The New Loud's EP sparks a string of projects
When "Can't Stop Not Knowing" -- the new EP by Milwaukee's The New Loud -- landed on my desk, I didn't quite know what to expect. After all, it had been a while since I heard the band.
Popping the six-track disc in, I was amazed not only by the quality of the songwriting and the performances, but also by the recording, the packaging.
The band -- comprising Shane Olivo, Jessi Nakles and Radish Beat (aka Tim Frank) -- has come a long way since its 2006 debut.
As the band gears up to issue a new 12" and a full-length, too, we caught up with Olivo to talk about the making of "Can't Stop Not Knowing," working with big names like Mad Professor and Mark Trombino and more.
OnMilwaukee.com: Tell us a bit about making the new EP. Was it done at your place?
Shane Olivo: All the production and recording of the EP was done at my studio in Milwaukee -- Bobby Peru Recording. The songs are intensely layered with up to 80-90 tracks per songs. We tracked cymbal hits and some drum fills separate from the drums to get the tightest sound possible, allowing for more complete control in the mixing process.
Having heard the songs close to 1,000 times each from writing, practicing and touring over the years, I realized it was impossible to get the perspective I needed for the mix. So we sought out an outside engineer to mix the tracks. Mark Trombino was the band's first choice, as all of us greatly admire him from his earlier work with Drive Like Jehu and Rocket from the Crypt, all the way up to his more modern productions such as Jimmy Eat World and Finch. He was our first choice for a mix engineer, so we were all really excited when he took interest in the project.
OMC: How did you choose which songs to include?
SO: We have an LP coming out a couple months following the EP, so the EP is set up as an introduction of the band before the LP hits in May. For the EP we chose songs which fit well together and at the same time also represent different facets of The New Loud, from aggressive noise to melodic pop.
We tried to set up the EP as a modern day 12" single with four "a-side" tracks and the demo of "Every Girl I See" and the extended version of "Heaven" as the b-side.
OMC: So this a taster of an upcoming full-length?
SO: We continue our collaboration with Mark Trombino, with our full-length coming out in May. The LP will be 10 tracks and will only share one EP track -- "Don't Dance." The LP has a different sound from the EP, which was the goal from the outset, so "Don't Dance" also has a slightly different mix on each release.
In the interim -- around late March -- we have a 12" single of one of the EP tracks -- "Heaven" -- with three remixes done by Mad Professor.
OMC: Mad Professor -- how did that come about?
SO: The New Loud was talking about adding an extended remix of "Heaven" to the EP. At first we were talking about someone local doing it. After Mark Trombino agreed to mix our EP/LP, our confidence was built up and we decided to reach out to our first choice for a remix engineer -- Mad Professor.
We love Mad Professor's work with Massive Attack. We e-mailed him a rough of the track and were super excited when he agreed to work on it.
We thought we were going to get one remix out of it to put on the EP, but when he sent back the proofs -- he actually sent back three separate mixes: vocal remix, vocal dub (and) instrumental dub. When we got the three mixes we decided to make them their own separate release -- a 12" vinyl "Heaven" single with Trombino's single mix from the EP and the Mad Professor versions.
OMC: Why the cover of the Radiohead tune?
SO: The song was originally released on a Radiohead tribute compilation on which we did the mix for it. When it was set that Mark Trombino was going to mix our releases, we decided to include our interpretation on the EP, as sometimes people are more receptive to cover songs from newer bands than originals. To prepare for that scenario, I wanted this to not just be a cover of "2 + 2 = 5," but I also wanted this to be The New Loud, as a band, in a 2.5-minute microcosm, showcasing as many of our strengths as possible -- from melodic / harmonized singing to shouting, electronic and acoustic drums, aggressive guitar, poppier synth lines and noisier filter type synth parts.
OMC: Are you going to try and push the record to radio? It's so well recorded
and has such an accessible sound that it seems radio ready.
SO: The New Loud is staying totally independent as opposed to being trapped in a non-responsive label contract, which is all too often the norm. At the same time we want to reach as many people as possible. We're really excited about these releases and the way everything has come out. They represent, to us, years of hard work in terms of existing as a band.
Though we are totally self-funded / self-released / DIY we realize that its best to divide up some tasks and have the right people doing the right jobs. We have hired PR firms in the U.S., U.K. and E.U. for press and radio. We've already gotten some great press in Germany/France/Austria/US which we've been posting on our Facebook, Myspace (and) Twitter accounts.
All the releases will be available online either through Amazon and iTunes or through our Web site: http://www.newloud.com where you can also order shirts, CD, vinyl and other merch.
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