1. What have you been listening to lately?
Pretty much exclusively listening to The Replacements in 2021 so far! Also really enjoying Katy Kirby’s singles and revisiting my friend Jonathan Something’s catalogue.
2. Opinion on Taco Bell getting rid of so many iconic menu items?
I’m relatively new to Taco Bell but I’m a HUGE fan. I only have ever gotten the CrunchWrap Supreme without meat and it’s amazing. I was actually just arguing with my brother about this because he said Chipotle was better than Taco Bell and I completely disagree. I don’t know anything about the menu changes but if something that was on your order was lost in this change, my heart goes out to you!
3. While doing research for this interview I looked up “Lorenzo Cook” and a chef named Lorenzo Cogo came up. Apparently he’s the youngest Michelin rated chef ever. You think he’s hiding a rat under his hat?
Every chef has his rat, I’m glad Lorenzo Cogo found one that has gotten him so much acclaim.
4. Do you think you could beat Chef Boyardee in a cookoff?
Probably not, the man is a huge success and has a great smile!
5. First concert you ever attended?
Lucinda Williams with my parents, I think!
6. Who would win in a fight? Chef Boyardee or Sammy Sosa?
Sammy Sosa has that crazy guy strength for sure. I would not want to fight him
7. My biggest regret is not seeing Daniel Johnston play a show with Modern Baseball back in 2017. Do you have any shows you regret missing?
I’m sure there are a ton but the only ones I’m remembering right now are the concerts I turned down right before the pandemic hit. Specifically going to see a Neon Indian DJ set last New Years.
8. On a scale from 1-2, how much do you regret agreein to do this interview?
No regrets so I will take the lowest option of 1.
9. Give me a good reason why I should stop interviewing bands I like and just quit this site.
Don’t quit the site, these are fun questions. You’re too hard on yourself.
10. Favorite NYC bands that we should check out?
Youbet makes great music!
Isaac Gutierrez for Born Loser Mag: To start off can you introduce yourself?
Lorenzo Cook of Petite League: My name is Lorenzo Gillis Cook, I live in Queens, New York and I’m 26 years old. I am the child behind the band Petite League.
You grew up abroad, and attended school in Belgium. I feel like you’ve probably been asked how that has shaped your music or songwriting, but what I want to know is how difficult was it to go to concerts of bands you like? Would you wait for bands to go on european tours, or did you get into the local music scene?
Brussels actually gets a lot of touring bands coming through because of where it sits in relation to London, Amsterdam, and Paris so we actually saw a lot of good stuff. The underground indie stuff happening in the UK would permeate across the border so that scene was kind of reflected in what we were doing at the time. We did catch bands from North America when they would hit the European tour circuit though. As far as a strong, defined local scene, I didn’t really see that until I moved to the US when I was 18.
Do you remember the first song you ever wrote?
Yep, it was a song called Inspiration and I wrote it after school in the 8th grade. It’s still out there somewhere if you’re good enough at sleuthing online.
When did you start writing and recording music as Petite League, and what made you decide to start the project?
I started it in late 2014. I really just wanted to start playing louder music and be in a band again because I had been doing solo stuff for a few years and it just felt too tame.
You’ve been putting out music as Petite League for a while now. What have been some of the changes that you’ve noticed in the band’s dynamic from then to now?
Well the band dynamic hasn’t changed much in the sense that I write and record everything and then let Henry do his thing as far drums go. The live band has switched up some members along the way but the core of it all hasn’t changed at all really. It’s still just me compiling some songs then sitting down in our recording space with Henry and working out the best way to glue it all together.
I think the first song of yours I ever listened to was Raspberry Seeds off of your album No Hitter way back in 2016. It’s been cool to see your sound continue to change and evolve since then. Is changing up your sound something that you have in mind while working on an album, or is it just something that progresses naturally?
Those changes aren’t really conscious. I’d be really happy to write another album like Slugger or No Hitter again but my subconscious has shifted away from it. I might come back someday, who knows!
Tell us a bit about your latest album Joyrider
It’s the quarantine album, baby!
Was there anything specific that inspired the album?
Honestly, as lame as this sounds, I think just the experience of being alive in 2020. I didn’t set out to do that but it bled through pretty clearly.
What is your favorite lyric off the album?
“Sun rise from a black light blue
I found heaven in a basement too”
On Dark Disco
I’ve been listening to Joyrider nonstop for like a week and a half. This will probably change the more I listen to the album, but my current favorite song is New Spring. What is the story or inspiration behind that song?
Falling in luv again after being a little beaten-down and out of luv for a while!
Personally one of the reasons why it takes me so long to create anything is because I spend too much time wondering if my work is good enough to put out. How do you know when a song or an album is ready to share with the world?
I don’t think you should ever expect to feel like a song is 100% done. It’s hard to tell exactly when you should stop fidgeting with whatever you’re working on and just accept that, objectively, you’ve made something you can be proud of. I’m a firm believer in just putting your work out there though and not obsessing over it because that’s a real easy loop to get stuck on. Release your work, see what happens, but also start focusing on what is next. That pay-off is worth more than the tiny things you change that only you will notice.
What is your recipe for a good song?
Simplicity and not settling for filler lyrics!
How long was the process of making it from writing to recording and producing?
Joyrider was probably just about a year in the making. I kind of do all three simultaneously but sometimes I work really fast and other times it's really slow.
How do you think Joyrider differs from your previous work?
I think it showcases a little more of the dynamic sounds in Petite League. I don’t think you could just label it as a garage-rock-meets-emo sound anymore. I think it’s a step up in a lot of different ways from our previous albums, from the drumming to the production to the songwriting.
Who made the cover art for the album? It’s really cool.
Zeke Aszman! They’re incredibly talented and I was really into the dream-like quality of the landscapes they paint to fit the Joyrider theme.
Is there anything that you want your listeners to take away from the album?
I hope it can provide a little bit of relief in these fucked up times to someone who may need it most right now. I’ve fallen into some pretty dark patches over the past year in lockdown and definitely needed something to feel like I wasn’t going at it alone. I hope that the record helps in whatever way it may!
Are you much more comfortable performing in front of people, or do you still get nervous before taking the stage?
The hour before we go on is usually the worst but once we start playing I relax. I just don’t love talking too much on stage. It gets a lot easier when you play a bunch of shows in a row, though!
What do you miss the most about touring?
I miss seeing friends we don’t get to see that much and waking up in new places every day. The plan was to tour a lot in 2020 so I’ve really been itching to get back to that.
What is something most people wouldn’t know about you or your music?
That I don’t own a desk and record it all from my bed and a little shelf I can sort of sit at.
What do you think you’d be doing if you weren’t pursuing music?
I really don’t know. I’d imagine I would have probably put more concentration into design and graphic art. It’s something I’ve always loved to do but really more as a hobby than anything else.
What can we expect to see from Petite League in the near future?
I have some plans for more releases in 2021 post-Joyrider so this year should be pretty busy!
To wrap things up, is there anything that you want our readers to know?
Go watch Nirvanna The Band The Show! It is / was the best show!