Kristine Capua has been playing music since she was 6 years old. She’s moved from piano to clarinet and taught herself to play the guitar, drifting from one band to another until finally settling into local indie-pop outfit Very Truly Yours. Capua talked to The Chronicle about learning music by ear and the indie-pop community.
The Chronicle: How and when did Very Truly Yours get started?
Kristine Capua: Very Truly Yours started in the summer of 2008. I was in a band called The Lorimer Sound with Lisle [Mitnik], who is our guitar player, and Dan [Hyatt], who was our first bass player. Basically, that band just fizzled out. We just stopped playing—disbanded, basically. We all decided, “Hey, we still want to make music together, why don’t we start a band.” Right before [The Lorimer Sound] broke up, we released an EP on this little label in the U.K. called “Wee Pop.” People were asking us to play shows, but we disbanded. It was like, “Oh, well we’re in this new band. We haven’t really done anything outside of practicing together,” and it sort of gave us the initiative and motivation to get the ball rolling with Very Truly Yours.
The Chronicle: What’s the songwriting process like?
KC: As far as writing, usually what will happen is I’ll think of a melody. I play guitar in the band, but I’m not trained in guitar. I’m classically trained in piano, and I played clarinet for a long time, but as far as writing chords and things like that, it’s always an interesting process. I could say I don’t know what I’m doing, but it all eventually comes together. Luckily, Lisle is very good at putting everything into a band perspective. Together, we always will think of different ways of approaching a song. I could have a song that sounds sad and slow and he can turn it into a pop song [with] some tweaking.
The Chronicle: What made you first become interested in music?
KC: I got a piano as a birthday present when I was 6. I learned playing by ear as a child. I had astigmatism—and no one knew it for a long time—so I could never really read notes and read music. I knew music theory, but if you put a piece of sheet music on a piano for me, I was never able to play it. So for a long time what I would do is tell my piano teacher, “Hey, can you play it for me?” And that’s how I learned, playing by ear, so if I heard someone playing something, I was able to play it pretty much automatically, and that’s kind of how I got started. That progressed into learning the clarinet—and obviously getting glasses, which was good. They let me finally really learn music theory and making my brain work that way—looking at notes and being able to play them. When I was in high school, I was in an all-girl punk band, which eventually turned into an all-girl pop band. I’ve just been dabbling in different bands, switching from keyboard to playing guitar until finally settling into Very Truly Yours and trying to pursue that on a bigger level.
The Chronicle: Have there been any shows you’ve played that you’ve been particularly proud of or excited about?
KC: We played New York City PopFest in 2009 and 2010, and we also played Athens PopFest [in Athens, Ga.] in 2010, and those shows are always special to me because the genre is so niche for pop bands. We have a hard time in Chicago only because, one, we can’t find bands to play with that have a similar sound to us and then, you know, it gets kind of tiring to try to get your friends to see you every time you play and find a bigger audience. But something like Athens PopFest and New York City PopFest allows us to reach a bigger group of people—people who are into the indie-pop sound and want to hear us.
The Chronicle: What plans do you have for the future?
KC: We do things on the side. Lisle’s got a solo project called Fireflies. I’m recording for this band called Gold-Bears, they’re on Slumberland Records. I just finished some vocals for them. I also have a solo record coming out next year. So we’ve all kind of got our own little things we do, and then obviously there’s that 7-inch [coming out].
To listen to or purchase music by Very Truly Yours, visit VeryTrulyYours.Bandcamp.com.