You may recall that my husband, who just so happens to be the coolest musician in the world, has just released his newest album, The Invisible Audience. Today I thought I would interview him about his new release.
Maria Rose: I guess I will refer to you as EK in this interview as that is your music name. Can you share the basic stats about your new album, The Invisible Audience?
EK: The record has 11 tracks that were all recorded within this past year (except one song). It was recorded in several states including Montana, Colorado and Wyoming as well as a couple of tracks in England. I have a couple of British vocalists, some Canadian rockers and you! I feel like Paul Simon doing some sort of global unity project. Okay, maybe that was stretching it, but I did have fun working with all the musicians on the record.
Maria Rose: Can you tell us a bit about your musical background?
EK: I joined elementary band as a percussionist in 5th grade and stuck with it all the way into college, so on one hand I'm a classically trained musician. On the other hand I've been in rock bands since I was 14. Punk, surf, indie, metal, electronic and even cover bands have been pretty steady in my life over the past 15 years. I guess the combination of all of that formed my sound on the solo records.
Maria Rose: Please tell us what the intention is behind this album and how it came to be.
EK: The term "The Invisible Audience" refers to the notion that artists can fall victim to creating something they think their audience will enjoy. The result is an attempt to please an audience that doesn't exist. That's never good because the product isn't sincere. My album is an attempt to not let outside opinions about my past records influence the sound and style on this album. The result is the most diverse group of songs on a single album that I think I've ever done.
Maria Rose: How does this album differ from other works you've released?
EK: Live drums! After nearly a decade it's my first ever non-electronic album. It's more of a traditional rock record. Bass, drums, vocals, guitar, keyboards and piano. In the past it was more programming, drum machines, samples, synths, etc. Also, like I said earlier, everything was recorded in the past year which is huge for me. I usually have albums that are more like compilations because the songs were written years apart and clumped into one collection. On my new album it's self-contained. The collaborations with other musicians is also a big first!
Maria Rose: What track is your favorite and why?
EK: Oh man. I just read a quote from David Lynch answering the same question about his movies. He said something like, "A good parent never favors one child over the other." On this album each song is almost a different genre so I can't really compare them. It depends on which mood I'm in. If I'm feeling down I'll like the depressing song or if I'm feeling happy I'll like the upbeat song. You get the idea.
Maria Rose: This album does have a lot of diversity. After listening to it I feel as though I've taken a little tour through your mind. The song A Well Traveled Ghost in particular is very different for you. How did you come to that style and was it difficult to let your hair down and do something out of your comfort zone?
EK: It felt like a trip back in time. When I released my first album back in 2001 it was over-the-top experimental. Since then I've refined my sound and I've been hesitant to take risks. Back to your last question, A Well Traveled Ghost would probably be one of my favorites because of that reason. I really wanted one more song written in 6/8 for the album so I picked up my bass guitar. I wrote it in about 15 minutes. It was the last song written for the album. It just came out of nowhere! Sometimes that happens and I just have to ride with it. It's rare, but always welcomed.
Maria Rose: As you mentioned you have three different guest singers on this album. Tell my readers how you found your collaborators and a bit about the process you used to work with people from as close as your own home to as far away as the other side of the globe.
EK: I was a big fan of these two British groups, The Electrilickers and Theoretical Girl. I had interviewed them both back when I used to interview people. I just went out on a limb and asked if they'd be up for lending their voice to a track. Amy from Theoretical Girl was just finishing up her debut record and getting ready to play Japan or something crazy like that so I was very surprised she said yes. I sent them the songs and the lyrics. I had them record their parts then send them back to me. We live in a great time! The other collaborations were Paul and Sarah from Two Year Touqe. That track was recorded all together back in Missoula, MT. The last collaboration was you! I just forced you to be involved on the record and you finally agreed to do it. In addition to your vocal part, the lyrics for track #3 are taken from a short story you wrote.
Maria Rose: I think the album artwork is really spectacular. How and why did you decide on this particular design? My readers might like to know that you did all of the design yourself.
EK: Thanks! This is definitely my favorite album layout so far. The cover is a photo of my grandfather from the 1950s. I didn't change anything which made it perfect for a cover! The back tray piece is a photo of my dad as a child jumping off a dock into a lake in New York. The inside artwork is a collage of my family from the 1950s as well as a portrait of me that you actually took a few years ago! The overall design is about the past and the connection between generations.
Maria Rose: You have total creative control of your album from start to finish. Do you enjoy the process or do you just do it out of necessity?
EK: Both. Sometimes I love letting other people do the hard work. Studios are expensive, but not always worth it. It depends on the sound I want. With bands I'm in I like studios, but for my solo stuff I like doing it myself. It's been that way for so long that I couldn't imagine recording a solo record in someone else's studio (although I'd like to have access to their equipment)!
Maria Rose: Why did you take such a long break in writing new material?
EK: I was burnt out, uninspired and was focusing more on my film and photography. I didn't want to force another album. I knew it would come eventually. I'm glad I waited because the end result feels right.
Maria Rose: Where can people buy this album?
EK: Ha ha! Well, thanks for asking! You can buy cds and downloads through CDbaby or you can do the itunes thing. It'll be available in a bunch of other places soon also.
Maria Rose: Anything else you want to share?
EK: I'm a dad! My baby is insanely cute and my wife is smokin' hot!
Maria Rose: How does it feel to be the coolest musician in the world?
EK: Very similar to being the coolest dad in the world.
Maria Rose: Thanks for the interview. I love you.
EK: Thanks dear. I love you too and if any of your readers actually made it to the end of this interview then you have very dedicated followers! You should do something special for them.