|A Smile Full of Ale Session|
Session Date: April 30, 2013
Posting Date: September 20, 2013
Artist Hometown: Denton, TX
Recorded by: Michael Briggs @ Civil
Don’t You Hate It When Prog Post and/or Math Rock Bands Have Obnoxiously Long Song Titles, Part III
ONE: How does this project relate to your other band Cerulean Giallo, and which is more interesting for you to play in?
Justin Talley: Cerulean Giallo was just the next logical step for me. Both Brandon and I were doing one-manned-solo projects and we found through an earlier ill fated project and our previous band, Depths, that we worked really well together and had a lot of common ideas as far as playing in a more malleable, progressive project. At the time I felt I had taken A Smile Full of Ale as far as I could without adding additional equipment and eventually I just stopped. As for which I find more interesting, I can’t really say. They exercise very different sides of creativity for me. I think Cerulean Giallo is far less stressful to play in, because I have two amazing creative forces doing a lot of the heavy lifting. I will say, I can’t drink and play with A smile full of ale. I don’t know if that says anything, but the project commands a lot of focus and for my faculties to be pretty sharp.
TWO: What is the songwriting process like for this project?
Justin: …strange. Its hard to articulate how the pieces come about. A lot of it is about solitude. I used to have a space out at Airlock Studios and I would often be out there all night just experimenting with what I could do. I find that spending a copious amount of time with an instrument and getting to know it by just playing works best for the way I discover and learn. Just seeing how you physically react to the instrument and vice-versa. Though I had and still have only a rudimentary knowledge at best of how to play bass and drums, combining the two was very much like learning a new instrument. I developed movements and “techniques” with A Smile Full of Ale to obtain certain sounds that I don’t have much use for elsewhere. The bass and drums played together are more like a single instrument for me in a sense. Its not entirely unlike writing with a piano. At its heart though, its more about discovery and pushing the boundaries of myself and the project.
THREE: You recently released a cassette tape with your entire discography on it. Tell us more about that.
Justin: The tape was a pretty botched job in my opinion. It was a very last minute idea. I had never released anything for the project before and I really didn’t know if I would continue on with it after the Macaroni Island show. It was put together for two reasons really. The first was to try and scare up cash to put into the Cerulean Giallo release we’re STILL not done with and the second was to have some document if the project never did anything again. It was all very rushed and poorly executed. The best sounding tracks I had for Asfoa were recorded by this sweetheart of a guy Jacob Shelton some years back and they sounded absolutely abysmal on the tape because I had no idea how to correctly transfer them and no time to check my work. They we’re literally spray painted an hour or so before I played the show. So yeah, very shoddy in my opinion. The flip side to that is now after doing everything; the show, the tape, a very last minute unannounced Rubber Gloves show, and the Vio session I feel a very renewed energy and interest in the project. Especially because of how dissatisfied I am with the tape I kind of want to “do it right.” So maybe there’s a future for this mutt of a project.
– Email interview by Michael Briggs.