The End: Alaina Moore of Tennis | Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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The End: Alaina Moore of Tennis

Heaven’s Yes Men

Feb 21, 2020 Tennis Bookmark and Share

To end out the week, we ask Alaina Moore of the Denver indie pop duo Tennis some questions about endings and death.

Moore formed Tennis in 2010 with her husband Patrick Riley, releasing their debut album, Cape Dory, in 2011. The band just released their fifth album, Swimmer, via their own Mutually Detrimental label. The album was made after a difficult period for Moore and Riley. Moore fainted and had a seizure in a grocery store while on tour. On the same tour Patrick’s father died after a battle with cancer and his mother was later admitted to the hospital on the brink of a stroke. This all happened within the span of about two weeks. Swimmer was then mainly written during a much-needed four-month sailing excursion in the Sea of Cortez, Mexico, and just before that trip Patrick and his mother scattered his father’s ashes into the Pacific just off the coast of San Diego. Ironically, despite their ocean adventures and the album’s title, Moore admits that she “couldn’t swim until this past year.” She adds: “I’m still learning.”

Read on as Moore talks about how and when she’d like to die, what song she’d like played on her deathbed, her concepts of heaven and hell, and her ideal last words.

How would you like to die and what age would you like to be?

I would prefer not to die at all, though I have a strong suspicion I will die of a prolonged illness. I, of course, hope to live a long life ravaged by time.

What song would you like to be playing at your deathbed?

“All I Wanna Do” by The Beach Boys, but only if Patrick is with me. More than anything, I want Patrick to be with me when I die. It’s selfish, I know. Only one of us gets to comfort the other at the moment of their death. I want to be the one who gets comforted.

What song would you like to be performed at your funeral and who would you like to sing it?

I would never want a live performance at my funeral. I would never put Patrick through the hell of renting a PA and hiring someone to perform while he’s grieving my death.

What’s your favorite series finale last ever episode of a TV show?

I loved the way Cheer ended—with Navarro College winning at Daytona. That was perfect human drama, and the ending everyone always wants in life but rarely gets.

Whose passing has most affected you?

Patrick’s father died while we were on tour supporting Yours Conditionally two years ago. It was a totally insane, crushing experience. The whole family was pretty destroyed for a while. The song “Swimmer” on our new album is about scattering his father’s ashes at sea.

If you were on death row, what would you like your last meal to be?

I’ve thought about this before. There is just no way I could possibly eat a bite of anything if I knew I was about to die. Not a bite. Everything would be like dust in my mouth.

What’s your concept of the afterlife?

I don’t have one, but Patrick is optimistic that we are all brains in a vat.

What would be your own personal version of heaven if it exists?

I can’t conceive of a heaven, but reincarnation is appealing to me. I like the idea of trying life again in another body.

What would be the worst punishment the devil could devise for you in hell, if he exists?

I think heaven sounds worse than hell. Heaven is full of yes men. Satan was all about freedom through knowledge. I imagine hell to be full of intellectuals and free thinkers. I’d like to start a book club with them.

If reincarnation exists, who or what would you like to be reincarnated as?

I would like to be a man next time around, just to see what that’s all about. I want a well-rounded experience.

What role or achievement would you most like to be remembered for?

For being fearless. I live with a lot of fear and anxiety. It’s taken years to come to terms with that, but I’ve worked hard to make fear my compass. The thing I’m afraid of doing is usually the thing most worth doing. If I continue to do that throughout my life then I will have lived well.

What would you like your last words to be?

I hope my last words are spoken to Patrick—though they would be far too personal to write down here. In the song “Echoes” on our new album, I write about a time on tour when I fainted from the flu and had a seizure. For a brief moment Patrick and I both thought I had died. When I regained consciousness, I was in a dissociative state—disconnected from my body, my vision just a tunnel of light. I thought I was dead and started screaming uncontrollably. The sound of my own screaming was the only thing that made me realize I was alive. I’m not happy with the way I responded to the possibility of my death, but based on this one experience, it’s very likely that my last words will just be involuntary screams.

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