You know how most music recommendations are essentially cross-check lists of other bands you like. So, are you a fan of MGMT? Does Gypsy and the Cat’s “Jonah Vark” make you super happy? Do you use words like “synth heavy” and “cosmic funkiness” or (gasp) ““post-apocalyptic Disney soundtrack music” to describe the musical genres that get your feet shuffling on a dance floor? Do you secretly wish all music sounded more, well, beach-ready? Well then, Miami based Brian Robertson and Michael-John Hancock aka ANR (formerly known as Awesome New Republic, for those keeping track) got you covered.
Tonight, they’re playing live (alongside the Knocks, St. Lucia, Captain Cuts and Lightwaves) at the second edition of ALL THINGS GOLD @ U Street Music Hall and they were kind enough to walk us through a couple choice tracks from “STAY KIDS” to mentally prep your for the good times ahead (bonus tracks included):
“It’s Around You”
This started out real simple, with just the vocal loop and thoughts of how it’s been six years since a major hurricane hit South Florida. The idea of the song, and the chorus in particular, is to sonically, and even lyrically connect with the traditional half time modern R&B crowd participation song style, but to have the actual concept of the song relating to evacuation procedures during a natural disaster. The chorus is telling people how to use their hands, feet, and voices to signal a helicopter from the roof of a house or building. What’s “around you” in this case is water and debris. Our friend Jillian Mayer has been working on a video for the song, which comes out on 7″ via Neon Gold at the end of August, and she’s come up with a lot of cool ways of illustrating the meaning of the song, while visually keeping it up-beat, like Brian did with the production.
This track was one of many that didn’t end up on “Stay Kids” proper, mostly because of the guitar-heavy rock vibe. Sometimes we drive ourselves crazy running around our original idea until we arrive back at the beginning. This track was great evidence of that, as the guitars were re-tracked every day for probably a week straight. Same part. Same basic sound. Just a whole lot of getting in and out of our heads about whether the guitar sounded too cliche or not. Maybe it needs more phaser? Maybe we should re-amp it through the micro-synth? Maybe if we slowed down the track, did it on bass, and then sped it back up it would be better? After all that, it ended up sounding pretty much the same on Saturday as it had on Monday.
This one was a lot of fun to make. Mainly because a bunch of other people were involved. Brian’s wife, Aileen, sang the female backup vocals, our friend Geneva played vibraphone, and our buddy and fellow studio inhabitant, Mike McGinnis, played drums on the chorus. It was great that of all the tracks, so many people were involved with this one, which is about the group mentality of shared disappointment in what our political leaders and dominant business figures say versus what they do.
We made this track for our friend’s (Coral Morphologic) show during 2010’s Art Basel. In one room they had all their various videos of microscopic underwater life, and in the other, we played music made for that show in front of footage from the show, edited and effected by this video guy, Jamie Harley. Both of us had lost grandparents in the couple weeks leading up to the show, so the song, and the musical portion of the performance, were made with that in mind.