Yeah. And you know, there's so many classic songs that do that, you know where even just like… just a reggae song or something, where you get used to that skanking guitar that's coming in on the upbeat and then all of a sudden your mind gets used to that and it feels like the pocket or the downbeat and then the drums come in on the downbeat and everything… it takes a second for your mind to flip things around and get used to where the pocket is.
There's another really great, great thing you guys do on that song "High Class Slim." That song goes through a couple of different time changes, but at the end where there's one part in five and another part in four and they're playing against each other, it just sounds so cool. I love it.
And it becomes so hypnotic, by the end of the thing, you could swim in it for days.
Yeah, that was kind of the idea with that.
Yeah, it's fantastic. So another question I had for you was regarding not only the emphasis on rhythm necessarily, but also just on the sounds here. There seems to be a shift towards… I guess I'm hearing a lot of synth-y sounds on here obviously, some like FM synth-y stuff and squarewaves stuff and less vibes and marimba than we've heard in the past, and you know, less of the organic sounds that Tortoise has been known for in the past and a lot of newer sounds. Yet you guys manage to pull off a really organic sounding album in the process.
I know that a couple of the guys in the band were starting to feel like we always ended up relying on the mallet instruments and that it might be cool to try and break away from that. I mean at this point, I don't think there's a way that we could ever phase the mallets out completely, like out of our live setup or anything like that, but I think there was an idea that it would be cool to maybe not rely on them so much this time and try to think of other ways to solve problems.
Right. I mean that's the thing, you have several guys in the band who play them and so much of the material already--that's part of the live show anyway--that focuses on that stuff, so I could see that. Now, it sounded also like even some of the bass stuff maybe wasn't necessarily just like straight bass sounds.
Right. There are a lot of keyboard bass tones on the record. I'm not exactly sure why that is. It was either the most practical way to do it or just, you know, if I happen to be playing guitar on a song or something, then it seemed like the guys were more interested in playing a synth bass than they would be playing an electric bass. And on some of the stuff what would happen would be like we'd all bring in like little demos to play each other of the material we have that we want to work on and in some instances, it's just like somebody made a little track at home using all artificial sounds or something and then it just ends up being like if you try to replace it with an electric bass instead of a synthesized bass, it somehow lost the feel of it or something. You know what I mean?
So in many of those instances we just decided to keep it synthetic, just because it retained the feel of the original demo, like if there was a particularly cool feel to a demo or something.
I'm curious about how the creative process works for Tortoise, and I'm sure this is a question you guys have to field all the time, but you guys are so diverse. First of all everybody in the band plays a million instruments and secondly, everybody's involved in several side projects at the same time, so you know you mentioned that everybody brings in demos, so how does it go from there?
Well, I should also state that quite a few of our songs might start from nothing more than an idea. So there's not always a demo. Usually we just bring in our ideas, whatever we have and whatever state it's in. It might just be almost nothing or it might be something that's almost completely composed already. And then we just figure out how to make it work as our band. And just by trying things. And that's pretty much the whole process. Sometimes it can all happen in one day and sometimes it can take two years for a track to come together. And that's the main variable right there, just like how long it takes for us to end up with something we're happy with. But usually, it's just a matter of each member of the band having a few things to work on and we just do it.
Sure. So how do you decide, for example, if something is better suited for Tortoise as opposed to maybe the next Brokeback album?
I guess the less composed it is, the more likely I am to bring it to Tortoise. Like if it's something that I have that's just a melody or a little snippet of a melody but I can't figure out what else to do with it, that seems like it would be a candidate for Tortoise.
And then if I'm writing something or if something comes to me and the whole thing comes through and I have the whole idea of what the song should be and how the chords should go and what the melody would be and I'm starting to have ideas for like what kind of instrumentation it would be in and stuff like that than that seems like more something that I should bring to another band.