Tuesday, August 4, 2009
Sputnik Monroe have posted a blog about the making of their "Great Depression Celebration" EPs...
"Ever since we first started playing shows, people have always asked us how we write our music, and about the process of how we make our albums. So this blog will explain a little about the road to making "We're Doomed" (The Great depression celebration part 1) and "The Celebration" (The Great Depression Celebration part 2).
First off, we have always taken the music making process pretty seriously, sometimes a little too much. I've always admired bands that put out a hundred songs in a year and then record twelve of them to make an album. And I've been even more envious of bands that write songs under the understanding that they will be played at parties or concerts as celebratory positive anthems to the night...to make people come together and dance and feel good. I love bands like this. But when it comes to writing music, I've always been a little selfish and I find I write to a personal mood or to tickle myself with producing art a bit differently, attempting to put importance on originality.
Music making has become this addictive, somewhat brutally honest way of life. I really believe that only original musicians can understand the relationship one has with music. The writing process was something that now decided my mood, my plans, and my being. I can't tell you how many friends I've lost or relationships have ended because I turned down invitations or cancelled plans in order to write music. I stayed poor in order to work less and have more time to write. Try coming up with a hundred excuses to miss work because you are into something so personally rewarding, a meaningless retail job can be forfeited under the knowledge that top ramen will be lunch and dinner until the next job. I've lived in living rooms on futons, and a small six by six foot self made bedroom with no sound isolation. I took trips to Mexico to be in total seclusion to write without having any distractions at times. I know it's not the point of being in a band, but for all it's loneliness and unnecessary obsessiveness, it was a complete joy to feel accomplished when an album is done.
After our first album(wake the Sleeping Giant - 2006), we wanted to tour, but our drummer at the time, Dave, had a full time job and didn't agree with the low budget plan we had to tour. So we had to split ways and spent the next few months searching, finding and working with Briar(drummer), all while writing new material and catching Briar up on an older album. We rushed to finish writing "The Great depression Celebration part 1" before the planned Nationwide tour and Josh Latham(friend, engineer, genius) joined the tour to play keys and to get a clear idea of the sound before he was to record us. The tour was rocky and we found ourselves playing in karaoke bars, christian centers, arcades, roller rinks and high schools. We lost a $1000 transmission and we were all broke. I begged the band to go home to record instead. They disagreed. I sucked it up and enjoyed the rest of the tour for what it was worth. New York was a treat. We came back and began recording a great album. Soon our van was stolen, Josh got seriously ill and had to finish the mixing in chronic pain...and in massachusetts, the economy fell, our credit cards began to collect high interest, and George Bush was still an asshole. But we finished, what we later called "We're Doomed" because Josh is a steady champion, trumpet players Derrick and Dave are heros, and because of the volunteering of friends houses to record in. Reviews were great, labels contacted us with interest and we began to start booking shows in better venues until...
Briar(drummer) decided to quit the band. For anyone who has lost a drummer, you know it's the most difficult thing to just take in stride. You now have to audition about forty drummers and take time away from progressing forward to look for a new drummer. Shows stopped. Writing time was stripped. We couldn't find anyone who was able to play with the dynamics we demanded, so.... hello drum machines. Pat(bassist) and I began messing around with beat machines and software to put rhythms to our new pieces. These pieces became pretty difficult for human drummers to play. So now, good drummers who came in to audition, looked mind boggled and unwilling to try some of the beats. Then came Mike Schneider(drummer), yet another hero in Sputnik Monroe's life. Mike came in with a completely open mind, a positive attitude, and a passion to play anything, no matter how much time it took. The next months were filled with making these beats humanly possible and pulling together songs that were waiting for a human drummer. Josh jumped on to record the new album, the trumpet heros came, and Part Two was recorded.
The album is titled "The Celebration" (The Great Depression celebration part 2) to label the joy that is with us for being able to get through all the bumps and accomplish, somehow, what we set out to accomplish. This album is something different for us, and every element of this project holds a great personal relationship to our path to create it."
Listen here: http://www.sputnikmonroe.com/thecelebration
Posted by Dan Goldin at 12:31 PM