Progress and the Benefits of Self-Doubt*
So it’s official. The track list for the Untitled full length album is finalized and we begin production at the beginning of April. Not entirely sure how to put into words the relief that comes with every step we take on this project. It’s been a constant battle within ourselves to select the best of the best and only what makes sense for the album. We started with 22 tracks we were considering and cut it down little by little. Some songs were left off because they just weren’t good enough. Others, just didn’t follow the direction of the album or felt out of place. Pre-production is always my least favorite stage of making a record. Tiny parts of your soul fall to the cutting room floor and may never see the light of day again. Then again, some of the songs we chose were written years ago. In one case, over a decade has passed since the ink dried on the page. So maybe there’s hope for those tunes yet. Time will tell.
The scariest part of making a record is how the audience will receive it. I’ve always said you have to be a strange sort of sadist to be a musician. Pulling your skeletons from the closet and into the light where you can more closely examine them is liberating on one hand and socially terrifying on the other. As the light reflects off the imperfect bones, you are keenly aware that it does not discriminate and only shine on your eyes. Everyone who hears your words is suddenly brought in to understand you a little more. And for guarded people like myself, that is torture.
That fear comes from a very real fault of mine. I hate the idea of failure. It is part of who I am at my core to assume nothing will go well. That character flaw however, allows me an advantage. Because I start with the premise that every performance and every recording will be shit, I am driven to work harder and harder to fight back. To claw and bite and gnaw my way to making a bad thing into a great thing. Before a big release or event, I am sick to my stomach in the days leading to it. It’s only when I step on stage that adrenaline kicks in and for 45 minutes to a couple hours, the world is at peace and nothing can touch me. In any case, for now, I am overjoyed with the album as it is forming. I know a time will come when I doubt it. When I pick it apart and make up my mind on all the things we should have done differently, but for now I am relieved to have this list in my hands. For now, it is perfect and precious. I’ll let you decide in Spring of 2017 if that was bias.
Reflections at the End of a Year.
When looking back at 2015, it’s hard to not feel a deep and profound sense of pride. We achieved many things we were beginning to think we never would, took significant steps and opened our hearts and minds to new ways of doing things. The following are some reflections on the ways we have grown, the changes we have made and what those things mean for the future of this group.
While Kyle has been beating the drums for us for well over a year now, his place in this band has met a significant mile marker as he began writing and composing with us. His style and spirit has fully integrated and melded with his band mates and we are tighter and more in sync than we have been at any other point in this band’s history. Finding a drummer is hard work. There were so many great prospects back in 2014 when we were in need of a replacement, but none that so fluidly understood the stylistic nuances that have always made this band what it is.
2015 also saw some changes in personnel on this business side with our hiring of our manager, Ben. Before Ben, booking was double-edged sword. In our hometown, Indianapolis, we had achieved a great deal of success in our performances. We were booking our own shows, drawing huge crowds and gaining new fans every time we played. However, the few times we dipped our toes in the out-of-state-show waters, we were losing money and, worse, playing to nearly empty clubs. His expertise and wisdom has guided us to a whole new world of fans across the Midwest and, looking forward, we have big plans to go across the continental United States in 2016 with shows as far west as Texas. Ben has been such a blessing in our lives and kept this whole thing moving forward. We can’t wait to share what this partnership will bring to you all in 2016.
While we are likely to be annoying the crap out of all of you with details of our upcoming full-length release, it’s worth noting that we released two firsts in 2015. We launched a new EP, ‘Songs of War’ in conjunction with our 5 year anniversary and with that, came the launch of our very first vinyl. The process of releasing a vinyl is one of the most tumultuous tasks an independent band can take on. Test pressings, duplication layouts and the months it takes to actually produce the final product are enough to drive anyone mad, but all in all, it was a deeply satisfying experience to place the needle on the smooth black disc and hear your finished work sound like that. It was only in that moment that we realized how much of a difference in quality there is between the digital norms of this century versus the meticulous, inefficient and detailed methods of the last.
We are so very proud of where we have come from. We have never compromised our values or our passion for this place we call home. Through turmoil and controversy, we can honestly look at ourselves and say we are proud of the decisions we have made and the manner in which we faced our challenges. But the road will continue to beckon us forth. Beyond the horizon is a distant and foreign land and we look forward to venturing forth towards it.
But, in the words of Robert Frost, “I sha’n’t be gone long.—You come too.”
Great news! We are officially in pre production for our next full-length album. Because of the magnitude of this project, it will take some time, but as my father used to say, “There are three ways to do things. Good. Fast. Or cheap. You can pick two, but not all three”. We’re currently sifting through a couple dozen songs that we have compiled for the record to pick the right ones for this project. We have brought on producer, Darren Cooper (who worked with us on VOYAGER) and will begin tracking in February of 2016. I can honestly say I’ve never been so excited for a new release. We have big plans for this record and for the support tour that will follow its release.
In the mean time, keep up with our spring/summer 2016 and fall 2016 tour dates that will be announced in the coming weeks by following us on facebook, instagram and twitter. We’ll see you all along the way!