This is how this The Red Romance story came about:
we were excited about the lineup of the show they were going to play at R’N’R this Friday because Telograph is a great local band, and 1990s are a great Scottish band, and when Matthew Dublin, their singer got in touch with us, we were like:
Sure, we’ll do a little “come early for listening party”. Send the CD over
Then the EP arrived and then we listened to it.
It was great, polished, just this side of retro pop rock, perfect to wake up to and get ready to go out to
Then we did some research and discovered that these guys were once upon a time in Ambulance, LTD (whose fate Cale was just asking about the other day) and that they just came back from touring our fair nation’s arenas with the Killers and then we listened to the EP again. and again. and again.
And then it all ended up in an executive decision to make this a feature and in us calling them last night at 11 pm to answer some of our (as always probing) questions about: Saving Ferris, their excellent music taste (including Kelly Clarkson), groupies and Ambulance LTD break-up dirt.
And instead of filing restraining orders, they answered.
So now we give you: an interview, a listening party and more
BYT:So, in 2005 you left Ambulance LTD and decided to start on your own. What prompted that? Any dirt we should know about? Someone always eating the last fry or clogging up the tour bus toilet?
Matthew Dublin:The reason we decided to leave Ambulance was because we wanted to try a different approach. It was divergent musical tastes and the usual band stuff, but I think, ultimately we were just frustrated and needed to have our own project. Nothing too scandalous to report really, other than a few pissing contests, long van rides, fire works, air riles, and a little shoe gazing.
BYT:What is in a name? How did The Red Romance become The Red Romance, and not say, purple?
MD:That’s a remarkably probing question, to which we have no real answer other than a little more to the left. No, seriously, I like the sound of it and the imagery it conjured up. Later I found out that it’s the name of an old series of western films, and a book by a Scottish poet from the late 19th century, but that’s all for today class, see you after break!
BYT:Do you have any regrets? Miss playing any songs you used to play?
MD:The only regret I have is not being able to have indie rock stalkers. I’d say the tune that was always fun to play was this instrumental called “Yoga Means Union” off of the first record. The crowd always reacted to that one, we were listening to a lot of Can at the time we wrote that one I think.
BYT:The songs on the EP are very upbeat but nostalgic.The press package (I think Entertainment Weekly said it) refers to them as the kind of songs you want to do the Molly Ringwald dance to. What were the inspirations behind the songwriting process?
MD:For the EP, we were just trying to make five really engaging pop songs that were interesting to us. I think a lot of it has to do with our love of bands like Simple Minds, The Smiths, and other groups that did great rock pop songs. We wanted to mix cool 1950’s guitar sounds with a modern pop production influenced by a lot of ’80s pop bands you could say, sort of like 1980-1950=30, the number of girls who have asked their brothers to beat me up.
BYT:Speaking of Molly Ringwald, What is your Favorite John Hughes movie?
MD:Most definitely Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Cameron is really dark and I don’t have to tell you about Sloane and suburban teenage alienation in an era of glorious American affluence.
BYT:No, you don’t.You just came back from the arena rock tour with The Killers. How was that compared to smaller club venues? Do you have a preference?
MD:Well, it’s a very exciting to play in front of huge audiences like that, and that’s the goal, really. You have to really step it up and perform in a theatrical, Hasselhoffian sense. I think that a lot of bands find that clubs are really more about setting up a vibe and feeling the audience out and I think it’s slightly more direct and thus, more challenging.
BYT:Ha! We promise to start using the word “Hasselhoffian” at least twice a day now. Maybe more.Did anything particularly insane or tabloid worthy that happened while on tour? Or are the Killers just good Vegas bred Mormons we all heard they are?
MD:In all sincerity, they really are just straight-up music lovers and great musicians. They’re really serious about what they do and they do it so well, I love watching them play every night. They don’t really get too crazy in terms of crazy rock n’ roll stories. Ronnie’s a sweet heart and the best drummer working in music today next to our own Dr. Beckett. However, don’t step to Mr. Flowers when it come to ping pong; he’s got an old school grip that’ll leave you questioning your desire to pick up the old paddle anytime in the near future.
BYT:Is there a song you wish you have written but someone beat you to it?
MD:Oh man, I wish I wrote either “Rock With You” by Rod Temperton or “Add it Up” by the Violent Femmes , that’d be a good place to start. Thank god there are some many good songs. I think that Ms. Clarkson beat me to “Since you Been Gone,” I kick myself every time its on the radio.
BYT:I was just on the phone with my coeditor Cale and he kept insisting I tell you to listen to the new Chromeo album. Have you listened to it yet?
MD:The keyboard player in that band is serious, they’re good, bad mo fos. I’d love to share a foxhole with them.
BYT:So would Cale, I fear. But seriously, What HAVE you actually been listening to lately? Any amazing bands our very beautiful readers should know about?
MD:For real, I’ve been listening to anything by the Shangri-las, I love this Simple Minds song called “Miracle,” and I’ve been getting back into the Pixies again, probably one of the best American bands ever. Check out Electronic too, “Getting Away With It” is amazing.
(we are posting a “Give him a Great Big Kiss” by the Shangri-La’s here because a. we can and b.every time they go: “When I say I’m in love, you best beleive I’m in love…L.U.V” we wish we could snap our fingers and toss our hair to it, and we’ve been looking for an excuse to have it up here, so thank you for giving us one-ed)
BYT:All this Red Romance buzz is based on a 4 track EP… I am sure people want more, God knows we do…What are the feature length plans? When can we expect the Red Romance LP?
MD:There are plans to release a proper full length album in the spring of 2008. We’re writing right now and demoing stuff, it’s going to be great to give people 10 or 12 songs at once. We are going to be releasing another five song EP this fall, some of the songs are already in the set we play, but they’ve yet to be recorded.
BYT:Anything else you would like to shamelessly promote?
MD:I’m starting a petition demanding that wealthy single cougars all over the world create a fund in our name and send us baked goods and batteries.
BYT:That is a noble plan is we ever heard one. DC’s Friday Show is the last stop on your club tour. What are your plans for afterwards, do you want to stick around and sight see or hang out somewhere in particular?
MD:I’m not sure, where should we go? I demand that you guys take us out for ice cream and help us rent some loft space near the White House. Where’s the museum with the old Cray X-T1 super computer?
BYT:Hmmm, i think it was at the Smithsonian, but it may be en route to Germany now, but the ice cream part is a deal…
And finally, who would you kill to have at your show?
MD:Well, maybe Elvis or Al Jolson.
(or us,of course)
Now listen and see what it is all about
The whole mood of this song comes from thinking about our everyday experiences, the war on television and our American landscape in general; the world is a crazy place but we still got each other babe. The guy who helped us mix the record said it sounds like Tears for Fears meets the E Street band.
This is just a straight-up rock song about escaping your hometown to find out what’s bigger and better over the horizon. It was written on acoustic guitar but we liked they way it worked as a big pop number so we added some old synth sounds.
“Just One Kiss”
In the tradition of great rock n’ roll, this is a song about lascivious sex. The keyboards were fun to record; we kept layering them on top of each other in an orgy of sound! It’s kind of a disco anthem in the spirit of Pulp.
This one was strange, the lyrics just sort of wrote themselves, it follows the experience of these two characters it’s kind of sad and sort of funny at the same time. We used a toy bell set, available in fine yuppie toy stores everywhere, to play the little melody part before the chorus. We initially recorded a bunch of guitar tracks with all kinds of sounds and tunings but eventually stripped it back to make it sound, big but not to the point where you couldn’t hear all the different parts.
that is all kids. see you on Friday at the Hotel