Alaina Moore and Patrick Riley met in a philosophy class at the University of Colorado in Denver. While Patrick had plans to become a lawyer, that all changed during a sailing expedition after college. The pair purchased a sailboat and spent eight months sailing the eastern seaboard. Their first songs chronicled the trip, and to this day the pair writes mostly while on their sailboat.

The pair released their first single in 2010 and was soon touring, adding drummer James Barone to the group. Barone remained for the first two records. Cape Dory was the first and chronicled the post graduation sailing adventure. For the groups second and third records, Patrick Kerney of the Black Keys came on board to produce. NPR described the third record as “On Ritual in Repeat, it’s like Moore and Riley discover just how much ancient Latin, or in this case extinct pop styles, is their natural language”

Seemingly destined to expand their popularity in the mid 2010s, Tennis found themselves not having the same level of success as bands they considered their contemporaries. On reflection, Moore describes it this way: “When we first started, there was an explosion of interest and then it plateaued really quickly compared to other bands who came up around the same time,” says Moore, pointing specifically to acts like Best Coast or Washed Out. “I felt that they were getting bigger and bigger and outpacing us, but I also thought things were moving too fast for us.” As a result, Moore admits she “threw away” some opportunities that could have propelled their fortunes. “I tried to pump the breaks whenever I could, like turning down tours or touring less. They may or may not have been the best choices, but I had a lot of talks with Pat in those early days that I wanted the band to grow steadily or slowly over time, so that one day if we got big I’d be prepared for it.”

Tennis will release their sixth album next month and launch a tour in March.