This July San Francisco’s Trip Wire released Cold Gas Giants.
Powerpopaholic writes: ‘The band’s hybrid of jangle pop and rock dictates the album as it sways from one style to another, but it also manages to go in another direction on “Saturn V” with its space-themed indie fuzz pop.’ .
Founder member Marty Schneider talks to Sweet Sweet Music about adding harmony vocals, bringing Jeff Shelton on board, how new technology helps Indie bands to record and reach their audience and the need for drummers.
What was the biggest fun during the making of the last album?
I really love to be in the studio, particularly during the overdub sessions. We work with a really enthusiastic studio owner/engineer named George Rosenthal at The Complex SF and after the framework of the song is in place, and as you add each overdub of guitars, keys, vocals – you can start to hear the song coming together and it’s rewarding. George has a lot of great ideas that he will suggest during the whole process and that is valuable. My favorite part, by far, is when the harmony vocals are added by our other guitar player Bill Hunt. When we’re working on new material at rehearsal Bill will often sing harmony with me and I know that’s coming when we get to the studio but when we overdub, a bunch of other harmonies appear that I hadn’t heard before and are joyfully unexpected.
At what point, during writing, rehearsing, recording, did you knew you were on to something special?
This record, Cold Gas Giants, was different, as far as the process goes, than any we’ve done. Usually it’s pretty linear but not this time. Two of the songs were slated for our last release Seizureville but as we put all the songs together for that album Long Days Gone and Winter Song just didn’t fit. Seizureville was a darker, slower, kind of sinister record and those two songs are very much Power Pop songs. I couldn’t find anywhere to put them in the running order so we kept them off and started writing a new record around those. I was pleased with both of them and I wanted them to sit with a collection of songs that worked together more cohesively than they would have on the last record. The first new song that came to me after making that decision was These Are the Days and when the band started nailing that arrangement at practice, I new we were on to something special. Also, when we brought Jeff Shelton on board, I knew what a deep catalog of material he had so I asked him for some things he was working on and we ended up putting two on the record that really add a lot.
The music industry has changed a lot (or so they say). What did it bring you? And what not?
Yes, that’s true, but for me a lot of the changes have benefited my bands. I have been doing this a long time and when I started recording we did it ourselves with cheap mics on a 4-track. I had no access to money so real studio time was out of the question. As a result, the fidelity was not good. Luckily for me that was a bit of a fad for awhile but I knew I wanted both the songwriting and the fidelity to improve. Recording is so much easier now and if you put in just a tiny bit of effort, you can have a great sounding recording. The other thing that has benefited me is the access to finding people who share the same tastes I have in music and connecting directly with them on social media – like you! That was just not part of the equation when I started, you had to mount a tour and work really hard. Now I just do a search for Power Pop and a whole world opens up at your fingertips. More established artists would say that is exactly what’s wrong with the music business today but it’s working for me and I can’t complain.
She tells you she will decide on a 5-song-mix tape if there is going to be a second date. Which 5 would you put on?
– Ain’t That Enough by Teenage Fanclub
– Chasing Heather Crazy by Guided by Voices
– Gold Soundz by Pavement
– Save it for Later by The English Beat
– No Expectations by The Rolling Stones
The meaning of ‘success’ has changed over the years. When will the new record be a success?
For me, success is the simple fact that I’ve been able to attract really talented musicians to play songs I’ve written and be really committed to making them sound the best they can. We have three writers now and the same is true for the other two guys Bill Hunt and Jeff Shelton because they both write great stuff and I am committed to my part in making their material sound as good as possible. This may sound obvious, but corralling four guys into a room to rehearse weekly for three years now is no small feat. Drummers are the hardest, everybody needs a drummer and they often play in several bands, we’re very lucky to have Stu Shader playing the drums with us now.