How did you end up changing over to The End records?
Julie: I think The End, when we were talking about making this album we decided that we already knew that it was going to get put out and we weren’t really sure about one form but we all unanimously decided to concentrate about the actual music. But when it came time to think about putting it out they were there, willing, and they were really excited about putting out our stuff and we just felt that what we wanted was in keeping with what we were doing for this record.
Brendan: Their name had actually come up awhile ago, because a friend of Cooper’s had talked to them and when they found out that he was friends with us and knew us, actually talked to him about if he could get in contact with us and if we were looking. We kind of had heard of the label before and all that kind of stuff, and this friend of mine who I saw around occasionally at parties or at get togethers with friends, one night I was talking to him and it turns out he had worked with a couple of labels before, at Earache and before in the accounting department, and I asked him where he was working at now and it turned out to be The End. Then I started talking to him, and one day I went in there to just meet up with him to go out and have lunch or whatever, and I kind of had curiosity, I wanted to see what the office looked like, the operation or whatever. When I got there, he had already eaten lunch, and when I walked in, everybody who worked at the label was sitting in the little meeting room, waiting to meet me. And basically kind of commenced with giving me a hard sell.
You got trapped?
Brendan: (laughs) I wouldn’t say so much trapped.
Julie: Brendan was totally psyched about it when they came out of the meeting.
Brendan: I was, really, I kind of was kind of shocked at how organized and together the place was and how much they were doing, I wasn’t really familiar with any of the bands they put out, other than I knew they just had done the new Sleepytime Gorilla Museum record and it was just interesting to see, I was really surprised at what an operation it was over there and how together they really are, and I was kind of excited after I left that meeting and you know talked to everybody about it. I have to say it was still up in the air up until, we were still finishing writing the record, and we hadn’t really committed to anything yet. And then a couple of them came by the studio one day to see it, we talked a little bit more, and basically got a really good feeling from it, and they were really into it, so. We kind of felt like it was time to do something other than Neurot for a record. They did great things for us, very appreciative of everything they did do, but we all just agreed it was time for something else.
Yeah, well you got a record label in your backyard I guess. That’s alright.
Brendan: Yeah, they literally are, they’re a couple subway stops away. And they’re kind of a really self-contained operation. I think all our merch they’re going to do in house.
Yeah they do everything.
Brendan: It was kind of a no-brainer.
Julie: They’re all really cool guys, and they work extremely hard. It was kind of an easy choice.
I’m sure it was. It’s like, ‘You guys are going to do everything?’
‘I don’t have to worry about this at all?’
Julie: My apartment is filthy. Send somebody over man.
What kind of themes are you working with on this album?
Julie: I think I’m doing the same thing as I was doing on Coward. I think I may have become a little bit more adept at switching characters, but I definitely do the same thing where whenever the boys would present me with a song, it would be something that I would treat as developing a character that would be in this world that they were describing with their music and respond to it that way. That seems to be the way I write lyrics, if I had to look at it and analyze it myself, which I do all the time. And that’s basically what I do. Some of them, it’s really obvious. Like ‘The Major’ or ‘The Stranger.’ Those are really easy to see who the characters are. Some of the other ones are a little bit more difficult. That’s basically how I write lyrics.
Do you go in with a character beforehand, or do things present themselves?
Julie: They present themselves. Somebody asked me this and I realized that I do take some of my own experiences and weave them into a character, sort of like blowing up one moment of your life to make it bigger and fit the song. But yeah. I sort of think that, I don’t know how a lot of singers work, but I’m the kind of singer that responds instinctively to the music. I don’t go in with preconceived ideas unless I communicate those to the boys first, or I hear it in the music as they’re developing their own ideas and sort of make it happen while they’re creating a song, but usually I’ll just respond to what they’ve already done.
Generally I work after the fact, I prefer it that way. Which is not to say that changes don’t happen to the music, but I’m very new to starting to write my own music, generally I leave that to people who actually know what they’re doing, or other people whom I have worked with. But with album, and the other two, I’m definitely working with what they come to the table with.
I was interviewing Jarboe a few months ago, and she was saying all she does is create characters and perform them on stage.
Julie: I don’t really know too much about her and how she works. I know I should because there are a lot of parallels drawn, but I don’t know. But I also don’t think I can tell that as easily from her singing as you might be able to with mine, but that might be a style point.
Yeah, maybe. She’s actually on The End now. Maybe you’ll run into her at the office.
Julie: (laughs) Yeah maybe.
You guys just punch in every day right?
Julie: Yeah we do. It’s just like a regular job, don’t let anybody tell you anything different.
Brendan: Except we don’t get paid for this one.
Julie: Always somebody eating your fucking lunch in the fridge, exactly the same thing.