LOLAS – ALL RISE (Q&A)

All Rise is Lolas’ new record, which will be released on CD by Kool Kat Musik in early 2022. Until then, you can listen to the thirteen great new songs on Bandcamp.

Tim Boykin talks to Sweet Sweet Music about Hegel, the Negation of the Negation, and the raw emotion and sadness behind the new songs.

In previous interviews, we already talked about the stories behind Me and Barbara Stanwyck (from Doctor Apache) and Louise Michel, which is on All Rise. There are particular stories behind these songs. Do you always need such a story or inspiration to write, or do you also succeed if you start without an idea with a blank sheet in front of you?

It’s very common for me to just have a few sung notes, and then I’ll develop chords and lyrics around the melody. Also, the lyrical outcome can sometimes be determined by whether a word “sings” or not, often with unintended but favorable results.

In the song General Assembly, I wanted the lyric in the second verse to say “Cumberland County” which is a place I lived in North Carolina, which I was very fond of, but that just did not sing well at all. It wasn’t going to work, so I sort of grudgingly changed it to “Walker County,” which is truthfully not a place I care to travel to, but it sang perfectly, and it’s honest enough; I have a lot of family and history there, in Walker and Winston County AL.

So that drove that song quickly to a satisfying completion. Walker County became the Negation of the Negation, so to speak.

To borrow directly from Hegel – the static (or habitual) (or favored idea, in my case) becomes discarded or dissolved, made fluid and adaptable, and recovers its eagerness to push on towards “the whole”.

How did you make All Rise?

All Rise was recorded and mixed in North Birmingham, Alabama, Fall 2020 – Fall 2021.

Tim Boykin – Vocals, Guitars, Keys

Valis Procházka – Bass, Vocals

Jabari Henderson – Drums, Percussion, Vocals

Basic tracks were recorded onto a Zoom R16 in a shut down Mexican restaurant and then flown into my DAW at my home (Bushido Sound), where I was able to spend quite a bit of time tinkering and experimenting with different sounds and approaches to mixing, particularly during the lockdown phase of the pandemic.

Many of the tracks, particularly guitars and vocals were recorded and then re-recorded, in some cases quite a number of times, until I was happy enough with them. All my vocals were done with a $50 used MXL condenser mic, and most of the guitar tracks are a G&L Doheny through a Vox AC15. Keys are mostly an Akai MPK Mini MKII and an EMU Vintage Keys.

All Rise is ready, and then you want as many people as possible to enjoy your songs. How much effort do you put into reaching the largest possible audience? And can you give an impression of what is involved?

Myself, I do not have much in the way of resources to promote a new Lolas album. I try to use social media. But I get a lot of push from Ray Gianchetti at the Kool Kat label. He’s absolutely great. He distributes and promotes, and the rest is support from the fans and good people like yourself.

You also play other styles of music. When you write for Lolas, do you put on your Power Pop cap? Or do you write songs, and the song ultimately determines the style in which it is performed? I also ask because I can well imagine a metal version of Dirtbag on the Run.

I think the thing about All Rise is that there is probably more raw emotion and sadness behind those songs. On Bulletproof, I felt very optimistic. I think that’s reflected in a lot of the songs. There’s a bit of humor and snark, but mostly sincere optimism. That was in 2019.

I knew there would be a struggle and challenging times ahead, but you know, I HAD NO IDEA how tough things were about to get. In 2020 and 2021, we had a global catastrophe. I experienced some major stuff, personal loss, like so many of us. My father died, I lost friends, lost work. I experienced crippling depression, something I struggle with anyway. But these were rough times. I feel like that’s reflected in a lot of the songs on All Rise. But that usually makes for good power pop, right?

In 2016, a guy in Okayama, Japan, asked me, “what are Lolas songs about?” I told him, “well, most of them are about heartbreak.” He was absolutely flummoxed. He couldn’t fathom it, which amused me.

He liked Britpop like Oasis, who I’ll admit I don’t know much about, but I mean, Champagne Supernova? That’s just kind of about being awesome, isn’t it? Not exactly Badfinger or Bram Tchaikovsky or Wreckless Eric. Lol.

The funny thing about Dirtbag, and to some extent Messages From Home, is that at the time, I was listening to a lot of No Wave, that kind of 1978 era NYC noise rock, like Von LMO, which can be fast and aggro, and can have elements of speed metal, bet really has a very different aesthetic from someone like Michael Schenker, who I of course love.

So I was listening to a lot of Von LMO, Chrome, and in particular Jim Skafish, original punk and new wave progenitor from Chicago, who I’m a massive fan of. I LOVE Skafish. And his music is quite proficient and accurate and aggressive as often as it’s noisy and dissonant. Jim Skafish can flat out burn up a guitar fretboard when he’s not ruling on piano or singing amazingly. But there we come full circle because I found out about Skafish because of Rick Nielsen.

Somehow, it all makes sense!

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