A Lull’s new album Confetti is out now, so we had them do our 18 Questions.
1. Who’s in the band?
Where do I begin? Ha. The 5 of us have been friends for many years and have all been playing music most of our lives. It only seemed natural and comfortable to play together. We all come from different musical backgrounds and I think that helps in writing.
2. How did the band end up forming?
Todd Miller and I had been in a previous band. That band had dissipated but it left the two of us wanting to continue writing and recording music. We didn’t have to worry about carrying over any previously conceived sound or style because we were starting fresh. After writing for a while and trying to see where we could take it, we asked our friend Mike Brown to add his unique guitar styling to it and we recorded what became our first EP, “Ice Cream Bones”. After that, we decided we needed to bring on more talent to achieve an even larger sound that realized we wanted. Ashwin and Aaron were both great drummers and our bands had played together in previous years. We all wrote and recorded “Confetti” together and I think the progression shows.
3. What was your first concert experience?
Honestly, I don’t remember my first concert experience. I have been playing in bands and such since I was about 15 (ha). So, yeah, memories get kind of blurred and its hard to remember anything frightening or exciting.
4. Did you grow up wanting to play music, or when did the whole making albums thing come about and how?
Oh, ya. I grew up in a musical household. My dad has been playing drums since I can remember, and before that. I’ve always been surrounded by it. Being a 10-year old kid with my dad having jam sessions in the basement, etc. It was fun growing up around all kinds of music. Got to hear Faust, Captain Beefheart, Zappa, Captain Beyond, Gentle Giant, T Rex and the like at a very young age.
5. What are your New Years Resolutions?
I didn’t make any this year because I just end up breaking them
6. How do your songs come about?
Well, it’s a bit unconventional. We all agree that a powerful beat was what needed to be at the forefront of most of our new record. A lot of times, we would sit around playing different drums together to a metronome to sort of figure out individual patterns and track from there. Each song had a different approach. A lot of the songs started with drums, then a bass line, then Mike and I would try to make our guitars sound as least guitar-like as possible. We’d add clarinet, saxophone, trumpet, trombone, all kinds of different things to achieve the sounds we wanted. Then we’d fuck those sounds up. Ha. Vocals, at first, weren’t something that we considered until we absolutely had to do them. For all of the songs, I tracked my vocals individually and alone. Gave me a lot more time to experiment with how my voice sounded, the different “faces” I could get out of it. I would kind of sit there and think, ‘an opera singer would be great right here’, and since then I just decided to not worry about he conventions of how your voice is supposed to sound. Of course, there is continuity in all the lead vocals, but harmonies and layers were something that were SUPER important to me. So I got to take liberties with those. It was actually pretty liberating to finally get comfortable with doing what it took to get the right sound we wanted. I stopped thinking about how my voice should sound and started focusing on what it does sound like and where I could take it.
7. Have you ever thought about writing differently? Like maybe write the instruments around the vocals.
Yes. It’s something that I think we could benefit from for our next releases. It’s almost completely different from what we did for this record. But, in most cases, a lot of the instrumentation came after I had completed vocals.
8. What qualities should a successful label or manager have?
Communication. Following through. We’ve been fortunate to have worked with people who really believe in us and make things happen.
9. What’s the scariest thing that has ever happened to you in your life?
Ha, well, I fell off of my bike when I was a kid and landed flat on my face and one of my front teeth jammed up inside my gums. That was pretty scary. I actually fell on my face twice when I was younger too. Haha. Other than that, I put my mom’s car in neutral when I was about 6 when she had run into my grandma’s house for a minute and I started rolling backwards down the driveway. Oh and I almost forgot about this – one summer aftertnoon, probably when I was about 10 or 11, I killed a wasp in my neighbors yard. Little did I know, there was a nest right above me and about 6 or 7 more wasps came down, started stinging me and continued to on the run home. Ha. Rough.
10. Personally what do you think the most powerful part of music is: lyrics, the music, or live show? Why?
All of it. You can’t have one without the other for it to be great. Great lyrics don’t really hit me without a great song behind them. And same goes for a live show. They all go hand in hand.
11. When you play shows are you ever intimidated or awkward with the audience? Do you have any experiences you can tell us about?
Not really. I’ve been doing it long enough. Nerves always set in, I think. But its not something that effects my playing really. Unless I have been drinking too much. Which is rare live, but I’ve been known to say something’s that I still get mocked for by my bandmates. Can’t live it down!
12. When you are writing new songs, do you write with the goal of making a whole cohesive album? Or do the songs just come out, and some just go together better than others?
I think we all had a vision for how we wanted “Confetti” to sound. A lot of it had to do with what we were listening to at the time. I think albums are weird that are made of songs that just feel like they are a “collection” of songs. Like there wasn’t a concise idea going into it. Not a huge fan of concept albums either, but there’s a different between concept records and records with songs that just all sound like they belong together.
13. If you could re-record, or re-write any song of yours what would that song be?
Hmmm. “Weapons For War” probably, to be honest. We had written and recorded that song so long ago, I wonder what we would do differently with it.
14. What’s the worst place you have ever played a show at?
West Virginia! I don’t remember the name of the bar, but there was literally no one there but the band we played with. I was so over it that as soon as we got done with the show, I got comfortable in some pajamas and prepared for the drive back to Chicago. It was the last show of the tour, but man.
15. Who was your first crush and what was it like to feel that way for the first time?
I honestly don’t remember her name. It was in kindergarten. I don’t remember the way it made me feel. Goofy I guess? But I guess like any kid who has a crush on a girl in kindergarten. Ha.
16. What do you guys have planned for the future?
Touring. Writing more new music. Hopefully some EP’s before the year is over. Playing a few festivals this spring, including SXSW. Should be fun.
17. What music do you listen to when you are having a bad day?
Sad bastard stuff. Mogwai “Rock Action” mostly. Anything slow, murky. That record though is their best and will forever be one of my favorite albums of all time. There’s a lot of depressing music out there so its not hard to find it.
18. If you had your life to live over again, what one thing would you change?
I’d be smarter about some things. But so far, I’ve been doing pretty well. I haven’t given anyone any diseases. So, I think I’m good. ☺