Straylight Run: Interview With John Nolan

Is anything being planned for the next record?

Yeah, we’ve been writing for a while, since before the record came out.We had a few songs that were new and not quite ready to be put on the last album. We have like 10 or 11 new songs, actually, that are not all completely finished, but are all basic ideas for songs that we all have to get together and work out.

Any idea when you’d be recording?

I don’t know, I really don’t know. I would hope it’s going to be sooner than later, but most likely we’re going to be touring all through the summer, so we’re going to need some time before we record to sit down and work on the songs together and probably do some pre-production recordings. I would say ideally by next winter to be recording. I don’t know if it’s going to be possible, but I don’t know if it’s going to happen.

Is that how it works? The songs come mostly written and everyone sits down and puts in?

It’s kind of just like, me and Michelle just bring an acoustic song to the band and sometimes parts get rearranged, sometimes it stays the exact same structure, just when everyone adds their parts to it, it takes on a different feel. That’s basically what it is, they’re kind of acoustic songs.

There’s a few that are also full songs, but I’ve kind of done drum machine there. We haven’t really done the second part of the songwriting process, which is where everybody puts in their two cents to the songs.

Doing it that way, how do you know how much fleshing out a song really needs?

It’s hard to tell actually sometimes. That’s actually interesting because it’s always difficult. Sometimes something can be much better in a more stripped-down, basic form, and everyone’s layering stuff on top of it can take away from it. I don’t know, it’s kind of hard to tell.

I think you just have to feel it out, and you have to be open to a lot of different possibilities. You have to keep in mind that maybe it’s better to leave this alone and not throw a lot of stuff on top of it, or try a lot of different things and keep an open mind about which one might be the best way to interpret the song.

How much of a part would a producer play in that for you guys?

So far, and I actually foresee less involvement with producers in the future, it’s been very little because before we recorded our last album, we toured for a year playing all the songs that were going to be on the record. That really gave us a chance to let the songs develop and the songs really changed a lot over the course of that year. We pretty much did all of the work of deciding how the songs should be structured and what the feel should be. We were pretty confident when we came into the studio, so we didn’t need much involvement from a producer on that level.

You guys are playing Bamboozle this year. What are the plans for after that?

After Bamboozle, nothing is set yet, but we’ll probably be going on a short part of The Get Up Kids, of the last tour they’re doing, and then trying to do some European and UK festivals this summer.

Do you prefer playing the big festivals or touring, doing your own shows or supporting someone else?

I like them both. It’s very different playing a festival. One thing that’s cool is if you get on the right day with the right group of bands you can be hanging out with a lot of people that you’re friends with in all the bands, and it’s kind of cool to have that many people in bands you like all around for an entire day.

But the festivals are usually kind of hectic and you’re kind of rushed when it’s you’re time to play. You’re rushed on stage and you’re rushed off and it’s kind of hectic getting loaded in with all the vans. It’s pretty crazy.

It’s definitely a different kind of experience than doing your own shows. I couldn’t do an all festival show tour, it would get kind of crazy, but once in a while it’s fun.

Straylight Run’s self-titled Victory Records debut is available now. You can catch them on Friday, April 29 at Bamboozle in Asbury Park, NJ.