’s obviously not true. They’re really sweet guys. They’re some of our good friends. It was a really great time being able to play to so many new people every night. We definitely won over a lot of new fans, and played some of the biggest rooms we’ve ever played in our live career. We were really lucky to be on it.
You’re playing an amazing venue called the Crescent Ballroom, which has a really good Mexican restaurant. That aside, what can we expect from your show?
Lee: Actually we’ve switched the show. Now, we only play burritos and quesadillas live. So our drummer Joey (Sulkowski) has churros and he hits them against the burritos to make percussive noises. OK, OK, the show will hopefully be a sweaty dance party with a lot of energy. It’s upbeat, fun music.
That’s one thing I like about Before the Waves is that it’s fun.
Caplow: It’s cool to not be fun now for some reason.
Lee: Ironically, it was at times very grueling to record Before the Waves. But it was so much fun to spend so much time working on one project—especially something we care about and love very much. For me technical side, (producer) Alex Aldi is incredibly gifted. He showed us the ropes. We’ve never really worked in a real studio before. His help with the technical side was really invaluable. He’s done tons of great records, which really helps.
What was the most important thing you think you learned from him?
Caplow: How to enjoy espresso. He’s a big coffee nut and he got us into that.
You must have been pretty wired during the recording process.
Caplow: There were long hours, that’s for sure.
“Paris” was your first single. Do you know what the next single will be yet?
Caplow: “Texas” is the new single in the U.K. We have a new video for it starring Abigail Breslin from “Little Miss Sunshine.” She was a fan on Twitter and then we got in touch and decided to have her in the video.
Do you have a pretty big fan base in the U.K.?
Caplow: We hope to someday. We made our first trip over there last week. We’re trying to keep a presence over there. We figure if we keep playing shows, we’ll hopefully get on the radio. We were playing a couple times on BBC—Radio 1 and a couple other stations. We have some fans over there.
Well, thanks for your time. I’m looking forward to seeing you in Phoenix.
Caplow: One of my best friends is from Phoenix. One of my favorite childhood vacation memories was being at a dude ranch (in Tucson). We went horseback riding. We got up really early and did a long hike and ate breakfast on a mountain top overlooking a beautiful landscape. I was wearing a cowboy hat that I bought there.
Oh, was it Tanque Verde Ranch in Tucson?
Caplow: Yes! That’s it.
Lee: Alex promises to wear his cowboy hat on stage and every second that he’s in Arizona.
Caplow: Sam likes to promise things for me.
Magic Man w/Smallpools, Panama Wedding, Crescent Ballroom, 308 N. Second Avenue, Phoenix, 602.716.2222, crescentphx.com