Search The Line of Best Fit
Search The Line of Best Fit
TLOBF Interview // Women

TLOBF Interview // Women

20 October 2010, 11:00
Words by Matt Conner

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Chris Reimer and the rest of Women hoped for a course correction. They ended up doubling their “mistake.” It’s a misnomer, of course, since both Women’s self-titled debut and their most recent release, Public Strain, feature an incredible pop/rock blend of the obtuse and accessible. But the sheer length of time it takes to create these projects was something Reimer says they were hoping to avoid repeating this time around.

Still it’s hard to argue with the results. It’s those same results that allowed an unknown band to put out an album with no expectations and ride its coattails for 18 months of touring. After a respite that allowed the band to get real jobs, live with parents and find their footing, they’re back at it again this fall with DD/MM/YYYY and Manchild. And it won’t stop again for quite some time if enough people get a hold of their second go-around.

You guys had some strong momentum from the beginning, so I’m curious now that the sophomore album is out there, how did you look back at the first cycle and prepare for the next one?

With the first one, we really had no idea what we were doing. It was a recording project we were doing for fun, and we didn’t expect anything to happen from it. But then we were able to tour from it and people dug it. So the actual process for the second one was just as fragmented as the first one. We did keep it really slow and didn’t push anything just to make sure that we were really happy with the final results. But there wasn’t any real master plan going in. But by the time we were wrapping it up, we were joking, ‘Okay, here comes the disappointing sophomore album.’ But yeah, there was no overall plan except wanting to make sure we were happy with the results.

Can you talk a bit more about being fragmented? Was it because the first time you didn’t have things together, so the second time you still didn’t have that template?

That was part of it. We toured for the better part of a year-and-a-half, so we were sort of burned out. So we were just trying to live normal lives. We were at our parents’ houses and got job and were just trying to do that kind of thing. We weren’t in the studio every single day either, but it took almost eight months total. It was a couple days here and a couple days there. You go home and you don’t see each other for two weeks and then we’re all living in the same house. So we just postponed it that way.

What about you personally? What do you have to do in that time to reconnect?

It was just being in the same place that was good for me. Of course, by the end of it, we are all antsy again to get back on the road. But it’s just nice to have a really, really regimented schedule sometimes — at least, for me personally. Some people don’t like that, but it’s nice to know that you have to get up at 7am to go to work. But when you come back on the road, it’s even more refreshing to know that you’ll wake up at some point and drive to some city that you’ve never been to before. So it’s back and forth.

What are some lessons that you did learn in the studio the first time around?

Well, since we’d already done a bunch of work with Chad , that whole part was actually comfortable. The first time, Pat and I didn’t know him very well, but we ended up being really good friends. It was a thing where we’d show up to his place and we’d mess around and jam or talk for about two hours before we’d even start recording. But it was similar to the last one really. The last one took four months and we were like, ‘That’s so silly. Thank god we never have to do that again.’ Then this one took twice as long.

That’s good. When you jam around like that, did any of that turn into material on the album?

No, not really. Those were moments we’d get together and just play Wipers covers for an hour. I don’t think anything translated to the record.

So do you head in with completed ideas already?

It tends to be three different things. We come in with the demo work that Pat has done and then we work on it and try to make it into something. Sometimes it’s a really rough idea — just a sketch like a drum beat or a bass line and then we work with that. Other times, everyone is doing these random things that are spur of the moment.

You mentioned Chad, so I’m curious about the interaction and influence there from the first to the second album?

It was pretty much identical. He would get frustrated with us and tell us we should stop doing takes when he thought we had gotten the take already and we’re pushing it for no good reason. He was good for that. He kind of hung back a little bit more on this one and let us do what we needed to do. But since we were all on different schedules, he was there to play something so that was cool.

Were you making any music on your down time?

Personally, I’m always working on my own ambient recordings and one of those made it onto the record, so that was my contribution. It’s nothing I’ve ever put out really, but I am working on things all the time. It’s just for kicks.

I just spoke with Carl Broemel from My Morning Jacket and he said the same thing that he had his own stuff on the side and then he had enough stuff to think about it as a possibility of releasing it.

Yeah, we’ll see when we have time. But we’re pretty busy doing the Women thing.

What do you do this time around to not burn out? Do you learn to keep yourself fresh?

Yeah, you learn how to take care of yourself. It’s hard when you’re eating shit fast food all of the time and getting drunk every night and sleeping on floors. You gotta take time to try to find a good meal and shower on a regular basis and occasionally splurge on a hotel and get a good night’s sleep, which is what we did last night.

It’s the little things.

Yeah, the little things.

What’s the cutting room floor look like on this?

Oh, it’s nasty. We had a whole big pile of editing — some songs more than others. Some songs just came right out but other songs had large amounts of tweaking. One track, we recorded all of the drums separately — as in just the high hat, just the kick and so on. We tried to do things like that, because we wanted to get really production heavy on this one. It’s funny in my mind, because I actually think this one sounds more stripped down, but we were getting really ambitious at the get-go to make something that was not just produced sounding, but one with a lot of studio sound going on.

What informed that?

I think we’ve always wanted to go there in that direction. When we started out, that’s what we wanted. We weren’t even thinking about playing shows. So this record was the same thing. We weren’t thinking of playing these songs live. We were just wanting to make a cool sounding album.

Well, where do you go from here for the rest of 2010?

We’re on the road pretty steady until Christmas. And then we start again in February, so we might have a month off in January and then it’s right back to it. Then it’s into the festivals in March and through the summer.

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