The Slideshow Effect – Q&A
Note: Questions concerning when we’ll be performing in specific cities are always a little tricky to pin down in the early stages of tour planning, however, we will definitely be spending as much time as we possibly can touring this release. I can say that we have some pretty involved tour plans for both North America and Europe around the time of The Slideshow Effect’s release on February 28th. More to follow.
Jared asks : What were the biggest challenges you faced in writing the album?
I think the biggest challenge we experienced in writing this record concerned just how we should grow into ourselves. I think it’s always tricky when you’re just starting out with a musical project because so much of what you make has been informed by the music you enjoy (picture all of those silly “DRUMMER WANTED:Must like Gwar and Care Bears” ads you see around town). For us, we quite liked bands like Broadcast, and Belle & Sebastian (at least I did, Denise was into hardcore) and so those sounds—such as effete vocal deliveries— were things that naturally found their way into our recordings. For our album we wanted to showcase more of “us”, and thus we had to break down exactly what we were and the place we want to be with this album.
Zebede asks: Is there going to be a photo album with it?
There are going to be a few different versions of the album. There will be the standard release, on vinyl and compact disc, which features a fantastic photo-collection insert of all-original photographs by Denise Nouvion. Denise selected 10 photographs that best-represented each track on the album, and included lyrics in the packaging as well. There will also be a limited “Loser Edition” (Sub Pop does this for all of their releases) which will contain the standard packaging along with a limited edition coloured vinyl. Finally, there will be an even more limited edition being sold exclusively at subpop.com which will come packaged with an actual photo album designed by Denise, which includes more of her photography. In short, lots of photographs and artwork are included with this release.
Shane asks: What made you guys change your sound?
I don’t think we changed our sound so much as gradually evolved into our current sound. When we started recording as Memoryhouse, we approached things a lot differently. I think over the course of two and a half years we’ve learned what works in our sound, and what doesn’t. Playing live had a big impact in shaping our sound, because I’m sure as many home-recording bands know, it’s very easy to get carried away with layers and effects. Playing live forced us to think about our writing and recording process a bit more, and make the material a bit better suited to perform.
Cynthia asks: What is your favorite song off the new album and why?
I think Denise and I (and everyone who worked on the record apparently) like “Punctum” the best. We were gearing up to bring 13 songs into the studio to just get a feel for how these songs would work in a proper recording environment. We had this one song, a somewhat Blondie-ish tune with a pretty absurd saxophone section which Denise really disliked and ended up veto-ing from being included on the album. Something had to go in its place, and regardless of everything we had tried, nothing seemed to feel right. I had a simple acoustic guitar phrase that I would mess around with from time to time (something I’d played for years but never really formed into anything) and Denise immediately took a liking to that so we developed it further. It ended up becoming a very natural fit for us, and it really took our sound in an interesting and unexpected direction.
Thom asks: 1. Evan and Denise’s favorite albums of 2011? 2. Where did you feel Memoryhouse was going when 2010 rolled over? How much has changed in that respect since then?
1.Denise really liked Alela Diane’s new record, as well as the new St. Vincent. I really liked Tim Hecker’s new album, as well as Adele and Feist’s records.
2. 2010 was pretty surprising for us. It was the first time we got to tour, which was challenging but ultimately very rewarding. It was all a pretty weird situation wherein I had no real way to gauge any of the events that were happening to us—no real sense of expectation or entitlement—thus everything turned out to be a very beautiful surprise. I think the thing that has really changed for us since then is that Memoryhouse went from being a hobby to a “job”, in a manner of speaking, and I feel quite blessed by that, even if it can get stressful at times.
William asks: What band or musician would you like to collaborate with in the future?
Ah, tough question. If Boards of Canada still existed, it’d be really neat working with them on something. I really like Flying Lotus as well, I’d really love to work with him. Finally, Max Richter.
Adam asks: Your latest single is more upbeat than your previous tracks/EP. What influenced the new pace?
It’s funny because aside from Lately, The Kids Were Wrong is our most-performed live song. Ever. We’ve been playing it since our very first show, up until this recent US tour. We’ve always liked up-tempo songs, I think the first song we ever released was actually a bit faster than “Kids”(I won’t reveal the title, it’s a corny song, but regardless, it’s available if you do some digging).
We’ve never commercially released any faster songs due to the fact that it just never quite fit with our releases. Because our releases were always on the shorter side of things, I felt that it would be too dissonant to interrupt the flow of the earlier releases by placing something up-tempo amidst the slower songs. The songs on The Years and Caregiver tended to elevate “mood” over “form”, thus an up-tempo number would feel too disruptive and forced.
Our LP however, has 10 songs on it, and I couldn’t tell you how exhausting it’d be for just about everyone involved if we had 10 verrrrry slowwwww songs on it, thus we worked hard to make sure the pace of the album is balanced between slower ballad-lite songs and peppier numbers.
Sophie asks: What made you change your sound on the new album?
This is similar to Shane’s question, but I think I can answer it in a different way. I think that one of the ways our sound has changed is that in the past we tended to sound a bit more meancholy, compared to say “The Kids Were Wrong”. Though there are certainly lots of melancholy moments on the new album, I think overall our outlook has become more hopeful.
Relating back to Thom’s question about what has changed for us since The Years was first released in 2010; we got to see parts of the world I never thought I’d be fortunate enough to visit, we signed to the most wonderful record label on the planet (I can’t overstate how much of a dream come true that was for me, both as a musician, and geek in the 90s), and we get to meet and connect with so many people who share a deep and personal connection with our music. So in short, we don’t have a lot to feel melancholy about these days, and I always want to keep the music we make “real” and true to life, even if that means occasionally letting the light in through the cracks (which is what “Kids” is about). I hope I answered that ok.
Tiffany asks: Have you guys ever considered scoring a porno?
The thought hadn’t crossed my mind, but I suppose if the opportunity were to arise I’d consider it!
@enchanterDown asks: Why the departure from your signature washed out sound?
I think we wanted to imbue our sound with more of a physical presence. Ethereal reverb-y stuff is all very beautiful and very enjoyable to listen to, though I think it’s just something we grew out of as we become more confident as musicians. Reverb can hide a lot of things—sometimes way too much—and I think Denise and I felt that we didn’t want to hide anymore.
Scott asks: When is it coming out?
February 28th, 2012.
Thank you everyone for participating. Enjoy your holiday!
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