Lindsay Murray’s indie-pop solo project Gretchen’s Wheel returns with her fourth full-length release, Black Box Theory. The album builds upon the strengths of 2017’s Sad Scientist and will be released on the Futureman Records label on June 15, 2018 (June 1 on Bandcamp only).
Murray’s songwriting draws upon classic pop and rock sounds without ever becoming an exercise in retro.
That’s all true. Very true. But it’s Lindsay’s voice that sets her music apart. Find out yourself. Listen:
Pre Order/Buy here
What was the biggest fun during the making of the last album?
I have several answers to this question! 🙂 This was the first time I played bass on my own record, and I enjoyed that quite a lot.
Also, as much fun as it is to build a production track by track and hear it take shape, it’s such an amazing experience to get to hear the song once drums have been added and again once the mix is done (thanks to Nick Bertling, who did both of those things on this album!).
More answers: this is the first album I’m properly releasing on vinyl which is very exciting, and my first “real” music video is currently in the works, too.
The meaning of ‘success’ has changed over the years. When will the new record be a success?
Even when I was making my first record and was fairly naive about the way things work (just four years ago!), I never expected music to be a day job replacement. But even so, I seriously underestimated the challenges in finding and growing an audience. So ever since then, it’s been this weird juggle of trying to raise the bar musically with every release while simultaneously scaling back my expectations of how it will actually perform in the real world.
I’m hesitant to state any kind of “personal success metric” because by saying it I’m afraid I’m ensuring that it will never happen (welcome to my psychology!). Though I will say this because it makes practical sense: if I were to sell enough copies of the LP to cover the costs of making them, that would be fantastic.
Okay, an official Spotify playlist placement would feel really validating, too!
Do you feel part of a community, the power pop community?
Kinda! I made the mistake of thinking that because all my favorite bands and artists over the years have been labeled “power pop” by somebody at some point, any music that comes out of me would automatically fit in that box. I found out pretty quickly after releasing my first record that was not the case! (Or maybe that was just me finding out that the definition of power pop is hotly debated.) But lots of folks kindly accepted me in spite of that, and they’ve stuck with me as I’ve continued to stumble in the general direction of where I want to be as a songwriter, musician, and producer.
Can you still recall the moment music became important to you? What happened?
Music was always a huge part of my life from as early as I can remember, but hearing Matthew Sweet’s 100% Fun for the first time was my personal “eureka” moment. I was 14 and instantly just wanted to do whatever it was he was doing. I had a similar experience about 20 years later when I heard Nada Surf and The Posies for the first time. They woke me up from a very long musical slumber, and I started recording my first album a few months later.
If the budget was unlimited, how would you record the next record?
At this point, it’s hard to imagine doing anything other than my usual (recording in my home studio), because I feel so much more comfortable having nobody else around to hear me butcher the lead guitar solo 15 times in a row. But it would be really nice to find out how much of a difference a studio and pro engineer could make. I’d also probably go completely overboard flying all my favorite people there to play/sing/produce/hang out.
Alternatively, I’d just make a record the way I always do and instead use the unlimited budget for promotional help!
What’s up for the rest of the year?
I don’t really have firm plans for anything after Black Box Theory. If I do any more writing and recording this year, it will probably be for the “awry” project that I started last year.
I released five mostly acoustic songs as a free digital EP and am considering adding another batch of songs in the same vein and releasing all of them together as a full-length album, but not soon.
So if I release anything in 2019, it will most likely be the full-length version of “awry” and/or some random one-off singles and/or an entirely different project that I haven’t thought of yet. 🙂