Made Out Of Babies: Interview With Julie Xmas And Brendan Tobin Patrick Slevin June 18, 2008 Interviews Just listening to a couple of tracks from Trophy or from Coward, the sound is so much thinner, comparatively. It almost feels like I’m missing certain tracks from the other two records. There’s just so much more going on, structurally the songs are denser. Julie: Because of the studio and because of the extra recording time and because of all the stuff that we have done in the past, working up to this point, we learned enough about what we wanted to do, and also decided that we were not going to think too much about what was not the right music to make, so we gave ourselves a lot of room to experiment with different things. Brendan worked really hard in the studio, so we got to spend a lot of time, and then we had Andrew, so the whole thing became a lot of experimenting with layers. It’s not to say that some of the stuff you hear is not first try stuff, I felt that that was still part of it for us, the way it was with Steve Albini where we were still writing as we were recording. This time around it seemed like it depended more about what the song itself called for. We were able to respond to that, no matter what it was. Brendan: I think a lot of that was Andrew too. As organized as we were going in, as laid out as it was, he knew that that was part of our whole thing, to have this impulsive, kind of raw feeling to our playing and everything and the vocals and everything and he was very conscious of that as well the whole time, being really meticulous but at the same time having a real performance rather than something that was manufactured. Particularly in the guitars though, as you say you were hopping on pedals and stuff, there’s just a much wider array of tones you’re working with too. Is that just having a studio, playing around with production stuff? Brendan: That’s just the luxury of time too. We recorded all the guitars here but he came here and he and I did it together, it was basically we had every amplifier that I had set up and every mic I had set up and it would basically be like, for each individual part of each song we would concentrate on which sound was necessary for each individual part. I’d be playing one whole section of a song and then we’d get to the next part and he’d say, ‘This should have a little more of this amp, and a little less that, and we should maybe add a little of this here, and I’ll move this mic.’ And it was just that for four days or so, just he and I down in my basement sweating it out (laughs). With Julie, he did the same thing, where there were different mics being used, depending on the song and the part, different mics that added more abrasiveness to the part or things that were smoother to make things that were more sing-songy and sweet sound that way. Even the sounds take on the character of the part, not just the playing or the singing, the actual technique of the recording would match up with the part. It was so much more thought out than I could have ever imagined (laughs). He brought so much more depth to the songs than was even there to begin with. Julie: There was a lot of that, but Andrew is one of those people that makes you think, if you’re really good at it, it looks easy, that kind of thing. If you go to see the live performance you’re going to see something that’s pretty close to the album. That’s what we’re aiming for. There was some playing around but it was never something that altered the true performance. There were touches here and there, and he brought to the table what he knew how to do. But it was never something that made it false, which is why I think that even though there are some things happening from song to song, you can still as a listener report that it sounds unpolished. Well, I don’t think it’s an album that you couldn’t pull off live. Julie: Well, we’ll see (laughs). The live show is going to be very different from this album, as from the last one too, because our aim is to recreate the album to the most extent possible, so it’s going to involve me looping samples on stage, sometimes live, and Brendan running two guitars. We’re all going to have to do things a little differently, we’re going to have to bump it up a little bit to pull this one off, I think. But I know we can do it because it’s all stuff that we wrote and we worked on together, and once the music starts, we all get really into it. I was listening to some of the tracks and listening to the layered vocals, and thinking I don’t know if I would like that song as much live if the doubled vocals wasn’t happening across sections. So yeah, I’m assuming that it’s going to be a little challenging for you. [Everyone laughs.] Julie: (laughs) I like that we all start laughing after that. Brendan: We were nervous enough, thanks Patrick. Julie: Lots of support, thanks! Well we’ll see, geez. Another interviewer was telling us he was going to show up to the record release just to watch the trainwreck! (laughs) But he didn’t mean it in a terrible way, he was cool. The response to the album has been way, way better than we thought it was going to be. We didn’t know how it was going to go exactly, but people seem to be really, really be liking it, which is awesome. Brendan: While we were doing it, I was thinking and said aloud once or twice, ‘The people who liked us before are going to either like or hate it.’ (laughs) Julie: That always seems to be the case with us. We rarely seem to be the kind of band where somebody’s like, ‘I like them sometimes,’ or ‘They’re alright.’ People seem to either hate us with a passion or be really for it. I don’t think anything’s really changed, we’re still kind of a polarizing force. I’m going to just say force. 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