I had a brilliant plan. I would take quotes from interviews I did with frontmen Reggie Youngblood (Black Kids) and Donald Cumming (The Virgins) and splice them together in a presidential-style debate to decide which band was most deserving of its Next Big Thing buzz. After all, Youngblood is thoughtful and articulate, like a more subdued Barack Obama. Cumming has the charm and good looks of a slightly more acute Sarah Palin. It seemed like a perfect fit. But then it hit me. Regular folks don't want to listen to another “gotcha” journalist getting cute about which band's debut album—Partie Traumatic or The Virgins—is better. No, Joe Sixpack wants straight talk about the newest new-wave revival. But I already drank the sixer, so here's the straight talk:
On what they're doing now:
Youngblood: We're doing some rehearsals to try and spruce up our live show a little bit. We've already done one U.S. tour, and if anyone is coming to see us again, we want to give them something they haven't already seen.
Cumming: We just got back from doing a radio show [in Chicago]. We almost missed it because we got stuck at the [Canadian] border. We had some grapes or something, and so they made us sit for two hours while they searched every inch of the bus. We ditched all the good shit before we got to the border—we're not stupid.
Youngblood: At the end of the day, it's one of the ways a band like ours can exist, because it accelerates everything.
Cumming: For me, hype is a meaningless term. But we've definitely gotten a lot of attention and it's exciting to get feedback—good or bad—on your work.
On their band names:
Youngblood: It's served its purpose. One of the other suggestions was The Bumpin Uglies, so we still have that in reserve.
Cumming: When we looked at other band names they were all really long and impossible to say or they had all that abbreviation shit. We just wanted something simple, something timeless and classic.
Youngblood: One of the worst comparisons is to The Arcade Fire. Their songs are going to save the world, and we sing about girls giving statues head in the park.
Cumming: I don't think I've heard us compared to any bands that we don't like. Although it'd be a shame if someone said, “You remind us so much of Raffi.”
On making hipsters dance:
Youngblood: Our previous projects were a little more severe. The addition of Ali [Youngblood] and Dawn [Watley] gave us an injection of humor, and they definitely make us more of a party band than we were before.
Cumming: We went to nightclubs every night and so we made music that would function in our lives. Rock 'n' roll is supposed to be fun, and our music is definitely intuitive that way. It's party music.
On The Virgins scoring songs on Gossip Girl, Entourage, The Hills and 90210:
Youngblood: I'm jealous, if anything. We had something on 90210, but Gossip Girl and The Hills continue to elude us. I don't know what we're doing wrong. [Laughs.]
Cumming: Most of those just kind of came out of nowhere. But there are definitely so many kids that have heard our music on those shows that wouldn't have heard it otherwise.
On which band would win in a street brawl:
Youngblood: Nobody beats us when it comes to our moves.
Cumming: Those kids can probably throw down, but we love each other, so it'd probably end with everyone sitting around weeping over someone who was stabbed in the commotion.