Recovery Council is an eclectic mix of genres, ranging from easy listening dream-pop to heavy alternative rock, along the lines of The Breeders or Smashing Pumpkins. The band visionary is Rebeca Qualls, who played almost all the instruments on the latest release, Gentle Stories, which came out earlier this year. I caught up with Rebeca to ask about the new album and their upcoming area shows.
Who are the band members on Gentle Stories?
I was a one-woman band; I was the guitarist, vocalist, bassist, keyboardist, electronic beats-and-programming person, and sound engineer, but the dynamics of this album couldn’t have been possible without the help of drummer Jeff Trenholm, from Clash Of Influence, who recorded and engineered all the acoustic drums. He’s an excellent drummer and a great guy, and will be part of the live band when Recovery Council takes to the road. In the live band I’ll be focusing on guitar and vocals with possibly some keys. I now have expanded from a duo to a power trio, with me on guitar, keys and vocals, Jeff on drums and Isidro “Sid” Santos on bass.
How would you describe the varied musical styles of Recovery Council?
The definition of our sound: Bouncing around the “what the hell do we call this combination of easy/heavy stuff?” question brought us to come up our own genre. “yacht-core.” On the whole, it combines elements of easy, breezy ’70s “yacht-rock” with ’90s post-punk.
How does the songwriting process work for you?
The songwriting process is also a mixed bag. Sometimes songs begin around a melody, a phrase, some other external stimulus or something I come up with on guitar, bass or keyboard. What I also find is that what I come up with seems to inadvertently get filtered through by the music I’ve been listening to at the time, which, you guessed it, is quite varied. During this album I was cycling through ‘60s and ‘70s library music, such as Apollo Sound and kpm, Wes Montgomery, Helmet, Hüsker Dü, Steely Dan, Gang of Four, the Budos Band, Prong, Idris Muhammad and Yaz.
Are those your primary musical influences?
As I’m sure is the case for lots of musicians and bands, influences are so many and all over the place. What I just mentioned are only a few. I love to listen to, and experiment with, a lot of different types of music but often find myself leaning toward two opposite ends of the spectrum, such as jazz, easy listening and metal. Abstract, schlocky and heavy seem to be particular preferences!
What are your goals, both professionally and musically?
We are rehearsing and I’m pitching the album with the goal of quality over quantity with gigs, although more is usually not a bad thing. What I mean by that is getting into the right venues where we can reach the right people, hopefully opening for or even sharing a bill with some other great bands in the near future. With the music, I see it continuing to evolve. I think it takes time to come into your own and this album definitely included some experimentation. But both musically and professionally, I plan to take this as far as I possibly can. Creating music is what I love to do, I’ve been doing it since I was a wee little kid, and have no plans of stopping. At the same time I realize the challenge of the business end of it and have become more interested in the strategies behind getting the music to the right ears, finding the people who will really enjoy it and become loyal listeners.
Where did the name come from?
The band name was actually kind of a fluke! Many moons ago—2003-ish—this building caught my eye while going through rural Ohio. It was a small, nondescript white building with signs on the front and sides that just said “Recovery Council.” There was something kind of intriguing about this building, not really because of what it was. It was just an image that stuck with me. And even though I had an idea of what it was I had never heard it called a Recovery Council before. I later joked about starting an alt-country project kind of in the vein of Jay Farrar and calling it Recovery Council. But, like the imagery of the building, the name just kind of stuck, even if the music never came out that way. Of course, it can mean just about anything to anyone. If you look at it as a refuge for what ails you, maybe you’ve come to the right place. I guess it’s no secret that music is a multi-purpose outlet so it makes sense.
How did the recording process work, since you played most of the instruments yourself?
Although two people played on this album, we never worked in the same room together during the whole thing. Everything was done over the Internet. Jeff sent me his recorded/engineered drum tracks, and I just dropped them in with my tracks and mixed it all down.
How can people find you?
The website is recoverycouncilmusic.com, and you can find me on Facebook at facebook.com/recoverycouncil, and Twitter at @recoverycouncil.
Recovery Council will be performing on Oct. 12 at Fat Baby in New York, on Nov. 1 at Trash Bar in Brooklyn and Nov. 19 at The Loop Lounge in Passaic Park, NJ.