Is it what it seems, or are three of the tracks (on Indigo) the exact same length on purpose?
It's funny you noticed that! When we got the tracks back from Black Lab Mastering, we noticed that three of the songs were exactly four minutes and seventeen seconds long. I remember calling Chris and telling him how weird that was. I wish we had a great story about the complications of pulling that off, but it's merely happenstance. We took similar verse/chorus/bridge structures in those three tracks, so tempo just happened to achieve that result.
Which song took the longest to write and record, and why?
I would have to say 'Riverside'. The bridge section of that song was written about ten years ago. I wanted it to be the focus of a song but never could land on the right feel that I had envisioned. At the time I was listening to Thrice's Vheissu pretty much non-stop. It was a time in my life where I had reached a social boiling point of sorts. Last year when we sat down to sift through song ideas and melodies, I started singing that bridge and our producer, Neil, stopped me and insisted that we chase it down. The recording process was relatively quick but one of the longest start to finish on this particular EP. I really wanted to get this song "right" but I didn't want it to sound forced or aggressive. I wanted to articulate my confusion on why many around me were not feeling the weight of social injustice and inequality that has plagued our society throughout our history. I had to get it off my chest - and the final product was "Riverside".
Do you have a philosophy of recording vs performing live? Do you like to record only the parts that you can play live?
I think our philosophy is that we want songs to have the best feeling possible without making songs impossible to recreate live. In today's day and age, it seems like pop music has a tendency to be over-produced and under-performed. When we are recording we usually are able to sprinkle some things in that we know we can't pull off live. This isn't because we can't perform those parts, it's that we don't have enough hands! For example, in 'Lorelei' there are Wurlitzer key parts that our producer (Neil DeGraide) reversed into swells with reverb (listen to Bridge). Those parts play through nearly the entire song making it complicated to pull off performing everything else in the track. Taylor runs a complex Ableton system from his side of the stage for parts like that - and in some instances he is triggering segments and then switching to guitar. So to answer the question we try to get the song feeling right in the studio first, and then we will play live to a click with textured parts built into a track. On most songs we perform live the band is playing the vast majority of parts with a few recorded tracks tucked into the mix.
When is yall's next performance I can attend?
We are working on adding some shows in May! We've been working really hard on finishing up this anthology of EP's which has made live performances take a backseat. We hope to get back to live shows heading into late Spring and Summer!
It seemed like the songs on Indigo have the same style throughout, is that going to be the style for each EP or is every individual EP going to have its own feeling?
Great question! About a year ago we sat down and started to hash out wether or not we wanted to do an EP, a full length or both!! Also, we knew that we had been trying some different approaches stylistically and wondered if that would change our artistic direction. That's when the revelation happened - the beauty of being an independent band is that we don't have anyone telling us what we can and can't do. So instead of worrying about cogency, we decided to write whatever we wanted to write. If that was an R&B leaning song 'Hypnotized' or eighties inspired and delay-riddled pop song 'Haunt Me' we just used the barometer - do we like it? We all listen to so many different genres and those differences shape our musical influence. Realizing that "OUR" sound is what ever happens when we as a band crash together was the most liberating feelings that I've had in a long time. So to answer the question - each EP will have its own sonic imprint but ultimately will be an expression of what we were listening to or going through at the time of the songs inception.
When can I get the next EP?
Every other month, we are releasing an EP on the second Friday of that month. Our next EP will be 'Is It What It Seems - Gold' dropping May 12th. Michael wanted a countdown timer for each EP, so you can thank him for an easy way to track the release!
Is Zach related to Dylan McDermott?
Zach doesn't like to talk about it but he was actually Dylan's stand-in for all of his shirtless scenes for 6 years. Then he picked up his first drum stick and his future was forever altered.
What are the lyrics in the song 'Haunt Me' about?
That song started out as concept track about the Netflix series 'Stranger Things'. All of us are 80's kids that grew up watching E.T. and The Goonies - so we obviously were big fans of the show. Spoiler alert, but we noticed that one of the main characters (Mike) seemed to have a subtle love-interest in Eleven, but that never seemed to reach a conclusion by the end of the first season. In 'Haunt Me' we wanted to explore what Mike may have been thinking about Eleven after she disappeared on the finale. I think we wanted to paint this picture about Mike understanding she may in fact be the monster, both in theory and intrinsically. We also wanted to explore how he might have resolved that understanding and may have been ok with the fact she was a monster - Chris, Michael and I landed on lyrics that I think articulated that well with the lines "Maybe this love's a lie but I don't mind if you want me, you can send chills that ride up and down my spine, baby, haunt me.". Hats off to our producer for helping us capture some insanely awesome 80's textures for the track that are both haunting and reminiscent of the TV show.
How do you approach constructing a new album/ep opposed to previous projects? How does that affect your mindset towards songs on an individual level throughout the new project(s)?
We didn't initially plan on releasing 'Is It What It Seems' as multiple EPs. We had been in and out of the studio for the past couple of years working towards a full length record. One month we'd write and record a couple of songs and then come back several months later to write and record a couple more songs. Each time we came in with different inspirations. Depending on what we were really into at the time or how we were feeling, drastically dictated the direction of the song. This caused each session to adapt an overall 'feel'. One session produced songs that were more groovy, one more rocky and guitar driven, another we heavily experimented with synthesizers. Once we put all these songs side by side, it only made sense that we'd group them together and release them as four EPs. Like four robotic lions forming one giant mech that is 'Is It What It Seems'. As to the second part of the question, it definitely kept things fresh and interesting. Whether we were in the control room messing with different synth sounds or huddled in a circle full-band jamming off of a killer guitar riff, each session we went in and tried something differently and I think it allowed us to produce the best songs that we have ever created in the history of this band.