Tommy: Two days.
We recorded in two nights and we mixed it in a week. The first record
was recorded in three days and mixed in like three weeks because of a
lot more post-production. With this record, everything was performed live
and Gabe got the sounds as we recorded it, so when it came down to mix,
there wasn't much left to do.
Brian: Our heads, our whole vibe was together
in the same place aesthetically, sonically, musically. Our first one was
sort of scattered, this new one is way tighter. Everybody was on the same
Was that based off of the natural growth
of the band?
Tommy: That's just the band that rehearses every
Monday night for a couple of years.
Jared: And I do think this second album, in terms
of the sound as a whole, the Ethiopian Jazz influence comes through a
lot more and that's a pretty dark sound. The scales are pretty dark and
it gives it that mean vibe.
Tommy: If things get too happy in the studio,
we're like 'fuck it'.
Brian: We're into dark heavy grooves.
So with the cover of "My Girl,"
how do you approach a song like that with respect while still establishing
a fresh sound?
Tommy: That song is actually really simple. We
love Motown, we love Smokey Robinson. So this idea has been kicked around
for sometime and everyone had this idea, even the Dap Kings, and nobody
ever did it. So we were in rehearsal and we were trying to figure out
a cover song for the record. So we did "My Girl," and instead
of playing it major we played it minor, that's it. Then we took the lyrics
and the melody and put it on the horn.
Brian: Yeah, give it enough to make it dark and
rough, and give it some teeth.
What about the song "Chicago Falcon"?
Tommy: We were given this CD with all these Bollywood
songs on it; Bombay Connection the record label, they just put out a double
LP. Well, I was on tour in Europe with the Dap Kings and I spent the night
in this guy's apartment who worked for this Dutch label and he played
this Bollywood stuff and I bugged out. It's like Bollywood Blaxploitation.
So, we kept in contact and he was telling me he wanted to put together
a 12 inch with modern bands covering these songs to help promote the record.
He gave us a CD to listen to and we sat around rehearsal together and
listened to every single one and we tried three or four and "Chicago
Falcon" worked the best.
Brian: It's called "Chicago Falcon"
because at the beginning of the song there's this snippet of this Bollywood
movie of this spy dude saying, 'Calling Chicago Falcon, *dit* *dit* Chicago
Falcon,' some shit like that. We couldn't call it by its original name;
it would have wrapped around the CD cover.
So with this album you guys seem to avoid
the sophomore slump, what is it that keeps you going and keeps things
Tommy: Well, we're really hard on each other.
If we all don't agree that it's dope then it doesn't make the cut.
Brian: We came into stride with the second one.
The first one was sort of bumbling around, some of them were just studio
Jared: Yeah, some that we never played before.
Brian: Yeah, we never played some of these live.
I mean it was cool, but they're really not our shit. Every song on the
second album are songs that we love, songs that we play, songs that we
wrote, and songs that we still enjoy playing.
Tommy: Also, I tell bands that we rehearse every
Monday for years now and they're like, 'What? Every week?' Most bands
just come together, make a record, and don't rehearse unless they have
to. For us it's more like getting together and hanging out. So, we write
songs in that environment; a real chill environment and half the band's
drunk. Really I think it's just us getting together no matter what, regardless
of what's going on.
Did anyone at Daptone help reinforce that
type of environment?
Tommy: Dave and Neil gave the band a lot more
confidence. You can even tell in the early albums with the Dirt Rifles
everybody was kind of narrow and afraid, but that got us comfortable in
the studio working with them and by the time Budos came around we were
completely comfortable. Really though, it was just them liking us in the
beginning, that was huge for our confidence.
Their seems to be this momentum just bouncing
off of your answers, is this in prep for a Budos
Tommy: Yeah, you should hear what we're about
Jared: We don't want to change anything; we try
to keep things real simple with whatever we do whether it is the title
of our records or the album art work or writing songs together. We don't
want to make things complicated because I've been in a lot of bands where
people are really concerned with making complex songs with high concepts
and all this other shit, and the songs end up suffering as a result and
the whole group dynamic ends up suffering. We just want to keep doing
what we're doing, which is to keep getting together Monday nights, drink
beer, write songs, and having a good time. We've taken it this far where
we're going on tours and we've made two records already and we're well
on our way towards our third.
Brian: The third one is going to sound a lot
like our second one.
Jared: Yeah, in between our first and second
record I think we found our sound.
Tommy: I mean, I can't see another sound coming
in as strong as the Ethiopian influence. I just can't imagine it. It would
have to blow my mind.
Have you ever thought of going to Ethiopia
and trying to jam with them and absorb some of their culture?
Brian: That would be cool, I never even thought
Tommy: Yeah, that would be. Wow.
Jared: That would be an incredible trip, I'd
be down. I think everybody would be interested in doing it.