Interview with Americana Band, Greyhounds- "Finding great meals on the road can be a challenge."
I've liked your stuff all along, but the latest record, Cheyenne Valley Drive, seems even better and has been met with rave reviews. It's just really infectious and hypnotic. How would you personally define your role in the creative process?
Thanks. We both just keep writing songs and bouncing ideas off of each other. It becomes clear pretty quickly what ideas stand out and we elaborate on those until we have something we feel is worth recording. We have a very democratic and communal approach to songwriting and producing.
Talk to us about Sam Phillips Recording studio. Why did you want to record there so bad and what was it like working with Matt Ross-Spang?
Sam Philips Recording Services is a real gem of a studio. Aesthetically, it’s like stepping back into 1965 and feeling like you belong there. As far as studios go, every one has its particular character which also has an effect on the players and the music that gets made there. The studio itself feels very comfortable and inviting, but at the same time you are constantly aware of the fact that many music legends have left a little piece of their soul on that tracking room floor. One of the reasons we really wanted to work there was because the resident engineer Matt Ross Spang, who is one of the go to guys for the style of recording we envisioned for this album. We wanted to play the songs straight to tape with minimal editing.
Most records these days are made by piecing together different performances and tweaking things until they are just right, which is definitely an art form in itself. Matt specializes in the art of recording musicians playing together in a room, and making it sound really good. I know I’m making that sound deceptively simple, but believe me that is no easy feat. A lot of the records that put Memphis and Nashville on the map were made in just this way. Imagine asking Elvis to do another take of, “Love me Tender,” because the guitar wasn’t loud enough. You would have a totally different version of that song. Its like capturing lightning in a bottle.
It takes confidence to record straight to tape like you guys did on Cheyenne Valley Drive. What did you do to prepare?
As a band, we really pride ourselves on our ability to play together as a group, and we felt that this group of songs would lend themselves to being recorded that way. Just us playing together and capturing the essence of what we do. Once we selected the songs, we just rehearsed and made sure that we knew all our parts. We figured that after making music together this long, we should be able to play ten songs together, straight through, and feel good about the performances. I think we accomplished that. I hope listeners feel the same way.
If you had the chance to change something about the music industry, what would it be?
If I had a chance to change anything about the industry…. that is a tough question… Probably the genre standards. I feel like we are a point in music where all the labels that are slapped on different “styles” of music are becoming meaningless. I know that from a business perspective it’s important to know your demographics and all that. If someone is attempting to merge “Rap” and “Country” music what are you supposed to call that. I don’t know. Basically, I categorize music by whether I like it or not. I feel like there are great examples of every “genre” but ultimately how the music makes you feel is what is most important to me. Labeling music in such a way just closes people off from the chances of discovering something new and separates them, as opposed to bringing people together, which I believe is musics primary purpose.
You are playing in Nashville this Saturday, May 26 at the Basement. What excites you most about the Nashville music scene right now?
The Nashville scene is in a big transition right now. A lot of younger players are moving there and infusing the city with a new energy. Also, you have native Tennesseans who are challenging the preconceived boundaries of what the Nashville sound is. It is hard to escape the fact that the cities music heritage is rooted in “Country and Western” music, but at the same time, the very definition of “Country” is changing rapidly, which leaves this new generation with the job of steering that direction. It’s exciting to see where that is heading.
Who has a better food scene Austin or Nashville?
Y’all trying to get us in trouble? We have not ventured too far off the beaten path in Nashville, as far as culinary adventures go. TBD.
Austin has some great BBQ, would you rather only eat barbecue ribs for a year, or tell a barbecue pitmaster that his ribs sucked once?
Considering that if one ate nothing but BBQ ribs for a year, there heart would probably stop, we opt for the latter. Either way, you’re looking at a trip to the grave. Depend’s on how fast you want to get there.
How is the bigger foodie in the band?
Anthony is definitely the bigger foodie. He wasn’t always that way, but health issues prompted him to be a lot more conscientious about what he was eating and to cook more meals at home, which really led to an increased appreciation for quality ingredients and the culinary arts in general.
How do you find great meals when you’re on the road?
Finding great meals on the road can be a challenge. We mostly rely on the recommendations of the locals. Sometimes even that can be a gamble. Once we asked someone in Chicago, where to get a proper deep dish pie, they directed us to the Pizza Hut around the corner. Not exactly what we had in mind.
Finally, if you could be sponsored by one food/drink brand who would it be and why?
Little Debbie Snack Cakes. Who doesn’t love Little Debbies?