We played a Saturday night show at Neck of the Woods this weekend, and there was joy and laughter all around. I could almost forget I was struggling with over a year of doctor-confounding cancer, though of course the fact that I had to be seated on a stool through the whole set (chest surgery last Thursday) served as the painful reminder. But in spite of these dark times, there were surprise flowers on stage, anniversaries to celebrate, a cameo appearance by a large stuffed yellow owl, and lots and lots and lots of great synth rock music.
Among the many delights, a music blogger surprised us by taking professional photos of the event (hope to be able to share those with you soon). He also asked to interview us after the show and posed questions on video about our Rise blog, the upcoming album, the founding of the band, our creative process, and more. He was very generous and complimentary about us and our sound, and said several lovely things about the set he heard. One of them, and I hear this a LOT, is "I really, really love your vocal harmonies."
This is a funny one for me because, our band used to write really complex, intricate harmonies to a lot of our old songs. If you go back to the earlier records, you'll hear these lush almost college-a-cappella style layers of vocals in the backing tracks. Somewhere around 2016, between the last record and making this new one, we realized we were putting in a monumental effort to maintain these harmonies live. Anyone who has ever been in a vocal group can tell you that harmonies are tough - staying on pitch together, aligning on breath support, tone, phrasing, is an "ah" really an "ah" or is it more of an "aw" or an "oh," the debates can rage on endlessly.
There are still lots of great harmonies on Rise, but it's a little more about lead vocals and instrumentation this time. And yet, though we've also scaled back in harmonies on stage as well, we still get this compliment a lot from our audience, "you guys are great at harmonizing." I think that no matter how much we reign it in, people will always be able to tell that our band really enjoys singing together, and really enjoys the process of bouncing vocals off each other.
To celebrate that unique little piece of us, listen to the track at the top of this page to hear our most intricate vocal arrangement on Rise, presented in rough form without backing drums or bass. These are the choruses to our slow jam Once & Gone, a song about the inevitability of heartbreak and how we process and move on from it. We supported these weighty themes with a detailed 5-part harmony sung by all 5 of the band's members. Since you'll never hear it this stark and forward on the actual record, I'm presenting it here in its raw form. Hope you love it!