Tombs Session - August 2011

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This Session
Violitionist Sessions

Session Date: June 16, 2011
Posting Date: August 22, 2011
Artist Hometown: Brooklyn, NY
Links: Relapse Page, Facebook, Twitter
Recorded by: Michael Briggs

Black Hole of Summer


ONE: What was it like writing your new album, Path of Totality? Were the songs fleshed out before you went into the studio? What are the differences between the new material and Winter Hours?
Mike Hill: The songs were 100% composed and written before we went down to the studio to record, so, everything was done. We had gone through two waves of demoing all of the material before we went to the studio, so, everything was pretty much beaten into our heads before we got down there. The way that it differs from Winter Hours is that we have a new drummer – a different drummer, he’s not new anymore. He actually did all of the heavy lifting during the Winter Hours tour cycle. Andrew took care of all of that stuff. So, that’s one of the primary differences. Just in general, we developed more as songwriters.
BF: Is there a theme or story behind the album?
Mike: Well, as far as the lyrics go, it has more to do with a transcendental meditation method that I was sort of exploring during the last couple of years…just trying to release any other outside influences on the process and going deeper into a subconscious sort of level. Some of the themes on the record have to do more with fear of the unknown and death and things like that, primal kind of fears.
TWO: Path of Totality was recorded by North Texas producer John Congleton. How did you decide to work together, and what was the recording process like?
Mike: The recording experience was excellent. We recorded at his studio. Basically, we met John a couple years ago when we played in Dallas on the Isis/Pelican tour. During that period, John was working with Baroness, and John Baizley contacted us about getting on the guest list with some people, and Congleton was one of the guys he brought along with him. So, that’s how we met John. We started a long correspondence, and we exchanged information, demos, and ideas, and finally we ended up doing a record with him.
THREE: What is it like playing in Texas as opposed to other states?
Carson Daniel James: Touring the country on the different levels that we have, it’s been different every tour, and a lot of the shows are different. Playing in Texas versus playing the rest of the United States…We all get excited when we come to Texas, because we always have a really good time, and the shows are always really good. It feels like we’re in a different country altogether. Everyone down in Texas seems to be really into music —regardless of what kind of music you’re into, if you go into bars and restaurants, there’s going to be a stage there, and people are going to be playing some music. People are accepting of it, and super interested in what you’re doing, and really appreciative of what you’re doing, which is cool, and which is a lot different than other places in the country that we’ve been to.
BF: Is there a specific city or venue that stands out?
Carson: There’s a few that we come to often. Rubber Gloves in Denton – I think we all really enjoy coming to play there. Red 7 in Austin, we’ve played quite a few times, and it’s always a really nice place to be. Just Austin, in general, I think, is a great town for music. We’ve come through for SXSW a few times, and we’ve come by on tour in different parts of the year, and there always seem to be great crowds, and people are really enthusiastic about everything, so it’s a really fun place to go to.
Andrew Hernandez: I really like Denton. There’s something about it that seems…familiar to me, geographically, I don’t know…just the way it feels here, I really enjoy it.
Carson: It’s a really nice town, even the Recycled bookstore – we get excited coming back, and knowing there’s a book there that I missed last time that I want to go try to find. It’s something to look forward to, man.
Andrew: I like coming here and sitting on a bench in the Square area and just soaking in the sun. It’s really quiet and calm…there’s something here that’s just so calm, and I really enjoy that.
Mike: There’s a similar vibe to Austin in some ways. Some cities in Texas have a little more of a conservative bent to them, but I feel like Denton and Austin have a more laid-back, almost like a hippie vibe. I appreciate that a lot more than right-wing, conservative types of towns, which, you know…those places exist in Texas, too.