The JangleBox

Indie, Noise, Shoegaze… Music

Interview: Slowness (Taken from: Clank for Breakfast)

Interview: Slowness

Droney and atmospheric, rougher and more vulnerable ( from: Clank for Breakfast)

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With their EP “Hopeless But Otherwise” (2011), a split vinyl single in 2012 with Dead Leaf Echo, and last year’s debut album “For Those Who Wish To See The Glass Half Full”, Slowness managed to seduce our ears and conquer our hearts easily. A couple days ago, the 2008 formed US band unleashed their second full-length menu: “How To Keep From Falling Off A Mountain”. Once more, Slowness celebrate a compelling, highly melodic shoegaze kisses drone pop journey. Before founders Geoffrey Scott (guitars, keys, vocals) and Julie Lynn (bass, vocals, keys) as well as Scott Putnam (drums) and Greg Dubrow (bass) head to Europe to play a couple shows, Geoffrey took the time for a chat.

 

How would you personally describe your musical journey from “For Those Who Wish To See The Glass Half Full” to the new album?

Geoffrey: To some degree the making of the two albums overlapped. We were demoing these new songs before we released “For Those Who Wish to See the Glass Half Full”. We didn’t tour that record so we got to work right away.

Were there certain goals you wanted to achieve when starting the songwriting process, like trying new sounds, instruments, ways of writing? Do you feel like with the release of this album you were able to get everything out you wanted? Or is there always that certain feeling of “I could do a little more”?

Geoffrey: The only thing we wanted to do was to make this record sound less polished and poppy than “The Glass”. We also wanted it to be more droney and atmospheric. And we wanted to get more people involved on the record. Greg Dubrow plays half the songs on bass, we had an additional drummer, and we had three additional guitarists. Overall, we had nine people play on this record. And we did it quickly, and didn’t overthink it, so it’s a bit rougher and more vulnerable than “The Glass”. Ryan (Lescure), from Blue Aurora, says it sounds more bluesy – which we didn’t intend at all. We always feel a little insecure when we put something out, but when we listened to the test pressing, we got close to calling off the release and going back into the studio, mainly because one song in particular didn’t come out the way we wanted it to. But eventually we let go and just moved forward with it, realizing that songs should become something different from what you originally intend.

Like “For Those Who Wish To See The Glass Half Full”, also this album’s been co-produced by Monte Vallier (Weekend, The Soft Moon), and mastered by Kramer (Low, Galaxie 500). Was this a given when you started with the album? How would you describe the work process with them?

Geoffrey: Yes, it was a given. Everything we’ve recorded has been done with both of them. They both have been so good to us. Their main focus is our music – not their own agenda or notoriety. They have superior ears and help us sound way better than we would without their involvement. The process with Monte has morphed a bit over time as we’ve become a little more self-sufficient recording the basics. We recorded most of this record ourselves with the help of two talented engineers. Monte’s forte, and what I think he enjoys most, is mixing. That’s where the songs take on real life, and when he’s done, we send them to Kramer for the extra shimmy.

You wrote and recorded the album in San Francisco and New York City. Did those two cities have any influence on the musical result? Or would the album be like it is when you would’ve been in say Tokyo, Paris, Moscow or Melbourne?

Geoffrey: Honestly, I don’t know. I do know, however, that being bicoastal right now lends a sense of urgency and excitement to the recording process, in that when I go back to San Francisco, or when Jules comes to New York, we have great friends in both places ready to play and record with us, which keeps things interesting and breathes life into the project. As for those other cities, I’d love to plant ourselves in one of them, or many others, and see how it would affect a recording. Hopefully someday we’ll be able to afford that luxury.

When you’re in the studio, does the ability or ease of playing them live ever factor in at all?

Geoffrey: We’re rarely ever prepared enough to record live. The most live recording we’ve ever done was for our EP. We were house sitting and had a huge living room to work in for about six weeks before we went into the studio. Apart from taking care of plants and animals, all we did was rehearse and write. We tried to record “For Those Who Wish to See the Glass Half Full” live, but it didn’t come out so great because we weren’t sufficiently prepared. And for the new record we did zero live recording. The current nature of the band right now – apart from the quartet we have going to Europe – is not really a band, per se, but rather a collective. The songs get written and arranged as they’re being demoed, and the demos turn into proper recordings and get edited into their final structure in a piecemeal fashion. I’m not sure it’s the best way to do things, but that’s just the way we work, for now.

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How did the idea come up to entitle the record with “How To Keep From Falling Off A Mountain”? How does it relate to the lyrics/themes and cover art of the album?

Geoffrey: As always, there’s a list of ideas for titles, and you run them by the band and your friends to see which ones raise eyebrows. When we’d narrowed it down to two, I asked a friend of mine, who’s a writer, which one he liked best and this is what he chose, so that’s what we went with. The cover is a picture of our friend Christy (who plays drums on “Anon, part IV”). There was no real meaning or connection between the album title and the image, but I suppose if you were to crawl into that picture and have a drink or two, and talk about the times, or books, or movies, or music, or what have you, I’m sure she’d help you avoid falling off a mountain, let alone climbing one to begin with.

Can you tell us about how the idea came up for “Anon” (a requiem in four parts)?

Geoffrey: I’ve always wanted to do really long songs, or have songs bleed into one another, sort of like Pink Floyd, but more like early Spiritualized. The idea was simply that one side of the record would be one song. The four parts are connected musically and tell the story of someone in great need of change.

Do you need to be in a certain mood when writing on a song, or doesn’t it matter too much?

Geoffrey: I need to be at peace.

Since it’s not really easy to make a living based on being in a band, what are you guys doing as day jobs? Would you risk giving up your day jobs when the band would grow to a point where a certain amount of cash would enter your band accounts, or would you keep the day jobs for safety reasons?

Geoffrey: Everyone in the band works in education. I used to too but I dropped out, because I didn’t have the energy to do both. Now I scrape by. I’ve left a lot of jobs to pursue endeavors like this, and it creates a lot of risk. No one else in the band would leave their job because they all have certain responsibilities and because they’re smarter than that. As Americans, and at our age – we’re no spring chickens – it’s almost crazy to give up a job in this climate. It’s incredibly hard to get one again once you leave.

Alright, let’s hear it … what’s the best 3 albums released this year so far (and no, yours not included 😉 )?

Geoffrey: The new Brian Jonestown Massacre is the only thing I’ve heard that I love. And oh yes, I like the new War On Drugs record too. But honestly, I’m out of it when it comes to new music. I’m spending my time doing other things like watching movies and reading books, fighting to stave off the inevitable ADD.

So you’re about to head to Europe regarding live shows. I bet you’re pretty excited about that. What are your hopes and expectations?

Geoffrey: Julie booked this tour, pretty much single-handedly, and of course with some help from the bands we’re playing with. And we are doing all the so-called promotion ourselves. Apart from direct contacts we’ve made, we have no booker, no promoter, and no outside help, financial or otherwise. But that’s what “indie” means, right? So we’ll see how far this grassroots/DIY thing can take us. Ultimately, my hopes are that we’ll have some good shows, meet some good people, sell a few records along the way, be safe, and have fun.

Thank you, Geoffrey!

www.facebook.com/slownessmusic

Listen: www.slowness.bandcamp.com/album/how-to-keep-from-falling-off-a-mountain

Tomada del blog: Clank for Breakfast 

19 junio, 2014 - Posted by | Slowness

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