The Miami Dolphins, whose members describe the Minneapolis band as neoliberal pop, will release a new album Sept. 8.
Before their latest effort, “Water Your Waiting For,” the band released an LP, “Becky,” in 2014, and another, “Perlite,” last August, gaining national interest.
A&E sat down with the Dolphins to talk pop, neoliberalism and pumpkin spice. The interview showed that the band’s personality mirrors their music: quick, witty and unexpected.
A&E: Did anybody inspire “Water Your Waiting For”? Groups, people, musically or otherwise?
Beth Bambery (Vocals): What I get from it is a reflection of what you see and hear from social media for current events — it’s really confusing and jumbly. That was my only inspiration — the political atmosphere on social media. You’re not really sure if it’s real or if you like it or not.
How long’s your tour?
Patrick Larkin (Guitar, Vocals): Two weeks. Kind of a long time for a bunch of old people. We’re playing a labor benefit on Labor Day.
Where’d your name come from, if none of you are from Miami?
Bambery: I don’t remember what the story is.
Larkin: It’s a celebration of arbitrariness. And Beth kinda sound[s] like a dolphin.
Bambery: When I sing.
Your voice onstage is light and fragile, but your stage presence is so calm and confident. Is that just how you like to perform?
Bambery: I think it helps to have both — that dynamic. It makes [the audience] rethink stuff … You pay attention to different things if somebody’s screaming at you versus if you’re being soft, but you could be saying the same words.
Zack Warpinski (Bass, Vocals): They’re taken differently because of their presentation.
Bambery: Good to try to surprise people.
How would you categorize what you do?
Bambery: Goofy. Silly. Serious.
Joe Scott (Drums): Hobby farm.
Warpinski [to Bambery]: We were talking about your performance style. I was gonna add that you have a pretty broad, dynamic range.
Larkin: It depends on the show, really. You respond to the setting and show. If you’re on a stage, it’s different than if you’re on the same floor.
Why are you tagged as “neoliberal” on your Bandcamp? You guys are the only band with that tag.
Larkin: We’re definitely not the only band that’s neoliberal … We’re trying to take back the nomenclature. It’s just a buzzword …. We’re all just part of …
The collective unconscious?
Larkin: The collective unconscious is neoliberal.
But then does social commentary have a role in popular music?
Larkin: No. It’s meaningless. It doesn’t have any function politically other than to be another bubble in the hot tub of complacency.
What kind of liquid is in the hot tub of complacency?
Scott: Plenty of bromine.
Warpinski: Buncha' fluoride.
Larkin: Or an IPA.
Bambery: Pumpkin spice.
Warpinski: Uhmm … we were talking about what was different between this record and Becky.
Scott: We wrote more of these songs, like, jamming them out. We wrote more of ‘em at practice.
Larkin: They’re a little more pared down, with more vocal play and dual vocals.
Scott: It took us longer to write each song.
Larkin: We’re trying to sell out harder.
Were you guys after anything in particular with this album?
Bambery: The songs sound a bit better together. It’s more themed.
Scott: It felt a little more purposeful.
Larkin: What’s the purpose?
Warpinski: Who knows? But it’s there.
Larkin: That’s for you to figure out.
Bambery: Why did we do this? Tell us!
Larkin: We did it to underline how bad the lyrics to the Beatles song “Revolution” are.
Any plans for your next album, or are you just focusing on the tour right now?
Bambery: Tour is my biggest focus. Have you been focusing past tour?
Larkin: It’s hard to plan too much of this kind of thing [making albums]. It’s supposed to be, um, fun.
Bambery: My mom said it sounded like we were having fun.