The Courtneys create dreamy slumber-party-soundtrack songs, perfect for taking fashion mag personality quizzes, prank-calling the babely delivery boy, or scrapbooking photos of Point Break–era Keanu (to whom they've devoted a song). Though I imagine the Vancouver trio would do all of these things half-jokingly, perhaps as a pre-party to the kind of DIY punk basement show that was the band's norm before landing an opening slot touring with Tegan and Sara. Using Clean-influenced jangle-pop guitar riffs, catchy post-punk bass lines, and giddy gang vocals, the Courtneys manage to sneak sophistication into their magical teen-bedroom world. At times, they delight in the fun of crushed-out pop culture (singing odes to Kiefer Sutherland in The Lost Boys, for example); other times, they get bittersweet and poetic about minimum-wage jobs and social anxiety—all with an effortless, grungey cool that causes their songs to linger in my head for days. I interviewed guitarist Courtney Loove, the only member of the band who is actually named Courtney (Jen Twynn Payne sings and plays drums; Sydney Koke plays bass). She was drawing ducks at her animation-studio day job when I called.
What are some of your favorite cartoons? I really like more adult shows like Adventure Time and Gravity Falls. I watch a lot of classic cartoons. I watch a lot of Daria. It's totally the best.
Which character do you relate to most on Daria? Oh, definitely Jane. I actually went as Jane for Halloween a couple of years ago, and Sydney went as Daria. We were joking about how we kind of identify with those characters, respectively, and then Jen would totally be the little sister—she doesn't watch the show, so she wasn't insulted [laughs]. The personalities totally line up.
You write a lot of songs about pop culture—where does that come from? That just comes from Jen. She is addicted to TV and the internet, so at any given time she's immersed in some TV show, and the songs kind of end up being about that. Sometimes they're about real-life stuff, too.
You're from Canada, so does that mean you're best friends with Nardwuar? We've actually never done an interview with Nardwuar, but we all grew up watching him. Sometimes I see him walking down the street and I wave. Nardwuar's such a legend. Maybe he'll interview us sometime, but I think he just interviews touring bands. Although somebody told me that when Courtney Love was here, he tried to interview her, and he was gonna give her a Courtneys record. But I don't think he managed to get the interview.
There's a really old one where he's interviewing Nirvana, and Courtney is hanging out eating pizza. I've seen that one! It's crazy. He's so young, and they're just so rock-star with their attitude.
Your real name can't possibly be Courtney Loove, right? Where did that come from? Courtney Loove was a Facebook name that I had, and it's kind of funny how your fake Facebook name just becomes your real name. The first few things that were written about us, people took a lot of info from our Facebook pages. I think it's kind of cool, actually. I like having a music pseudonym. It's not actually my real name, I just go by it now. It's funny because my dad's a lawyer, and he keeps telling me that I should change it because I'm gonna get sued. Courtney Love is kind of scary. I love her, obviously, and I was hugely into Live Through This when I was a kid, but I wouldn't want to get in trouble with her [laughs]. But I'm not going to change my name.
What other famous Courtneys are your favorites? I feel like there are not very many. When I was a kid, it was definitely Courtney Love and then Courteney Cox from Friends. And then I went through a bit of a Dandy Warhols phase when I was a teenager, so there's Courtney Taylor-Taylor. We're pretty into Courtney Barnett, that's a contemporary Courtney. We think it would be pretty funny to go on tour with her; we want to send her a shirt. We sell our Courtneys shirts online and we get a lot of shirt orders—I can see the names of the people who order them. A lot of them are just people named Courtney.