Wednesday, February 15, 2012
Abandoned Pools Signs to Tooth and Nail, Fixes Your Macbook
It's about 8 in the morning. I have recently gotten out of bed and am still rubbing the sleep out of my eyes. The first sip of java has just hit my lips, my email is freshly opened, and I read, "Abandoned Pools Signs to Tooth and Nail Records Today."
Gulp. Rub. Rub.
This came as strange news to me for several reasons. For one, I thought Abandoned Pools was long gone. The last I had heard they released a record was 2005, which was basically the 90s. And in full disclosure the last I had listened to them was when 2001's Humanistic came out - great album, by the way, that if you've never heard, you should hear. Right now.
The second reason this was newsy to me was because in my interning years, indeed not long after Humanistic came out, I worked at Tooth and Nail and I haven't necessarily known the label to entertain many artists who aren't "fresh out the oven", if you know what I mean. I knew this must be a love affair of sorts. I had to know more.
And before we all dive into the juicy bits, I want to touch on one thing that was left unmentioned in the interview but was all too present as I started to dig into the story that morning. Frontman, Tommy Walter, and wife, Brie, had recently - very recently in fact - lost their baby daughter, Madeleine. I won't go into details because the story will literally shatter your heart, but keep these two in your prayers. If you want to read their story, Brie has been journaling about it here.
It's been a while since you've released a record. What have you been up to since 2005? Why now for releasing a new album?
I've been writing songs for this album for years but I really just needed a break from it for a while since my experience with Universal Records was not very satisfying. I did a few side projects, mixed and produced some albums, did some music for TV and worked for Apple as a 'Genius' (a job title with great expectations if there ever was one). I've always known that I would put out another AP album eventually. I have to credit my manager, Travis Szendrei, for encouraging me to make it happen finally.
I used to intern at Tooth & Nail and was really intrigued when I heard you're putting out Sublime Currency with them! Can you give us some background about your decision to work with T&N?
They're really enthusiastic and supportive. You can't put a price on that. I've had my ups and downs over my career, and at this point, they seem like the perfect fit for my mindset. It still means something to be on a label and have a company working with you.
I understand Abandoned Pools has always been a solo project for you, with you playing all the instruments on the recordings with the exception of percussion. Can you tell us about that process?
I don't play drums, so I do everything on my own at home and then go into a studio with an actual drummer (for this album Bryan Head and Daniel James shared the job). That's the way I made Humanistic. Armed to the Teeth was a little bit different. I formed a band to make that record, which caused a little bit of good tension between what was best for the song: my home production vs. the live studio production. You can hear that in the song 'Rabble' which has the live drums enter at the bridge. Everything before that is my programming. I'm happy with working they way I did originally. It's easier to keep the sound of the album focused.
Do you have plans to put a band together and take this album on the road for us? What has been your favorite experience playing a live show to-date?
I already have a live band and we've been doing shows locally. I'd like to do an extensive tour but it has to be under the right circumstances. My best experiences have been playing festivals. Usually it's just mayhem -- large, crazy crowds. And the cool thing is you get to meet a lot of other artists.
Humanistic is one of my all-time favorite albums and I listen to it a ton on my favorite streaming service, Rdio. (I also own the CD - it's packed away somewhere!) What are your thoughts on streaming services like Rdio and Spotify and the impact they are having on the music industry at large? For me, anything that helps get my music out there is a good thing. I'm not looking to get rich making music, I just like making albums. I've got a roof over my head, a great wife, so anything else is just a bonus.
I live in the Silicon Valley and am in touch with my inner (and outer) tech geek. Do you have a favorite app? I hate to disappoint, but my iPhone is ancient. I'm way overdue for an update so most apps on my phone just flail and crash. I stick to card games.
Oh! And can you fix my macbook? Gladly! I miss that job and I worked with great people. Sometimes I feel like dismantling and reassembling my laptop just to see if I still can.
Abandoned Pools' new full-length, Sublime Currency, will be out TBD on Tooth and Nail Records. Stay tuned for tour dates and for more info, please visit abandonedpools.com.
[Also posted at IndieRockReviews.com]