Indie group Tennis released their greatly anticipated sophomore album, Young & Old, earlier this week. Last December, the group recorded their single “Origins” live at a show at the Doug Fir Lounge in Portland, Oregon.
Singer Alaina Moore explains that it took the band some time to write new music after Cape Dory, but “Origins” was one of the first tracks to come after inspiration hit. “It was awhile after finishing Cape Dory before we wrote another song. Not because we had expended ourselves, but because we felt like Cape Dory had a momentum of its own that had propelled us for the better part of a year,” she explains to Rolling Stone. “When we made music again, we wanted to be sure of ourselves and feel in control.”
Moving on from Cape Dory, Moore’s greatest musical challenge came in the songwriting. She explains that the songs on Cape Dory were written “to describe my own understanding of love and my encounters with fear and self-doubt. But I was only writing for me, and I didn’t need to explain to myself what I meant.” She wanted to change her style and write with an audience in mind for future work, like “Origins,” which meant discussing topics that are more difficult to share.
After reading Yeats’ “A Woman Young and Old” and hearing bandmate/husband Patrick Riley’s music for the song that would become “Origins,” Moore began to think of deeply personal issues involving being in a band and spending so much time on the road.
“I thought about how the suddenness of becoming a band and spending so much time on the road with others seemed to bring out the best and the worst in me. I thought a lot about human nature – mine, really, and the way it had been portrayed to me in my childhood,” she shares. “I felt frustrated with the self-defeating conception of humanity I was presented with.”
Writing “Origins” ultimately inspired Moore to write the rest of Young & Old, yet she still says, “I wouldn’t have written a line of [“Origins”] if it hadn’t been for Yeats.”
You can download the live cut of Tennis’s “Origins” here.