Did the process of recording your
first album teach you anything about songwriting itself?
It definitely brings a new awareness of what’s
at stake. Like thinking of a new countermelody in the studio is
going to cost you ten thousand dollars! Unless you’re some
direct descendant of J.P. Morgan, you’d better have the whole
thing thought out beforehand. Otherwise, you may be selling records
and never making a living. You really have to have all the parts
of your song worked out in advance.
And what did you learn about the
process of recording?
It’s a different work ethic. I’m
into playing live because of the immediate response—you play,
people clap. When you’re recording, it’s like, “Yeah,
that felt really good! Okay, let’s do it another 20 times,
just to make sure you really got it.” Just because it felt
good while you were playing doesn’t mean that it came off
great the entire time. It’s also good to take a couple days
off and listen to your stuff again with fresh ears. If you’re
listening to your song in the studio 200 times a day, you’re
not going to have the most realistic perspective on how it sounds.
You may have just destroyed it and not even know.
You’ve been using a Yamaha
MOTIF8 for a while now. How’s it working out for you?
It sounds great! It really sounds like a
piano. We used it on the record, especially for some of the electric
piano sounds, like the amped Wurly. The keyboard feels really great,
and you can tweak the sounds quite a bit, which is excellent.
Have you been using it much live?
Are you kidding me? I’ve been destroying
it! No, not really—I play hard, but it holds up great. With
a piano, the way it’s mic’ed, you have to play so hard
to cut through, sometimes my fingers would bleed. But playing the
Motif, it’s a lot easier—I don’t injure myself.
It’s a great board.
The record’s coming out in
July. Are you stoked?
Oh man, I’m so excited! And petrified.
You know, it’s like anxiety and bliss all wrapped together.
I spent a lot of time making sure I wasn’t misrepresenting
myself with this record and these songs, and now we’re finally
turning it loose. It’s an amazing feeling.