May 12, 2010
Anna Barie sings and plays electronics for Brooklyn band Powers (nee These Are Powers). She recently caught up with peppy dance band Javelin to talk about food, family, and what it was like growing up in Massachusetts and Rhode Island.
Javelin is George Langford and Tom Van Buskirk, two cousins who have known each other Tom’s whole life, since George is two years older. They make effervescent R&B inspired dance jams from a sunny birthday party in the not so distant future where the cake never runs out and everyone can dance without getting tired.
We talked over a dinner of pricey snack food and cold sandwiches in a college cafeteria towards the end of our shared tour. Even in conversation, Javelin collaborates, often playfully interrupting each other and making each other laugh while remembering growing up in Boston and Providence. When not on the road, they both now call Brooklyn home.
Anna Barie: The back cover of your new album, No Mas, has a photo of the two of you when you were little. Do you remember what you were eating when the picture was taken?
Tom: Mayonnaise and milk!
George: Macaroni and cheese. There is also a jar of mayonnaise because we probably had carrots. I liked to have mayonnaise with carrots.
Tom: At George’s house, I always remember mayonnaise on the table.
AB: Ha. This would make some of my friends throw up. In elementary school, we thought onion ring chips and tartar sauce were good together.
George: So classy. Fancy.
AB: No, it’s just mayonnaise with relish in it!
Tom: The house in that photo was built by our great uncle who was an architect, it was an early project of his in New Bedford, Massachusetts. We spent a lot of time together in that house. Lots of summertime hangouts, holidays, and really fun epic Easter egg hunts.
AB: How long before you figured out what the deal was with the Easter bunny?
Tom: I think I strung my parents along a little longer by not asking too many questions.
AB: Just for the candy!
George: We didn’t have a whole lot of Easter bunny imagery. We put out wooden clogs in front of our bedroom doors. There was no bunny.
AB: Whoa, no baskets? Just clogs? What kind of candy was in the clogs?
George: Standards. Jelly beans…
Tom: In the early years, Chuckles, and wafers…
George: Saltwater taffy.
AB: This is not typical little kid candy, or candy we had when I was growing up in Texas.
George: New England candy.
Tom: New England has a lot of eccentricities.
George: Those sugar buttons stuck to paper that you would find in the back seat of the car years later covered in dog hair–
Tom: My grandma liked those.
AB:That candy never dies. You just brush it off and eat it. What else did you eat growing up besides mayonnaise and candy buttons? What did you eat during big family dinners?
Tom: I don’t remember the food so much as crawling around under the table and being crazy. My brother lit fireworks indoors during Easter one year. I remember having ham during Christmas.
AB: Was there anything you refused to eat when you were little that you eat now?
Tom: I brought chili to a Chinese restaurant once because I refused to eat the food.
George: I remember going down to Providence to visit Tom and you weren’t finishing your peas–
Tom: No, brussels sprouts, man! I couldn’t eat those.
George: This was literally the first moment of bad behavior on Tom’s part–
Tom: I was testing.
George: It was one of those hold out moments where Tom had to finish them or we couldn’t watch TV. He just stood up, went rogue and took the brussels sprouts and threw them in the trash. Then his mom took them back out and put them on a plate and made him eat them.
Tom: And I ate them. It was just the food trash. I have to say my mom had some brass ones.
AB: Food trash like composting, right? Did you guys grow food?
Tom: Yeah. My mom had a garden but the best ones were in New Hampshire. My step-grandmother planted by the moon and did astrological planting.
George: We tried to set up a lemonade stand one summer and your mom wouldn’t give us lemonade but she gave us zucchini instead to sell.
Tom: My brother used to shoot the rotten ones with our eldest cousin who was really bad, the cousin who straight up got coal in his stocking.
George: He was badass.
AB: Did you go trick or treating when you were little?
Tom: Yeah, we used to double dip by making a slight rearrangement on our costumes.
George: I went with my sisters and they dressed me up like a girl because I had long, curly blonde hair. I was three years old, it damaged me.
Javelin is currently on tour. Their latest album, No Mas, is out now on Luaka Bop.