Nervous Curtains

Nervous Curtains - February 2012

Nervous Curtains Session
Violitionist Sessions

Session Date: January 15, 2012
Posting Date: February 20, 2012
Artist Hometown: Dallas, TX
Links: Blogspot, Bandcamp, Facebook, Twitter
Recorded by: Michael Briggs

Cats In The Dark
There’s A New World Just Opening For Me
(The Kinks)
Letter Of Resignation
ONE: Your new album Fake Infinity is coming out February 21st on Latest Flame records. Tell us about the new record and how it came to be.
Sean Kirkpatrick: When did we start that? Was it at the beginning of 2011 or 2010? Oh no, I’m confused….
Robert Anderson: It was 2011.
Ian Hamilton: 2011, yeah.
Robert: Like February-ish?
Sean: No, because we were…
Ian: It was in January. We started it in January…
Sean: We did one session, I think it was four days…we did all of the recording with Matthew Barnhart at the Echo Lab. That first session, we completely tracked and mixed two songs, which were “Wired to Make Waves” and “Something Sinister” so we could get a single out ahead of the album, and then we started tracking on probably six or more songs…
Robert: It was a total of six, I believe.
Sean: Yeah, something like that. Then we went back sometime in the spring…I’ll just leave it at that. We did all of the rest of the tracking, and all of that seemed to go pretty smooth. We redid a couple of things that we had done that first time. It was cool that we had a little bit of time between those to—
Robert: Work out the kinks?
Sean: Yeah. We saw some things that we had tried that didn’t work that we then did a little bit differently.
MB: What role did Matthew Barnhart play? Was he just an engineer, or a bit of a producer, or…
Sean: I mean, he’s pretty hands off unless you ask him to be, but I had given him demos of all of the songs and he listened to them and made notes. So, I think that he took that direction to really amp up his engineer role, as far as how we really approached some of the songs and what kind of sounds we got. We got pretty different drum sounds for almost every song. We explored some different processes for some of the songs, but I wouldn’t necessarily say that he played a producer role. He definitely left all of the ultimate decisions up to us, as far as how it would sound in the end. I can’t say enough good things about him. He was great to work with.
Ian: Yeah. He was very accommodating to anything that we asked him to do. Even if it wasn’t going to work, he was very accommodating to at least let us try it.
MB: What do you want the listener to take away from the album? Are there any major themes or messages that you would like someone to know about?
Sean: I just hope that people interact with the record at some point and get something out of it. I don’t know if necessarily what I intended is always going to come across and if that’s what the listener ultimately comes out with, but a lot of the themes that keep recurring in the album have to do with a sort of naivety, an idealism that doesn’t end up panning out, and you end up later having to figure out, readjust, recalibrate your settings with lowered expectations and a little bit of disillusionment and frustration and figure out what you can make from the rubble that’s left from all of these big dreams that didn’t really pan out for you. I was thinking about it today— We hate it when people ask what type of music we play. The one I’ve been using recently has just been ‘Post-punk/Synth rock,’ but I was also thinking more conceptually. We could say that the type of music we play is ‘Post-Sex, Drugs, and Rock n’ Roll.’ That’s kind of what the album is. It’s post sex, drugs, and rock n’ roll, and what comes after that.
TWO: What is the role of your music videos? What is it like making them, and why do you?
Sean: Well, we’ve just seen that people seem to have a stronger reaction to those…I don’t know. They’re fun, but at the same time they’re also a pain in the ass to make. I mean, if we had our way, we would probably just make music, but we work hard on the music and we want people to hear it, and the video seems to be a pretty good medium for getting people to hear it. Hopefully, they’ll actually go buy the record if they like the video, but if not, at least they spent four minutes listening to the song, I suppose.
Ian: It’s so hard to get people’s interest at all, really. Anything you can do to reach out to people who would ignore you otherwise, and I think the videos are a good way to do that.
Robert: We were really fortunate to get to work with Justin Wilson on ‘All Yesterday’s Parties’ and ‘Wired to Make Waves’…I thought he brought a lot, at least on the days that we shot the videos, it was enjoyable. It was fun for me.
Sean: Yeah, when we work with him, he does all of the hard work.
Ian: Yeah, it’s awesome.
Robert: We just sort of show up.
Sean: There’s definitely a big production difference between his videos and the ones where we do it ourselves. He’s using really nice cameras and really expensive lights…trolleys…he’s a pro. He knows how to organize everybody and direct this huge set. Yeah, he’s great. We’re excited for people to see this video that we made for ‘Wired to Make Waves.’ Oh, I guess with the album question, there’s something I forgot to say. The album was really supposed to be out last year. That’s why we put out the single in March, and the album was going to be out around September, so that was just a little lead time or whatever. But, you know, life happens. The first time we tried to mix the record, Barnhart was throwing up because he had just gotten back from Spain with food poisoning, so we got set back about two months there, and then our record label changed distributors right in the middle of it. So, a 2011 release became a 2012 release. Now it seems a little bit weird that we had a lead-off single and then waited a year to put out the record, but whatever. I don’t think that anybody’s really paying that much attention.
BF: It seemed like you stopped playing shows for a while to build anticipation for the album.
Sean: Yeah. We got burnt out on playing so many shows for a while there, especially just playing in Dallas too much.
Ian: Well, our ability to make those videos, at least the last video, was completely based upon the fact that we stopped playing live for a little bit. That delay in the record gave us the time to make the other videos.
Sean: They do take a lot of time, especially the ones that we were doing ourselves. We had nights where we would be practicing, but we’d just get together with our little cameras and our tripod— which isn’t nearly as nice as your tripod— and we’re just angling lights different ways, and shooting things, but it’s kind of fun actually. As much as we’re acting like we’re begrudging it, it’s fun. We don’t know what we’re doing.
MB: I can see that you enjoy it.
Ian: I mean, we are of that generation that grew up with that being around us all the time when we were kids, so it would be a lie to say that there wasn’t that part of me that always thought it would be cool to make videos and stuff, and when you see it done, it’s like, “wow!”
Sean: And now, anyone can do it.
Ian: That was always the limitation when we were kids, you had to have big directors and a huge budget.
Sean: And you had to have all of this gear, but now you can just do it. I do all the editing on my laptop.
Robert: With free software.
BF: I mostly see people doing performance videos nowadays, whereas your last one had more of a concept…
Sean: Yeah, everything that we’ve done so far has been kind of conceptual. We’ll probably do some that are probably just a bit more random. The idea is to do a video for every song on the album. I don’t know if we’ll make it to that. I might give up before that’s all said and done. A lot of bands have done that, and it’s kind of cool…something to give the people who are paying attention. But also, Ian was talking about the wall being taken out, and there’s also the wall of getting your video shown that was taken out, because you used to have to just bank on MTV playing your video, but now, with the Internet, anybody can get their video shown to whatever audience they can gather up.
THREE: Are you planning to tour to promote the new album?
Are you planning to tour to promote the new album?
Sean: Yeah, I’m booking the tour right now, and it’s going to be the longest tour we’ve done, and the farthest we’ve gone for this band. We’re going to be in New York and Baltimore and do the Northeast, and then we’re going to go over to the Midwest. That’ll be in April.
BF: Are you doing SXSW or 35 Denton?
Sean: We’re not doing 35 Denton this year, but we are doing some stuff in the weekend of SXSW. There’s a day show for our label on Friday, March 16th, at the Side Bar in Austin.
– Interview by Michael Briggs and Brent Frishman/Transcription by Dale Jones