Earlier this year, the Seattle power-pop band Dude York released their latest album, Sincerely. It was an ebullient, noisy, infectiously catchy work; it hit the appropriate notes for its time-honored genre while finding a few unexpected wrinkles along the way. Their followup was a similarly left-field move: an EP called Halftime for the Holidays, which consists of–as you might guess–holiday-themed songs. We talked with singer/guitarist Peter Richards about the conception of the album, seasonal traditions, and more.
You’ve released two albums this year. Was Halftime For the Holidays already conceived when Sincerely was released?
We had not thought of Halftime when Sincerely came out. Halftime for the Holidays came up as a joke in march or April (or maybe even earlier?) and to everyone’s surprise it was done by July.
Was the process of writing a song themed around the holidays different for the band than it was writing the songs on your previous albums?
It was liberating! It was nice to write songs that could be goofy and informal. Not to say our songs are serious or formal, but we get stressed out about them sometimes!
What’s the reaction been when you’ve played these songs live?
When we first tried playing “Break Up Holiday” in August people were maybe less than excited. As we’ve gotten closer to Christmas people have liked it more. The amount of confusion has diminished and the amount of smiling and laughing has increased.
Do you have a particular favorite holiday song or single — either well-known or totally left-field?
I love the song “White Christmas” so much. It’s got a beautiful melody and it’s very simple.
Was there a particular moment that you had that inspired the lyric “the spirit’s real/ the tree is fake,” in “Hollywood Holiday”?
That sentiment comes from other people describing LA to me before I traveled there when I was young. When I was in high school I thought I would hate LA and Las Vegas and now they’re two of my favorite cities.
I’m glad to see that this EP comes down in favor of Die Hard being a Christmas movie. Are there any other unheralded Christmas movies in your own personal canon?
Guardians of the Galaxy is one of my comfort movies and has been since it came out. I used to watch it two or three times a month. I’m probably going to watch it quite a bit around Christmas, so that one’s getting added to my Christmas movie canon.