Q: Let’s start by talking about your new album Pennied Days. How do you feel you have evolved or transformed as artists since Colored Emotions? How much would you say you experimented with this new record?
A: I would say we have progressed a great deal since our first album, Colored Emotions. Firstly, as a singer my voice has become more refined in the tracks. The vocal layers and harmonies are much more pronounced in the second album. It’s a very vocal record for me. I experimented a lot with harmonies and layering my voice. Sometimes there are 5 of me at once. I think having the vocal so forward in the mix shows a great deal of progress. Not that I don’t still get cringy when I hear my voice, but the first album’s vocals are very heavy on the reverb and quite buried in the mix. This second record’s vocals are much more pronounced, while still maintaining that spacey vocal tone we dig.
As far as songwriting goes, I think the majority of the Pennied Days material was initial composed on a piano or a synthesizer. I got way more into keyboard tones and playing keys during the writing of this second record.
The instrumental arrangements are still densely layered, but seem to be more refined in terms of how they are mixed- as in not too many things going on at the same time as we had in our previous record.
Q: Streaming services like Spotify and Pandora have become a big part of the music industry. How do you feel about these advances in music distribution? Do you think they ultimately help or hurt?
A: It’s really just the way things are these days, which is not to say that I don’t prefer hard copies of albums, but I think everyone streams whether it be Youtube, Spotify, or Apple music, Pandora, etc… It’s very convenient if you think about it, but it also makes a lot of things more disposable. Focus on the quality of the music and worry about the consumption aspect later is what I think. For smaller artists the streaming can be quite beneficial to getting one’s music out to the wider public. As far as royalties and things go, we might be getting fucked, but with illegal downloading not paying artists anything at all, it’s still nice to get a little something from streaming sites.
Q: What’s it like being at Domino Records?
A: Domino is great. All the people we’ve meet thus far have been very pleasant to work with. It’s nice being able to contact the label when there are concerns. Everyone is reachable and seems to genuinely care about their artists. It’s also nice having the album come out in Europe and all over the world. We haven’t been to the UK yet, but it’s kinda mind blowing to think the record physically exists outside the US.
Q: You all are about to go on a big US tour starting on April 14th in Minneapolis, MN. How does it feel being back on the road, what did you miss the most?
A: We love touring, we are all super psyched. The thing I miss the most is being in a new town every day. Just moving everyday, seeing new people, places, and things. Not being stuck, ya know? If a night or day didn’t go well, just know tomorrow you’ll be gone and on to a new place.
Q: The media has been plastered with musicians and celebrities threatening to leave the country if Trump wins the presidency. What are your thoughts on this uproar?
A: Trump is nuts. It’s crazy to think that he has gotten as far as he has because people actually believe in his political platform, and those folks and their ideologies ain’t going away if he doesn’t win. They will probably just crawl back into the woodwork…I don’t think I will leave though, I don’t know where I would go. There are always going to be crazy motherfuckers hanging around, just got to deal with em…
Q: It is visible in your sound and musicianship you are inspired by some of the greats – Todd Rundgren and Paul McCartney to name a few – but are there any influences you had which would surprise people?
A: We really love a lot of the Curtis Mayfield stuff, 90’s Mariah is great, Sly and the Family Stone, Suicide, Allen Toussaint, Rihanna, Kendrick Lamar, Seals and Crofts, Blind Lemon Jefferson…the list could go on with influences that seem unusual or odd for our sound.
Q: Do you all have any rituals before you begin a practice or any traditions before performing live?
A: We usually like to imbibe a few beverages to take the edge off, a couple a long necks will go a long way if you are not in the mood that evening. Our drummer, is usually smoking on something before he starts touching the skins.
Q: In the lyrics of Pennied Days, we hear how it is so concerned with personal growth and self-awareness, which will obviously attach to listeners in a very meaningful way. But what did this record teach you through the process of making it, anything unexpected or shocking?
A: I realized that I hate my voice, but if you are going to stand out you have to embrace it, because it is the only thing that will help you stand out among the rest- no one else has your voice- there may be similarities, but there are always going to be people drawing similarities in order to understand or relate to the music, but no one can go to the local music store and buy your voice like they can with a certain guitar pedal or keyboard. It’s the one thing that helps distinguish the music.
I also, learned that I like to not fully like something, as it is in my nature to learn to love something in time and/or come to hate it; the growth of it all is very important. I change my mind a lot regarding music. I get sick on a lot of stuff. There were a few moments during the writing/recording process that I was unsure about, but I have come to enjoy. Very strange concept, maybe I will change my mind even about this, cuz after all I am basing this all on my fickle minded nature…Although the caveat I will give is that you must not HATE something to begin with and you must also trust those who you respect.
And stop by Domino Recording Co. for more releases from them.