The Buddha Den

Everything you wanted to know about the Dayton music scene and more but were afraid to ask

Monday, April 27, 2009

INTERVIEW: The Breeders (Part 1 of 5)

...last week, The Breeders dropped their second release in as many years, the Fate to Fatal EP. Now, for most bands, this would be a non-issue, but for The Breeders to issue two releases so quickly is notable. Somehow, we were able to arrange an in-person interview with Kim and Kelly Deal. For us, this was a very big deal as we're very much in love with their work over the years. So, on a grey Tuesday afternoon, we talked about, well, a lot of things. Some relating to The Breeders, music, and Dayton. Some things we have no idea how they came up. Rather than drop the whole thing on you at once, we thought we'd break it up into slightly more reasonable chunks. So, today we give you Part 1 of 5 of The Buddha Den Interview with The Breeders...

[ed. note: upon arrival we talked for about 15 minutes about being a musician growing up in Dayton, etc. Eventually, we started recording. This is where the tape rolled...]

Kelly: We’re doing All Tomorrow’s Parties in England in May. We’re having Carrie Bradley come over. So, since we’re having her come over, we’re gonna do “Drivin on 9”, but she violin on a couple other songs, so we’re starting to relearn those and get them up and going. “Do You Love Me Know” is a great song, she played violin on that. So we thought we’d play “Do You Love Me Know?” this Saturday [at Shake It Records for Record Store Day]. It’s hard because it’s not the whole band, so OK Kim, you’ve got play that one guitar part, you have to play that. I can play this part, that part we don’t really need that part, but what about the bass playing during the solo? So it’s interesting how to break it down to make it interesting acoustically without drums and bass.

Kim: It is weird, some songs lend themselves to just singer/songwriter playing on acoustic with harmony or something. Some songs like if you don’t have the bass line, the song doesn’t make sense anymore.

Kelly: “Do You Love Me Know?” sounds really good as a two-piece, soon-to-be-three-piece. So when we went on tour last year, we found on Craiglist, we found a utility player. She sings, she plays some guitar, she does some keyboard. Jose Medeles, our drummer, was living in L.A. at the time and he just went on Craigslist because we were looking for somebody. We talked to a couple people and one girl was interested, but she couldn’t really do it. We talked to Rachel Hayden. Do you know Rachel Hayden? She was in That Dog and her dad is Charlie Hayden, jazz guy. She was really nice, but her guitar wasn’t as good as her vocals, she’s more of a bass player. So Jose just went online, checked out Craigslist, and that’s how we found our person that we tour with, Cheryl [?]. So she’s gonna come out from L.A. and do some songs with us this Saturday, so we’re excited about that.

The Buddha Den: So how did you get in with Shake It? Did they just call you up and ask?

Kim: The studio where we did our hand-screening, for the [Fate to Fatal] EP covers, the guy who owns that works Fridays at Shake It Records. He said ‘You guys should do an in-store at Shake It Records.’ It was like, ‘OK, ask them if they’d want us to.’ Then he asked them, and I started to talking to Darren, he owns it with his brother, Jim. They’re real nice guys.

Kelley: I think we had to go down and check the artwork, because the hand-screening thing we’re doing. So, this guy works at Wire and Twine in Oxford. They’re kinda like a t-shirt place, kinda art think tank almost in a weird way. He did the Obama [poster], Chris Glass did. You read about that?

TBD: Yeah.

Kelly: He designed our record cover, too. They had done up a prototype and we had went down there to check it out, to Shake It Records.

Kim: They showed us where we could stand, if we can get three people in there. I’m worried that we can’t get too much equipment. We just worked on it today.

Kelly: I know.

Kim: I don’t wanna show up with just an acoustic.

Kelly: No no.

Kim: I think that they want us to go through a PA, which means we be a little louder.

Kelly: I don’t wanna go on a PA.

Kim: Well, that or we have to be through amps.

Kelly: Right.

Kim: We’re gonna need microphones for our voices.

TBD: That’s usually what they do down there.

Kim: I’ve asked about it, but I haven’t seen anything. We don’t have a drummer or a bass player or anything like that. Just me and Kelly and the Cheryl girl.

TBD: You guys will be fine. They have a minimal PA.

Kim: I always getting pretty particular about it. It’s so easy to suck.

Kelly: It is. It is.

Kim: If you just let somebody put it through all of a sudden your voice sound like this [pinches nose to emulate nasally sound]. It’s just all you can hear.

Kelly: What are you gonna do?

Kim: When me and Kelly were playing like at Mick’s and stuff, not so much there, but when we were playing around at Ground Round and Joe’s (?) Fish House, we had our own PA we would bring with us and we would sit it on our grandfather’s… know…old people can’t use the bathroom so they have to use the potty chair? We used that and took the toilet seat out, and we had the frame and we used to put the PA on the metal frame and that’s what was our PA system. Our grandfather’s potty chair.

Kelly: Oh wait! I’ll go grab it, it’s in the car…

[Ed. Note] At this point in the interview, Kelly returned to her car and retrieved a photo of the PA system Kim just described…

TBD: So you’re playing at Shake It support of the new EP, Fate to Fatal, right? So, which considering it’s release date, considering your usual release schedule, it’s very quick. It’s very exciting. Mountain Battles just came out last Spring. So, what has changed in the work schedule that has allowed this to come out so quickly?

Kim: Nothing really changed, I don’t think. It’s only four songs, so it’s easier. I don’t know. We started writing them last summer. Then…

Kelly:…started recording…

Kim: In the fall, we finished the song “Fate to Fatal” in London. In September. And then we just got the other ones together. We went up to Albini’s to do “Chances Are”, the 4-track version of the “Pinnacle Hollow”. Then Ben came up to the basement to do the “Last Time” one.

Kelly: I think too that we knew we were doing ATP, so we thought ‘Oh, we should put a single together,’ since we had “Fate to Fatal” already tracked. It was like, ‘Ooh, we could put a 7” out.’

Kim: Then it’s like, ‘Really, we should put out more than two songs…’”

Kelly: It became, ‘We’ve got three songs. Should we put em all out?’”

Kim: Actually, an EP’s better with four songs on it…

Kelly: The we thought, ‘Alright, we’ll do the cover then, too.’”

Kim: Right, and that’s like 15 minutes of music. At first we weren’t even gonna do that. We were just gonna give it away. But honestly, through a download just one song, but I…if I knew how to give it away I wouldn’t know how to sell it. By the time I’d write…I still don’t know how to actually give a song away, other than just upload it.

Kelly: iTunes

Kim: Right. But how would you even know anyone was there?

TBD: I’ll show you how to do that. So, two of the four songs you did at your place. One is obviously more lo-fi and one is a little cleaner.

Kim: Which one is the lo-fi one do you think?

TBD: The last one, “Pinnacle Hollow”.

Kim: So here’s the thing: So we’re thinking we’re gonna give em away. I was still thinking we’re giving this away and it’s only going to digital. So it’s like, well I’m definitely gonna just Pro Tool it since it would be ridiculous to pay real money to actually to an analog studio because I can’t afford it because it costs too much to record when music is free. To record analog. My hobby of analog recording can’t be paid for anymore, unless I do 4-track. We did drive up one day to do the cover of “Chances Are”. We had gone up in December we had done the benefit that Steve and Heather [Albini] do for the Santa’s Children, they do some sort of benefit. Steve Albini’s wife person, she runs Second City and they do a benefit. Second City has all their improve people stay up for 24 hours straight and they raise money by auctioning off things through this 24-hour benefit fundraiser. Me and Kelly went up there and we performed through the 24 hours, they get Jeff Tweedy to do stuff a lot. So we were there doing that, the drive up Chicago isn’t that bad. And if it’s only a day, it wasn’t anything that we’d wrote, it was only acoustic, so it didn’t take that long to do. I think we turned around and came home. So that was the analog recording…but you know what? We did do an analog recording on this, “Fate to Fatal” we went to a real studio in London, England, but we were on tour. It took like three days to record and mix it. But you know, I swear, after that it, you know, was still kinda pricey. For giving it away, that’s still a lot of money to be putting in there. So then when we were thinking about giving it away, then that’s when it started going, ‘You know what? We’re just gonna have to go to the basement. Start doing it on Pro Tools, because if it’s gonna be given away first of all, that’s one thing ‘cause I can’t even afford it. Another thing is if it’s gonna be given away through a digital medium, why spend all the time to go analog when it’s only gonna be given away through an MP3 file in the first place? My stance did not make any sense anymore.

TBD: As far as being like pure analog right?

Kelly: We did end up doing a vinyl on this though, so it’s kind of a strange thing.

Kim: Oh yeah.

Kelly: Two analog, two digital.

Kim: But the analog feels more like it’s not actually for a musical collector, it feels more like they’re a toy collectors or comic book collectors. It’s just in the collector genre. It doesn’t really feel like it’s a purist-of -analog guy wanting to take it and listen to it off his vinyl player, it’s more just to have it as a collector.

TBD: Some people.

Kim: I don’t know.

TBD: Not me. If I buy something, I’m so broke so I don’t buy anything, but if I buy anything, I buy vinyl. I don’t spend money on digital anymore.

Kelly: You’re not gonna buy the CD either.

Kim: You know, that’s another thing. It’s not like I hated digital and I didn’t want it to replace CDs. CDs suck. I just like vinyl better.

Kelly: I like CDs. Cause of my car. I like playing music in my car…

TBD: But see now they make the turntables that convert vinyl to MP3s, so best of both worlds…

Kelly: In the car though, the MP3 player that you use with the cassette thing…

TBD: Just burn a CD.

Kelly: That’s true…

TBD: Send it to your iTunes and burn a CD.

Kelly: That’s true.

Join us again tomorrow for Part 2...

MP3: The Breeders "Fate to Fatal"



Anonymous jeremy said...

Yeah, so, you pretty much rule. This is the coolest thing to hit the internet in weeks!

12:52 PM  
Blogger Midwest to Question Mark said...

hell yeah!

4:14 AM  
Blogger Elias said...

Man I can't fricken wait for part two. The (mountain [haha]) battle rages on between Vinyl and Digital.
I'm very happy The Breeders are back but I really miss THE AMPS :( I saw them in concert in Los Angeles at the Troubador and it blew me away. One of the best indie rock shows I'd ever seen. I would really like to see them revist some of those songs. SO KELLEY DEAL, IF YOU'RE LISTENING....I LOVE YOU!

11:29 AM  
Blogger Elias said...

---edit. I meant The Kelley Deal 6000.

11:35 AM  

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