Interview: Amanda Rainey of Dubb Nubb and Special Passenger Records
In this week's print issue, we spent some time with Delia and Hannah Rainey, the twin sisters of Dubb Nubb, and older sister, drummer and Special Passenger Records owner Amanda Rainey. Below is some of our interview with Amanda, in which she provides the label's history and philosophy, reminisces about her time living and working in Jackson, MS, and gives some news about upcoming projects. Catch up with the whole Special Passenger family at the label's website, or download some songs for free at Special Passenger's and Dubb Nubb's respective Bandcamp sites. Or see Dubb Nubb for free at Great Harvest Bread Company in Olivette this Friday, August 12, at 7:00 p.m.
Cory Taylor Cox
Riverfront Times: When and why did you start Special Passenger Records? Were you inspired by any other labels?
Amanda Rainey: In April of 2009, we released a compilation called The Special Passenger Project . A few months before that, a friend of ours called his date for the evening his "special passenger," and the phrase caught on in our small arts community of friends in Jackson. Several bands, including [my band] The Bachelorettes, wanted to write "special passenger" songs, so we decided to do a compilation. Our friends were really excited to have a bit of inspiration and we ended up getting 17 songs! Around the same time Dubb Nubb recorded their first album in Jackson. The Bachelorettes recorded an album at the same studio,and our guitar player Lizzie started playing solo shows as Lizzie Wright Super Space Ship. So after we got back from Bachelorettes tour that August, we decided to start a label to have an umbrella name for all these projects.
Are you from St. Louis originally? What is your relation to Jackson, MS?
I grew up in St. Louis and went to undergrad at Mizzou. I moved to Jackson in May of 2007 because I got a fellowship at the Goldring/Woldenberg Institute of Southern Jewish Life. It was a two-year position in Jewish education. I traveled around the South and worked with religious school in small Jewish communities. My second year in Jackson, we started The Bachelorettes and I got involved in the DIY space One to One Studios. When my fellowship ended, I loved Jackson too much to leave, so I stuck around for another year, worked at the art gallery at Millsaps College, and did music stuff.
Are you from a musical family? Obviously your twin sisters are perfomers, and your dad is clearly a music fan. Was music always part of chez Rainey?
I love that my parents' house focuses on the stereo more than the television. Our living room features a piano, guitars, mandolin, and shelves of CDs and records. For a while too when I played percussion in the school band, we had a 4.5 octave marimba. My parents always had music playing in the house, which was mostly awesome except for when it was Phil Ochs at 8 a.m. on a Saturday and i was in middle school.
With what bands besides the Bachelorettes and Dubb Nubb have you performed?
I play percussion with Lizzie Wright Super Space Ship, who also moved to Columbia. Last summer the twins, our cousin Jessica and I had a garage-pop band in our parents' basement called Teen Room. We had one show - in our parent's basement. Also, I am in a band in Columbia called Comfort Zone that began as part of a 48-hour band competition and we kept being a band afterwards. We have been described as art-punk, and the most interesting band people have seen.
What inspired Feels Like Coming Home? How far along are you with it?
Feels Like Coming Home was an idea I had with Annie Blazer, who used to run the label with me. The name came from the old welcome sign, "Mississippi, it's like coming home." Annie is a religion professor and is interested in musical communities as meaningful communities. We wanted to inspire people to write songs about their hometowns and musical communities. The album will have 16 bands from around the country. I am still waiting on two of the songs to come in, but am hoping to release the album by the end of July. We asked bands to participate who are in our network of family, friends, bands we have played with, or bands we have seen and been moved by.