US band Tullycraft will release their new record Lost in Light Rotation this March. Following their 2007 release Every Scene Needs A Center, their new album is produced by Phil Ek (The Shins, Band of Horses, Built to Spill, The Halo Benders, The Shout Out Louds, Fleet Foxes, The Walkmen). Aesthetica speaks to the band about the new album, their relationship with Ek and their future plans.
A: You sound re-energized on Lost in Light Rotation, do you think your three year hiatus has been beneficial?
Corianton: Our batteries are recharged. Our tazers are set to SHRED.
Chris: I think we’ve just taken our time to let these songs develop naturally. I suppose we still have that innate Tullycraft bratty punkiness that we’ve never outgrown.
Jeff: “taken our time to let these songs develop naturally?” Hey, who let this old hippie in here? This hiatus was/is essential. No joke, I’ve tried to quit this band many times, but apparently this is the only alternative.
Sean: Yeah, it was good to step back from the band for a while. A band is a complicated relationship.
A: How did the Yazoo cover Bad Connection come about?
Sean: I was really into Depeche Mode and Yazoo when I was younger. Then I discovered Beat Happening, Jonathan Richman and The Pooh Sticks and that sent me down an entirely new musical path. I still hold a place in my heart for the great electro pop bands and I knew at some point Tullycraft had to cover a Yazoo song. I’m glad we finally did.
Jenny: I had nothing to do with deciding to cover this song, besides throwing my vehement support behind the idea! I have a deep and abiding love for Yaz/Yazoo. Even though Alison Moyet and Vince Clarke are not from the United States, I still consider them to be national treasures!
A: Phil Ek (The Shins, Fleet Foxes) mixed the album. What do you think he added to your distinctive sound?
Jeff: He added little bit of reverb on the vocals. No! Wait, pepper. He added pepper.
Sean: Phil was very good about shooting down our terrible ideas. If you allow yourself, it’s easy to get carried away in the studio. If I suggested putting an effect on a vocal to make it sound like I was singing through a bull horn, he would say: “What is this, a high school band?!” That’s when I knew my idea was dumb.
Corianton: Yeah, he turned the “suck” way down.
Chris: Phil is a careful listener who was able to take some of the scraps we recorded and help filter it into a listenable whole. We tend to take a “press record and go” attitude when we are tracking things so having those extra ears on it in the mix is important. Phil is critical, fun, articulate and quick. It was great to work with him. I think we were all somewhat surprised Phil not only agreed to help us but actually seemed to enjoy it!
A: Is there anyone in the current music scene you would like to collaborate with?
Sean: I think collaborating with Darren Hanlon, Allo Darlin’, or Eddie Argos would each be amazing!
Jenny: Well, we do subtlety reference a Prince song on one of the new album tracks.
Sean: It’s true. Although, I think you may have to be a true Prince fan to catch the reference.It’s a deep cut.
A: Has the way you approach songwriting changed since your first album?
Sean: For sure! Honestly, when Tullycraft first started I didn’t really know how to write songs. I was just making it up as I went along. Actually, I’m sort of still doing that. But over the years songwriting has become more of a group effort. On this new album I would bring in a song idea and Jeff (our drummer) would critique it. He might say: “Keep the chorus and re-write the verses – the verse melody doesn’t work.” Then I would go home and re-write the verses and introduce the re-worked version at our next rehearsal. It went on like this for a few months. Jeff became our very own Rick Rubin with his feedback. Honestly, when I introduce a song it’s truly a skeleton. Chris, Cori, Jenny and Jeff are the ones who bring a song to life. Each of them is amazing and incredibly talented.
Jeff: Sean, you should take that answer home and re-work it.
A: Do you have any personal favourites on the new album?
Corianton: ALL of them. I’m so proud of this record!
Sean: I’m still too close to the album to pick favorites. I’m sure in a year (or so) when I’m feeling less invested I’ll be able to step back and listen to it more critically. At the moment I honestly like all of the songs.
Jenny: Agreed! I love that there are songs that are very Tullycraft, and some that are a little bit of a departure.
A: What does the future hold for Tullycraft?
Sean: I’m not sure. Creatively, we seem to be at a good place right now. I’d like to record some more songs while the iron remains at least warm. Each of us have very busy personal lives, so it’s not always easy to find time for the band.
Corianton: 1. A casino tour or the Northern Ukraine. 2. Tullycraft being used to sell Subarus. 3. Helping Chelsea to reunite with her cousins (aka Vicky and the Noise).
Jeff: Breakfast most likely. Maybe coffee and a cruller?
Interview by Matthew Swain
Tullycraft, Lost in Light Rotation, Out 4 March on Fortuna POP!
Album cover courtesy of Tullycraft.