A Traveling Friendship

Domenica Pileggi and Katie Bennett

In one week, we’re packing up our guitars and snacks and leaving Philadelphia for a two-week tour together on the west coast. This time last year, we were just meeting, after learning about and appreciating each others’ home-recorded music via the internet. free cake for every creature (Katie Bennett) had put out the cassette Pretty Good on the label Double Double Whammy, and i tried to run away when i was 6’s (Domenica Pileggi) songs were circulating tumblr, both of us making pop-influenced music with references to baked goods and friends.

Since then, free cake for every creature has put out another cassette on DDW, “moving songs”, and i tried to run away when i was six will release a new cassette on Miscreant Records later this summer. Both of us have made the move from upstate New York to Philadelphia, close to where we grew up in the city’s suburbs. We’ve played shows and gone on tours, including a sort of calamitous two-day stint in Ohio in which our car broke down, and then once it got fixed and we made it to the show, Katie lost her voice. Luckily, like a true pal, Domenica knew all the words to the free cake for every creature song “Don’t Go Away Ahumpf Acroomf”, and sang them while Katie played guitar. That moment cemented both our friendship and also our trust in each other as tourmates. We’re so excited to go on a full tour together, to eat amazing vegan food, to visit Domenica’s friends in Portland (where they used to live as well as started writing and recording songs), and to play with some of our musical heroes.

The playlist below includes songs by said heroes, as well as songs relating to our past tour experiences and history as musicians.

Free Cake x I Tried to Run Away mix

“My Broken Heart” by Tiger Trap
I first started listening to Tiger Trap three years ago, around the same time I started learning to play guitar.  The songs are so… fun, that they made me feel less intimidated by the guitar, and Rose Melberg’s personable and thought-to-word lyrics made me less intimidated by songwriting.  Rose is a magician in the way she’s able to make songs that are both accessible and wholly singular; her vocal inflection, how her voice raises a few steps on the word “my” in the phrase “my broken heart”, I wanna tell the world about it!!

It was that moment of inflection that I praised her for when I first met her in person three years ago.  She serendipitously happened to be at a K Records showcase in Seattle that Colin (who plays lead guitar in “free cake for every creature” when it’s a full-band) and I were attending on an impromptu west-coast trip.  I overcame being starstruck and managed to talk to her, praising her music and also telling her I was going to start a band with Colin (I think I told her our name would be “The Fuckin’ Donuts”… whoops….)  Now I’m actually playing a show with her, in her hometown of Vancouver, and I can’t believe it.  I must have been been a saint in a past-life or something; it feels like the universe is being very nice to me right now. -Katie

“Persimmon Tree” by Remambran
This song is so summery and exuberant, crescendoing into a chorus of voices harmonizing the the word “persimmon”.  I love the idea of naming a song after a tree- to a person like me, living in an east coast city, it seems like a very “California” thing to do.  Whenever I go to the co-op and only buy one avocado because it’s almost two dollars, I think about how I’ve heard that people in California have avocado trees in their backyard.  Sounds like a dream.

Other than being an incredible song, the personnel is made up of some of my favorite musicians.  Mallory Watje is the main songwriter/ person behind “Remambran”, and I’m so excited to play with her in L.A., especially since I’ve heard she hasn’t been playing many shows recently.  Joining her on vocals is Rebecca Redman, who’s personal project Watercolor Paintings is also a favorite of mine, and who we’ll be playing with in Oakland.  Last but not least, Stephen Steinbrink also sings/ plays instruments on this track, and he’s not only a DIY Pop Wizard, he’s also one of the most talented producers I’ve heard, managing to capture a sound that’s warm and idiosyncratic but also timeless.  I’d love for him to help me record a song someday.  We’ll also be playing with him in Oakland.

I feel lucky to be able to play with musicians I truly love and admire, because that hasn’t always been the case.  The first few tours I went on, no one knew who I was, so I had to practically beg people to put together shows for us.  Predictably, some of them turned out terribly (shows in bars with a crowd of only my band member Francis’s brother, shows at houses where everyone in the audience was too drunk to stand properly, etc), but some of them also turned out amazing, introducing me to folks who helped put me in touch some of the good people I know today.  I’m excited to continue the adventure with Domenica next week. -Katie

“DOLLAR STORE” by BOOSEGUMPS
Every time I see BOOSEGUMPS play a show the first thing out of my mouth following the set is “BOOSEGUMPS is my favorite band.” Seeing Heeyoon, the mastermind behind BOOSEGUMPS, perform this song in particular last month in my living room left me feeling no different. If anything it left me smiling from ear to ear and remembering sitting on the floor of Desert Island in Brooklyn digging through the dollar toy box with Heeyoon in May while we were on tour together.

I met Heeyoon when they approached me in a basement in New Brunswick, NJ last summer after I had played my second live set ever. We were a little familiar with one another thanks to the internet but getting to meet and talk to them in person made me go home and really take a second look at what they were creating. I was absolutely blown away. This spring, while Katie and I were planning our West Coast tour, I was getting a little nervous because I had never toured before! I have only been playing shows for a year as of this coming August and had never played more than two nights in a row. I wanted to do a trial run of what I was in for so I messaged Heeyoon and invited them to spend a week in my car with me so we could give it a shot. Seeing BOOSEGUMPS play every night (and even getting to play bass for them on a couple of songs) was nothing short of a dream, I was front and center every night staring in awe, leaving with not much more to say than “BOOSEGUMPS is my favorite band.”

I am lucky my touring opportunities so far have landed me sitting next to people I admire so much. Getting to see these friends who also happen to be amazing musicians play every night, to get to explore the country with them, to be stuck in a car for hours getting to know one another better. It’s all unbelievable. I really feel so lucky that I am able to do this. I am so excited to kick off this adventure with Katie. -Domenica

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