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In Music

Musician Tyler Traband has just released a new CD, his first in four years. (PHOTO: Deone Jahnke)

Traband's songs of love and hate

Musician and singer and songwriter Tyler Traband has long been a part of the Milwaukee music scene. In addition to playing with Johnny on Washday and other bands, he's also led his own group.

These days, his day job is also a musical one. He writes music for TV, film and radio.

Now, Traband has a new CD out. "Love Songs Hate Songs" arrives four years after its predecessor, "Re-issue."

The new disc again features a mix of pop styles that all center on Traband's piano skills and his emotive voice, but this time, he says, his aim was to avoid the gloss of previous efforts, creating a grittier sound.

We asked Traband about what he's been up to since "Re-issue," about making "Love Songs Hate Songs" and more... It's been a while since the last CD, hasn't it?

Tyler Traband: The last CD was called "Re-issue"and was released in late 2008. Our plan – and our hope – was to have it mixed by a – not to be named – famous L.A. guy, but sadly, that didn't work out due to time constraints.

Since (that) release we've been holding down regular gigs at, among other places, the Milwaukee Ale House, Summerfest, Silver Creek Brewing Company, as well as a surprising number of private shows. I'm making a living composing for TV, radio and the occasional film. I also get to back up and record with some other great Milwaukee bands from time to time, including The Mike Benign Compulsion, Big Bang, Gyration and the always popular yet eternally mystifying Johnny on Washday.

OMC: Tell us about making the new one, "Love Songs Hate Songs."

TT: "Love Songs Hate Songs" was recorded at my professional home studio and took about six months to finish. We knocked out the bed tracks in two days and then I took my sweet time getting the rest of it together. It's interesting not being on the clock – kind of a double-edged sword. The freedom is really refreshing but it's way too easy to get caught up in the minutia.

At the end of the day, we ended up going for a raw, unpolished vibe on this one. Anyone who has heard our releases in the past knows things tend to be a little slick, and at times, awfully pretty. For me, this was an attempt to get right back to my roots as a writer, engineer and producer. I just wanted the tunes to speak for themselves, without a lot of production tricks. I spend my entire life working on a Digital Audio Workstation, where the weapons at your disposal are truly mind-boggling! Perfection is just a few keystrokes away.

Instead of editing the crap out of everything, and making everything perfect, this time we decided to let the rawness stand; to embrace it. It's so easy to suck the life out of a performance by comping multiple tracks, by editing out any imperfections. I decided to draw a line for myself in the sand. So, you resisted the manifold allures of technology to a large degree.

TT: I'm proud to say that on this CD there is no Auto-Tune, no drum samples, no MIDI, synths or samples, no vocoders, no audio to MIDI slaving and no "drum sound" replacement. This is just a few musicians doing what they do best, playing their instruments. Nearly every performance is a complete take with minimal editing and minimal overdubs. Every single note is played by a real person on a real instrument. It's true, at times the imperfections show, but hopefully so does the emotion in the performances.

I wasn't worried about it sounding flawless. Let's face it, some of the greatest songs in the history of rock 'n' roll are certainly not perfect! So much modern pop is soulless, I just couldn't stand to sound like that!

OMC: Is this your regular band or did you put these musicians together specifically for the record? Tell me a bit about them.

TT: Backing me up on "Love Songs Hate Songs" is most of my regular longtime band: Geoff Howard on bass, John Simons on guitar, Jon Anderson on sax, with our new friend Thor Bremer on the drums.

John Simons is a full-time mason, and is back in college to get his teaching certificate. He plays with tons of great musicians in Milwaukee, in both the jazz and pop genres, on bass, guitar and trombone.

Geoff Howard teaches bass privately, and again, plays with some great Milwaukee bands including "Off Tha Hook" and "Alpha Transit"

Jon Anderson was, and is, a band mate from (Johnny On) Washday and continues to play in Milwaukee and central Wisconsin with many groups, including the Kaleidoscope Saxophone Quartet,

Thor Bremer now resides in Chicago, carving a niche as a gigging and session cat, while still coming up to Milwaukee often to play with us, and other groups. He is an accomplished composer and writer.

OMC: Is there a release show?

TT: We play quite a bit, but as of right now we have no plans for an official CD release show. Who knows what the future will bring!


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