MM: Yeah‚ I've heard a lot of musicians talking about that-instead of being on a train‚ you're in a sports car now.
SO: Yeah‚ exactly. And that was the thing about the seven-piece. Although the seven-piece had this great momentum and this great strength to it. It's like‚ if one person decides to jump ship and go off this way‚ it's like the train has so much momentum‚ it kinda just keeps going. And the other person's off‚ floating over here. [laughter] Whereas with the three-piece‚ everything is so important to the whole of the music that if someone goes off to left field‚ everyone's kind of got to deal with. You can't not deal with it. I think the difficult thing about it is that there's so much more musical responsibility from each member that it was a little bit harder to jump. Like with the seven-piece‚ we could just go out with the audience and really grab their attention and give a lot to the audience. With the three-piece‚ there was a little more energy focused on interplay between the three of us. Do you know what I mean?
MM: Sure. Yeah‚ definitely.
SO: It was focused a little bit more inward than outward. But if we do it more and get more experience and more confident‚ I think we could learn ways to churn it outward as well.
MM: Yeah. Is that the plan? Or is it kind of up in the air right now?
SO: It's kind of up in the air. I mean we have off until March‚ which is nice. We haven't had three months off since we started the band. [laughs] So we're gonna write some new music. I think as far as writing and recording‚ we're gonna stick with a three-piece and then augment it when we feel like we need to for the recording. We all love working with all types of different musicians-older‚ younger‚ more experienced‚ less experienced. That's something we all cherish and enjoy‚ so there's definitely the opportunity for that. And then touring-I don't know. I think we all decided that rather than just replace Ryan with someone who also sings and plays guitar‚ we wanted to see where our creative fancy took us and have it be determined in that sense‚ you know? Whether this tour calls for a horn section or we want to hire ten drummers for a few years‚ just let it be. Wait and kind of see what the space creatively calls for musically‚ as opposed to just kind of going by habit and saying‚ OK‚ this person left; we need that exact same thing. And let's just keep on going and not pay attention to what happens.
MM: Right. I imagine that's really difficult‚ to lose…
SO: Yeah. No‚ it definitely is. Fortunately‚ it's not because of anything personal. We're all still great friends with Ryan‚ and Ryan definitely had a hard time touring as much we did. Touring is not the most fun thing in life. Like I said before‚ when I was having a lot of time and not having any creative continuity outside the band‚ you almost start to feel like your life is being swallowed by the momentum of the band. And I think he just personally had the hardest time with that and wanting to do other things with his life and wanting to have energy to vest elsewhere. It was a really hard decision for him because he loved playing with us as well‚ but the last few times we've seen him‚ he's just been so happy to be living a more normal life. With a job and regular hours and having time to focus. He's starting to teach guitar. It just kind of works better for him.
It's definitely a hard process and hard emotionally for us. And then all this music that we designed so specifically around the four people and what those four people could do energetically‚ technically‚ having to rearrange all that music or cut some of that music out. At the same time‚ like I said before‚ I feel like Love Is Simple was the end of an era of sorts‚ whatever that means. So although it's been difficult‚ it's also been exciting because it forces us to reevaluate where we're at and what we can do. And it's almost like it felt like we had this box that we were living in‚ and now we get to shatter the parameters of the box and do whatever the hell we want.
MM: Yeah‚ definitely. I like what you're saying. One door closes and all these other doors open.
SO: Yeah‚ all of a sudden you realize‚ like‚ Whoa‚ we can do whatever we want! [laughter] We can make an R&B record if we want. We can never release another record. Sometimes when you get into some sort of a habit or pattern in life‚ you forget that there's so many myriad options out there for you. So it's cool. It's real. It happens. We're working on it. And it's been good.
MM: Well‚ I love the openness of the band. I think that's a great thing.
SO: Yeah‚ cool. I hope that it brings good things for other people‚ too. Openness‚ I think‚ is a good quality in life.
MM: Yeah definitely. I immediately connected with it because of that. It's just funny because-well‚ you know how it is-just the shit you have to deal with. Like what you were just saying-Hey‚ maybe we want to make an R&B album or we want to bring in more of this African sound‚ bring in lots of drummers‚ do whatever. And I was reading a lot of the reviews of Love is Simple and it's like‚ you make this music and then people expect it to be that way forever.
SO: Yeah‚ sure. And it's really bizarre because one person likes the first record and then they don't like the second record because it doesn't sound like the first. But then someone else likes the second record and they don't like the third record 'cause it doesn't sound like the second. [laughter] And it's funny‚ too‚ because I remember when I was 22 or 23‚ I really liked Jim O'Rourke. You know who Jim O'Rourke is?
MM: Yeah‚ vaguely.
SO: I really got into one record of his‚ and I started seeing that he was involved with all these different musicians‚ and I was like‚ Wow‚ this guy is really cool! So I started to buy a CD here and there. And I would pick up one CD and it could be totally different than the other one. And I was like‚ I don't like this! And then‚ you know‚ a week later‚ I'd come back to it. And then after a few listens‚ I'd be like‚ Oh‚ wow‚ this is great! I really like this! And then I'd pick up the next one and the same thing happened every time because they were so‚ to me‚ unrelated to each other‚ especially because I didn't buy them in chronological order. But I really grew to respect and love the fact that every time I bought one of the records‚ I hated it. And then I really liked it more than the last one‚ because it's not what you expect. So at first‚ you react negatively to it just because you have some sort of expectation built up toward it. And I think that a lot of the music that has stood the test of time for me‚ that's my favorite music‚ whether it's… I remember the Neutral Milk album and the first time I heard it and I was like‚ Eh‚ it's OK. And then 12 times later I'm like‚ This record's amazing! [laughs] Or like Fleetwood Mac's Rumors. Things that take time to grow on you often times end up having more longevity.
MM: Yeah‚ totally. As your taste changes and your ability to listen becomes more refined.
SO: Yeah‚ sure. Your taste changes-I mean‚ that's a huge one-and then also just expectations. I guess to some people it could seem pretty random stylistically‚ as we move from one CD to the next‚ where to us it doesn't seem that different at all. It's just because‚ for us‚ there's a logical line that moves in time from one to the other‚ and then we made these changes in that time‚ and then it just becomes these documents of this more fluid growth. I mean‚ have you ever seen one of those Beatles books that has the daily logs of their studio hours?
MM: No.
SO: They're studio books and they have a day-by-day. You know‚ like‚ John comes in with "Strawberry Fields" and they track it this way. And it talks about the microphones they used and the amps and it's pretty nerdy‚ but pretty fun. [laughter] If you look at those books‚ you get the sense of this day-to-day‚ where it was just like Paul brought in "Penny Lane" this day‚ and then George brought in this. And then they wanted to get someone to do backing vocals‚ so they got some girls from outside. And then they got the orchestra. And you get this sense of this day-to-day thing‚ where it was like in a way… for me looking back‚ you know‚ I wasn't around then‚ and it's like I have these very distinct ideas of Sgt. Pepper's and "White Album" and Revolver and what each album is‚ with these very strict boundaries and walls. And when you look at this day-to-day‚ it kind of seems like here are these guys that were just coming up with ideas and working on them day to day. It was just a weekly process. You know what I mean?