Staff Published Dec 02, This week, Exclaim! TV has once again been busy capturing a plethora of exclusive live performances, as well as some other visuals treats.
The songs are played over and over and read at their face value. But often times, we as listeners forget that there is another dimension to an album: Such a story needs to be told, and thus unfolds here today. We had started writing one or two songs with our old drummer. We realized we could write new material that would lend to a different type of drummer.
We knew the drummer was going to help carve out the direction that our band was going to go in, we were going into the unknown. I think there was definitely an idea going into it, if nothing else that it would be another step in the path the band has been on with its releases. I could see the melding of the gnarly out there stuff and vocals with a strong emphasis on melody coming along and felt good about it. It was just something we had wanted to do for a long time.
A few people have asked about the theme of the record: Our band has always sounded the way we wanted it to sound based on what we were capable of. We were not good enough 5 years ago to write Patagonian Rats. How did the writing process begin? We wrote one song to play from front to back for practice purposes and scrapped it. A lot of the other songs came about in a similar manner, starting with guitar ideas.
Where did you write the album? We ended up in LA and began writing the first half of the album at a rehearsal space up the road from Sargent House. We would walk 20 minutes everyday to practice and beat each other up trying to figure out what to write. I would sit downstairs and work on stuff. Nick would record new stuff and John would go walk around and think about parts. Another time we went out to Texas for a couple weeks and wrote a bit out by where John is from.
On another break from tour Nick had moved to Hollywood temporarily and we got a practice spot there. We met up for another month and we finished up the record. How did writing the album in different locations affect the writing process?
Something that I think makes it all work is that it reflects the dynamic that the band has with me living in a different state than the other guys. It was new for the band at the time and from what I understand, so was the method of writing in that manner.
I think it had a non-tangible direct influence on the record, which probably makes it an indirect influence laughs. LA was cool because it took us out of our comfort zone and we were really able to focus. Writing this type of music very arduous. We have friends in bands that talk about how they get together once, maybe twice a week for practice and it consists getting a couple of twelve packs of beer, joking around, hanging out, going over a couple songs and then maybe jamming a new riff, which is definitely not the case with this band.
So being away from our home distractions helped to keep us focused on what we were trying to achieve. We have had and continue to have amazing shows there, the people are great and we have some really close friends there, but I think the state itself is awful laughs. I think this had more of a true indirect influence on the writing process. But I like those types of situations, as I believe they help to push the creative process in unusual ways. What was the writing process like? Nick would come with a riff or a guitar part.
He could have easily written everything but he left room for us to be creative. He understood that we wanted to figure things out on our own. I know he wanted us to write our own stuff. He had direction sometimes. Writing a Tera Melos song is a long, sometimes painful process for all involved, but not in a bad way.
That could either be a riff or an entire song. That can be a good and a bad thing. Bad because I can get too comfortable and prohibit myself from pushing my own boundaries.
So the process I go through in writing music is very different from what I imagine those guys have to go through. I start off with zero context. Most of my ideas come from just playing guitar on my own. Eventually that becomes the skeleton of a song. Is there any greater significance in the content of the album, besides the individual song meanings that is?
When our old drummer Vince quit our band we were fucked. I remember being so depressed. All the years I put into this could have been for nothing. It was just Nick and I. We both had a drive to not give up and took the harder road, which was finding someone and trying writing a new album.
So basically, our album encapsulates that time off we had and how ready and eager we were to show people that we have time and things to do. Now moving onto the actual content of the album, from where did the utilization of broken time signatures and breaks in songs come? Rarely are we conscious about making something have that odd time signature feeling.
The awesomeness of a riff or part can sometimes depend on a small factor that, when missing, can make all the difference. Like I mentioned, the timing and rhythm of the stuff we write is just second nature now. However, I did record my lawn sprinklers the other day because they were creating this really strange pattern that I thought could be cool for something.
Ive gone back to listen to it a couple of times and have no idea what is happening laughs. How did the addition of more and more vocals affect the writing and recording process? It played a big part. Whereas before that was one of the reasons that our music was so quick moving from part to part.
We wanted to keep it interesting for the listener and ourselves. So it was really weird being in an instrumental band for so many years laughs. But that was the challenge: Adding vocals opened up a lot of possibilities for us. It took a few years, but we finally got comfortable writing and performing with them in mind.
We had 4 days of studio time to track drums which were the first things recorded for the album. For this record only a couple of the songs had finished vocal parts so I was largely unaware of what the vocal melodies and rhythms would be. I was a little bummed at first because I really like my drum parts to mesh with the vocal lines, but actually the finished versions of both worked with each other really well.
Our first record was written with vocals in mind, but the decision was made for the vocals to be background noise. I thought the instrumental thing was making us special and naturally I was worried how adding vocals would work.
We were basing things around vocals and experimenting like that. By now I had warmed up to vocals and saw Nick progress and do the vocals. I was able to throw in suggestions and it has given our songs a new light for me. Before we went on our first tour, Nick and I would listen to top 40 radio everyday.
So we used the chord arrangement on piano and the accompanying melody was done with falsetto vocals, making it much less saloon sounding.
Sometimes I really have to struggle, listen to a song and fall asleep to it. That high part that harmonizes with the guitar part just jumped out to me. A lot of the time constructing bass parts I think of a vocal melody and play that. I wanted to play something different. I came up with a tone that sounded like an organ: I came up with this weird part that just counters everything.
I remember not liking the main riff of this one until we were all playing it in the practice spot. The ending too- the out of nowhere thrash part. Why did I think that would sound good there?
But when we started practicing, it all made sense. This was the first ones that we wrote in Los Angeles that ended up making the cut. It took me a long time to come up with a drum part that I liked for the verses. There was a certain sense of movement that I wanted to convey, almost like a shuffle.
We were thinking like Flaming Lips with big crashing drums. It took us a while before we were all happy with how it came out. I was stoked because the bass part also came easy to me. I remember thinking the ending reminded me of Deerhoof somehow. Also, the little twinkle sound that starts the song and comes in every once in awhile- I had to fight to keep that in. An older version of this was one of the two tracks that Nick sent me; the intro in particular was very different.
I think this is one of the really standout songs on the record.
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The songs are played over and over and read at their face value. But often times, we as listeners forget that there is another dimension to an album:
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