Stomping Grounds: Say Hi (Seattle, Washington)

Say Hi
It’s no secret that Brooklyn has been a choice location for a good musician to find his place in the artistic landscape. It’s also no secret that Brooklyn is expensive as hell. That may or may not have something to do with why indie pop band Say Hi opted to move to the cheaper and rainier Seattle, which has an impressive musical roster of its own.
We recently got Eric Elbogen on the line to ask him about his favorite spots in the northwestern city. Read on to find out all the whens, wheres and whats that you should probably check out next time you’re in the Emerald City.
What’s your town’s nickname?
The Emerald City.
What’s your nickname for your town?
Why do you live there?
It’s cheaper than living in New York City. It’s also pretty awesome.
Did you grow up there? If not, what brought you there?
No. It’s a rather beautiful part of the world. Plus, it’s cheaper than living in New York City.
What’s the weirdest thing that has ever happened to you there?
Just the other day, an older man comes to my door to sell me a wreath. I tell him I don’t celebrate Christmas. “Oh, are you Hebrew?” he says. “I LOVE the Hebrews!” That was pretty weird.
What is your favorite local attraction (monument, park, etc)?
The Gorge Amphitheater is pretty mind-blowing. You’ll be watching a band play in front of this giant, unreal natural creation. It almost looks fake.
What is your favorite local event or festival?
Sasquatch, which happens at the aforementioned amphitheater. It’s curated and run better that any other festival in the country.
What is the best time of year to be there?
May through October. It’s paradise here then, there’s no rain and no humidity, but the wildlife is all overgrown from the moisture during the rest of the year.
Who is your favorite local celebrity?
I’m not much of a star-fucker.
Where is the best place to drink and what’s their specialty or happy hour?
There’s a speakeasy on Capitol Hill called Knee High Stocking Co. You need to text for reservations and ring a bell to get in. It’s quiet and comfortable on weekends and there are rules of conduct. I’m not much for elaborate cocktails (mostly just a neat whiskey kind of guy), but they have a plethora of ’em that I hear are pretty good.
Who has the best jukebox (and what’s in it)?
Golden City in Ballard. The definition of dive bar. Classic rock, classic rap. You just have to ignore the paintings on the wall.
Do you play music there? If so, where is your favorite place to play?
Yes. The usual suspects. The Sunset, The Croc, Neumos, The Showbox. They all have their ups and downs.
Does where you live influence your music?
It has influenced exactly one Say Hi song, “Northwestern Girls.” (Duh.) Most of the time I’m more of a “look in my head for ideas” kind of writer.
What is your favorite place to see live music and what was your favorite show there?
There was a David Bazan, The Head and the Heart, Damien Jurado show at the Showbox a few weeks back. I’ve never heard/seen more capable, compelling musicians on the same stage in one night.
What is your favorite local band?
What is your favorite diner or restaurant and what is their best dish?
Pretty much anything from Rancho Bravo Tacos.
What is your favorite record store and what was your best find there?
Big fan of both Sonic Boom and Easy Street. I’m not much a used vinyl kind of guy, but I have friends that consistently score great finds at both of them.
What is your favorite local publication (alternative weekly, zine, website or blog)?
The Stranger and Seattle Weekly both have some great writers.
What is your favorite local shop?
Trading Musician, a used instrument shop. It’s pretty overpriced, but the vintage items are normally in really great shape. I bought my first drum kit there this year, an early 70s Slingerland (silver sparkle!), and a really great 70s Mustang Bass as well. I’m super happy with both those acquisitions.
If you could live anywhere else, where would that be?
Well, since it’s the dead of winter right now, any place with sunshine and a beach sounds about right.