Despite what their name might suggest, I Hate You Just Kidding aren’t a joke. The Costa Mesa pop/folk duo might not take themselves too seriously—their moniker comes from a line of dialog uttered in an episode of the Adult Swim cartoon Home Movies, for instance—but they’ve worked hard enough to gain a good deal of local notice in less than a year together. Sad songs such as “Like A Reality” and their cover of “Edelweiss” helped them land a gig at Detroit Bar last month and a show at La Cave this week. The next goal for Jessi Fulghum, 22, and Jeremy Brock, 21, is to put some of those songs onto an EP.
OC Weekly: So, the band name. An attention-getter.
Jeremy Brock: It’s definitely memorable. People are like, “I want to listen to it just because of the band name. I want to talk about it just because of the band name.” I think with that being the band name, we can get away with doing cutesy stuff [while] still doing anything else. The first couple of songs we wrote were just ridiculous, about cheeseburgers and naps. So it fit.
The band have been together for less than a year. How did you guys get started?
Brock: We worked together at Calvin Klein in South Coast Plaza. Practically a whole year later, I found out that she had some prior experience in singing.
Jessi Fulghum: I wrote songs and sang them; I just had a couple of recordings.
Brock: Super lo-fi high school recordings, just her and her friends playing acoustic. I was like, “Jessi, this is really freaking cute! We should start a band.” It started not really serious at all.
Jeremy, you’ve been writing songs solo for a few years. How does that differ from your collaborative work?
Brock: Typically the songs that I used to write by myself are darker and more personal. The songs that we write together, they’re lighter.
Fulghum: And when I write by myself they’re ... cute, I guess. Really light and cute.
Brock: It’s an interesting balance.
So why a duo and not, uh, more people?
Fulghum: It’s just easy when you already hang out.
Brock: As far as musically, influences and stuff, we like a lot of duos and trios. Ideally, I think most people want “a band,” which we’re not objecting to.
And who are some of those duos?
Fulghum: Damien Rice and Lisa Hannigan. The Carpenters. I like the idea of She and Him, but I’m not actually that big on their music.
You’re both into Conor Oberst and other indie/pop/folk types. What artists do you enjoy that would surprise people?
Brock: Cursive. Pretty much anything by Tim Kasher.
Fulghum: We like the Streets.
Brock: I feel like everything I mention, you can kind of tell that we listen to it.
The first time I saw you two play, it was at Detroit Bar, and at the end of the set, you improvised a song that called out specific people in the audience and worked in Pixies lyrics. Is that going to become a regular feature of your sets?
Brock: We were leaving, setting everything up in the car on the way: “We should do this thing. What if I just said something completely different off the top of my head? Made it up as we went along? And just played it for as long as we wanted, because it doesn’t really matter?” We can play it for 30 seconds, we can play it for four minutes. As long as people get a kick out of it, until it gets annoying.
You go bowling every week. You both must be pretty good at this point, right?
Fulghum: You would think that we would be better. Jeremy got like a 150, that was good. We just try to keep it past 100.
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I Hate You Just Kidding with Drew Danburry, Tall Tales and the Silver Lining and the Traditionist at La Cave, 1695 Irvine Ave., Costa Mesa, (949) 646-7944; www.myspace.com/lacave. Tues., 9 p.m. Free. 21+.
I Hate You Just Kidding can be found online at www.myspace.com/ihateyoujustkidding.
Hey, Orange County/Long Beach musicians and bands! Mail your music, contact info, high-res photos and upcoming show dates for possible review to: Locals Only, OC Weekly, 2975 Red Hill Ave., Ste 150, Costa Mesa, CA 92626. Or e-mail your link to email@example.com.