Kinetix on recording at the Blasting Room, getting to perform at the Fillmore and offering up a stoner-approved rendition of "Bohemian Rhapsody"
In this week's paper, we ran excerpts of Andy Thomas's recent conversation with the members of Kinetix in Rough Mixes. That Q&A barely scratched the surface. After the jump, you'll find not only Thomas's exchange with band in its entirety but the transcript from Dutch Seyfarth's recent chat with the guys, as well. Both interviews are pretty in-depth, and should give you a good sense of who these musicians are and what makes them tick.
Westword (Dutch Seyfarth): The Blasting Room Studios in Fort Collins is more well known for recording hard rock and punk bands: How did your band come to the decision to record there?
Josh Fairman: We had heard other records from bands like Rise Against, Black Flag and the Flobots, who recorded there, and were very impressed. Our Producer Andy G. from the Flobots told us we would really be missing out if we didn't check it out. We did one song there in like a day; it kicked so much ass and sounded so big, we decided to do as much of the record there as we could. Those guys are no joke.
Jack Gargan: I had first heard about Blasting Room through listening to bands like Rise Against and Black Flag, both of whom have recorded there, and were massive influences in my development as an artist. Then, we played NYE 2009 with the Flobots at the Gothic, and that one show ended up uniting our bands pretty closely. Andy Guerrero from Flobots loved our band that night, and he ended up signing on to produce this album.
We started the recording at a few different studios but hadn't found the sound we were looking for when the Flobots asked us to support their entire Fall 2009 tour; we, of course, said "yes," and ended up becoming even closer with Andy during the run. The Flobots had just wrapped Survival Story up there, and Andy couldn't stop gushing about Blasting Room and Jason Livermore, and basically said, "We're taking the Kinetix album there."
WW (DS): Did working with Jason Livermore and the Blasting Room studio experience bring anything new or unexpected to the final album's
JF: Yes, it brought a bunch of balls. He managed to make a lot of the songs sound huge, and he definitely helped pick a lot of the takes. It was easy to go off of his opinion because of his experience, and the fact that he is a Monster of Rock.
He also helped us change some of the songs to make more sense. Jason is good at cutting through the bullshit and getting what's important out of a song. He also helped keep us from being perfectionists. He would be like, "That's just character," and he was right.
JG: He really is a genius behind the board. Whenever we had an idea about drums sounds or what kind of compression we wanted on the snare or kick, within seconds he would have it dialed in and be able to show us the differences. The drum locker up there was full of snare drums that all had a unique color. He helped me choose snare drums for some songs and made recommendations, like whether to use the small brass snare for the verse or the big maple snare for the chorus. His general confidence and coolness helped bring out the best performance in all of us. He made the sounds on the album just flat awesome and very different than any of our other records. The drum sounds are unlike anything we have done in the past and it was just so kick-ass.
WW (DS): How long did the songwriting and arrangement process take for the new album?
JF: We spent a better part of a year writing and recording. We did a lot of pre-production with our producer Andy, and our good friend and engineer Greg McRae, just working on the songs. The studio is a very different animal than a live show. We know what works live, but sometimes that stuff doesn't work in the studio, so we really took our time to develop these songs and make them completed projects.
JG: Roughly a year or so. It was really cool how these songs evolved. Some of them were written on the road at a soundcheck or in the van as a basic idea. Others were conceived by Adam, Eric, Josh, or Jordan, and then we would work them down and strip them or embellish them as a group during rehearsals.
We had worked hard on the pre-production several different times throughout the year, mostly in the summer and on our tours before we went to the studio. The cool thing about writing a song and taking it on the road before you record it is that sometimes it takes on a totally new life; the live energy gives the song a nitrous boost. In other cases, it makes us realize what works and what doesn't, or it simply mangles the song past the point of no return. The point is, it took a long time!
WW (DS): After five years of being in a band, have you achieved any personal career highlights worth sharing?
JF: I would say we have achieved many things that I've dreamed about since I was a kid. We've repeatedly toured nationally, played over 200 different cities and towns, drove over 200,000 miles, and miraculously have stuck together. We still have all original members, and we aim to keep it that way; we're a weird, dysfunctional, hilarious family, and that doesn't explain the half of it.
But seriously, some of our festival sets, like our late night sets at the Ten Thousand Lakes Festival, were big highlights, and, of course, getting to play the Fillmore Auditorium in Denver was a dream come true. I wasn't born in Denver, but eight years ago, when I came here, I was like, 'Will I ever get to play on that stage?' Now we've gotten to do it twice. That was definitely a big deal for us. Now I dream of Red Rocks, and keep the fingers crossed.
JG: Growing up in Denver, all I did was go see shows at the Fillmore. When we got offered to play the Fillmore on Halloween 2008, that was a milestone of my musical career. I have been in the audience so many times watching bands crush that stage, and then I got my shot ... not just once, but twice. Those times where I got to get on that stage in my hometown in front of my friends and family were two extraordinary gigs for me. It made me want to achieve more and keep working as hard as I can to get to bigger stages, and, hopefully, play Red Rocks!