By Mike Doherty.
Now, here’s a sweeping generalisation, but just go with it for a moment; most American indie is made to be enjoyed in the warm weather. Passion Pit, Vampire Weekend and MGMT have all produced unforgettable summer-inflected songs that have gone down a storm at the UK festivals. Now meet ABADABAD, a band that could sit comfortably in the aforementioned company. Their debut release The Wild EP has an overwhelming sense of summertime frivolity, albeit with a nostalgic turn.
What began as a recording project for lead singer Jeremy Lee Given became a five-piece when ‘Park Slopes’ lit up music blogs last year, Jeremy assembled his friends Adam Taylor Young, Welly Netto, Tim Bachelor and Josh Northcutt for live shows in their hometown of Boston, Massachusetts.
We catch up with Jeremy to talk about the inspiration behind the EP, the band’s future plans and the Boston music scene.
Can you tell us about how the band came together?
We’ve all been friends and bandmates in various projects since we moved to Boston in 2008. The current line-up of ABADABAD was sort of my ‘dream team’ of players, so I feel really privileged to be surrounded by such talented and cutting-edge dudes.
You began working on these songs on your own; did you always plan to turn the project into a band?
I actually didn’t at first. ABADABAD was supposed to be just a recording project and an extension of what I was doing with my solo work and with my former band, Rodeo Church. When the first couple of singles gained some attention, I thought I’d give it a go with a live set. I’d always wanted to front a band, but never really knew how to go about it until now.
The Wild sounds like a summery record with a lo-fi twist, what did you listen to when recording it?
I go through a lot of phases when it comes to records I’m listening to. My best guess as to what I was spinning last summer would be some sort of combination of Derek and the Dominoes, Toro y Moi, Rick Ross, and various world music cassettes that I’d found.
What were the main inspirations behind the EP?
The Wild is an EP of love songs that are semi-based upon true life events. When I was making the record, I was ending nearly every night of the week by watching an old movie that I’d picked up at my local record store. I had already found/watched all of the gems of their $1 VHS pile, so by this time I was just picking up random old movies for the sake of furthering my collection. I’d usually fall asleep before the movie’s end, leaving my brain to piece together the loose ends before I woke up. I feel like this ritual led me to make a more visually inspired record and to seek a sound that was a little more antiquated.
Where did you record the EP and who did you work with?
The recording was done almost entirely in the summer of 2011 in my small apartment in Boston’s Fenway neighbourhood, and the rest was recorded at my dad’s house in Knoxville, TN. I did most of it by myself, but near the end I sat down with Adam and Josh to fill in the gaps and get some new sounds/ideas. After we got all the tracking done, I took it over to my mix-wizard Will Lakritz (Yardgames, Pajama People) and we started doing some of the weird analogue alchemy that we had been practicing for the past couple of years. From there, we went to Charlestown, MA to master it with Mark Leombruni.
What are your plans after the EP comes out?
We plan on getting out and touring America next year and hopefully Europe to follow. While we all love playing live, I know that we are all very excited about getting back in the studio and making a full length record as a band. Recently, I’ve had a really strong feeling about packing up all of our gear and heading somewhere in the American Southwest to record, so I’m definitely trying to find a way to do that.
What’s exciting you at the moment in the Boston music scene?
The emergence of this whole ‘future trap’ thing in Boston has been really fun to watch, especially because a lot of the artists are kids that I’ve seen around town for years and never really talked to. Yung Satan, Loudpvck, and Lil Texas are all worth looking into, along with anyone else that’s M|O|D crew affiliated. I’m also really excited about this venue they are launching over in Harvard Square called The Sinclair. The Boston music scene is really lighting up these days and it’s awesome to be a part of it.
What did you grow up listening to? Have they had a big influence over the music you make today?
I grew up listening to the radio in Knoxville, so most of my influence would come from the stations that my parents would listen to when they were driving me around. B97.5 was the soft rock station my mom would listen to. Their playlist was dominated by late 80′s and early 90′s R&B (Whitney Houston, Billy Ocean, Toni Braxton). They were also a syndicate of the famous nighttime call-in show, Delilah at Night, so I always got a healthy dose of expert relationship advice aimed at 25-50 year old women. This caused an interesting contrast to 103.5 WIMZ, my father’s go-to station, which is self-proclaimed as “classic rock that really rocks”. WIMZ was and still is very close to my heart. It was the soundtrack to my adolescence and was also constantly blaring at just about every job I had growing up. They played a lot of Zeppelin and Rolling Stones, but often (too often) jumped to long sets of Def Leppard, Bon Jovi, and Whitesnake.
You’ve had some positive reactions from the press over here – do you have any plans to come over the UK in the near future?
We would love to come to the UK as soon as possible. There are so many awesome venues there and such an endless and amazing underground scene. I’d also really like to meet and hang out with all of the people that have been writing about us and repping our music over there. There isn’t a single ABADABAD member that has made it across the pond yet, so it’d be really sweet if our music took us there first. We are so thankful and gracious for support that we’ve gotten from the UK thus far, so we’d definitely like to give some back.
The Wild is available now and can be head below and purchased via ABADABAD’s bandcamp page.