Photo by Kate Fink
If you’ve entered 2008 feeling somewhat underwelmed by the crop of new bands on the cards, you may at least find some solace in the fact that you’re definitely not alone. While the past few years have hardly thrown up a succession of life-changing masterpieces that our grandchildren will eventually study in music lessons at school, the class of 08 has so far plumbed new depths. Where are those choruses that engulf you like a spaceship’s tractor beam, transporting you to new emotional dimensions you never thought humanly possible? Where are those verses that simultaneously paint explosive mental images, while bringing forth a profound new sense of self-understanding? Where, more to the point, is a tune that’s more memorable than that fucking Natasha Bedingfield track that currently soundtracks the Pantene adverts and which enters my head as soon as my head hits the pillow.
Some people would have you believe that Matador’s latest baby, Ohio’s Times New Viking, hold the answers to all the above questions, and while that may be true, it seems some people are having trouble locating these incredible nuances beneath the intrusive layers of white noise and piercing high-end fizz that make up their production job.
Or as Chris Lombardi told us over the phone recently: “They sound like shitting in a tin can but there’s pop gems buried among it all.”
Vice: The songs on your new album sound like they might be cool, but listening to it actually stings your ears a bit because the production’s so bad. Why did you make it like that?
Jared Phillips (guitars):
It turned out that way ‘cos we record real haphazardly, and try and play as loud as we can. But we still like to try and write songs, we don’t want it to be complete noise.
Am I the first person to question the production techniques?
No, some people just don’t have the patience for us. If you search us online you’ll find about 800 different blogs saying what total shit we are.
Can you offer some advise to potential listeners that might help them get past the production and actually enjoy the songs?
I guess you could smoke some pot, or I mean, just keep listening, I guess.
Okay, or maybe they could just listen to some actual noise beforehand, so by contrast you guys seem like polished pop?
Yeah, sure. Just listen to some Harry Pussy before. Or maybe they could just form their own band and recreate our album with cleaner techniques.
That’s a good idea. If someone does that will you do your best to provide the relevant tablature and lyrics to them?
Yeah, sure. Why not?
How about if someone wants to copy your production, any tips?
We just don’t use many microphones, and the ones we do use aren’t very good. We just pretty much throw it all down and see what happens. Contrary to what it says on the blogs though, we don’t use a boombox. We have a reel-to-reel.