Tennis: Alaina and Patrick

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By now, you’re probably aware of the story behind Tennis’ Cape Dory album: the husband-and-wife duo of Alaina Moore and Patrick Riley sold their possessions, bought a boat, sailed the Eastern Seaboard and wrote a record to chronicle their adventures when they returned. Their Patrick Carney-produced follow-up, Young & Old, is out today, and while it may not have been inspired by a voyage at sea, it does deal with the ongoing journey of marriage. Paste caught up with Moore to chat about her personal and musical partnerships with Riley.

Paste: Tell us the story of how you met.
Alaina Moore: I actually love this story. We met in college, and it was a delightful mistake in which Patrick misread a course schedule and wound up walking into my philosophy class. We struck up a conversation and hit it off, and it wasn’t until later that we found out he wasn’t even supposed to be there, he had thought it was a different course.

Paste: Describe your first date.
Moore: We never really had a first date. When we first met, we had this really close, instantaneous friendship, and we were friends for a long time before we started dating. Like pretty soon after I met him, Patrick became my best friend. We just always had this connection, and we’d hang out all the time, and we went on trips and stuff, but it was platonic for a long time. Then one day we just looked at each other and were in love.

Paste:: How long have you been together?
Moore: Four years. Close to five.

Paste: What was it like when you started making music together?
Moore: That actually came up much later in our relationship. I felt very insecure about my music and was reluctant to show anyone or mention it. I was in a place creatively where I just felt very self-conscious. When I first met Patrick I had given up on music and didn’t have anything I was working on. We had been together for two years before we first played music together. It was great though, because we had that place in our relationship.

Paste: Talk about a song that means something special to you as a couple.
Moore: We only recently heard this song, but “Mystified” by Fleetwood Mac. We sing it to each other in these obnoxious, goofy voices. It’s fun.

Paste: What’s the biggest challenge of being married to someone you also collaborate with artistically?
Moore: I think there’s two things that are challenging. Because you live and work together, you end up always working together. It’s hard to transition out of that. It can be this sort of high stakes relationship where you’re never alone, and it can be tough dialing it back. The other thing is reminding ourselves to be respectful of each other. Because in marriage, when you’ve got that bond with someone, you’re used to always speaking directly and honestly to your partner and never coddling them. They’re not some random band member, and you can sometimes forget to present your ideas and critiques in a polite manner when you’re always working with each other too.

Paste: What’s the greatest thing about being in a band with your spouse?
Moore: The best thing is knowing what our life’s work is and being able to be completely understood by our partner. We can empathize and we understand our passions and can’t share that with anyone else.