So first I must ask. How are you dealing with this month so far? You’re halfway through the month that includes the vinyl release of your first album, an EP of piano renditions of a couple songs from the debut, and the release of your second full length album, Who You Are Is Not Enough. Is the stress getting to you yet?
Well, to be honest, we didn't really plan for all of these releases to happen at once. Not even remotely this close together actually. Somehow over the past 6 months or so this all just fell into our laps all at the same time. It's definitely not the most traditional way for a band to go about releasing material. We were a little worried that we'd be over saturating everyone with this much going on at once, but so far we're pretty happy with the response and how everything is progressing. Other than having to show up for our jobs everyday, I'd say the stress level isn't too bad. We're just happy to get all this new/old/different out to all of our fans.
Let’s start with the vinyl release. How long in the running was the plan to make a vinyl copy of the record?
We had always wanted to do vinyl. Since day one. Back in the early spring, we had started to make plans on our own to eventually release Why Aren't I Home? on vinyl. We were working hard to put all of this together, but knew that a release would be far, far off in the future. A few of us went to go see our buds in Gates and Vasudeva play a show up in New Brunswick and met up with Dan Marter. Dan is the owner of InTheClouds records. We spoke at the show, exchanged some emails, drank a few beers, made some plans, and all of a sudden we were pressing our debut record on vinyl. InTheClouds really streamlined the whole process and we are so thankful that Dan believed in this release and put endless hours of effort into it.
You guys went all out with the packaging of the LP, hand applying touch sensitive ink to the packaging. Why specifically the touch sensitive ink, and how does it go along with the album’s themes and the overall plan for the packaging of the record?
Dan (InTheClouds), actually had just about all the ideas for the packaging. He explained that the album gave him this "haunting" feeling, and felt that the heat-sensitive ink was a great depiction of that. As far as the colors, we all agreed on that together. John (drums), did all the design and layout of the cover, the images on the vinyl, as well as the poster that's included in the packaging, which includes edited liner notes from the first pressing of our CD and incorporates themes and images from that pressing. John has been doing all of our art work over the years actually.
Now to the piano EP. Why piano recreations of the songs?
Garrett had always been playing some of the songs on piano. When we were tracking the new record with Kevin Dye (gates), we figured we'd try to lay down a few piano tracks of old songs and see how they came out. The versions of these songs are arranged a bit differently and are entirely stripped down, but I think they convey the same emotions that the full-band versions of these songs do. They may even a bit more desperate and sad. We just wanted to give everyone an alternative version to listen to since we had arranged them.
Why did you decide to choose those specific four songs to recreate on the piano?
Those four songs translated really well to piano. Specifically "Speaking For Everyone". We had always wanted to try different versions of that song. It means a lot to us and we felt like it may have been overlooked on our record. We haven't even played it live in a few years. Maybe there will be other versions in the future...
Let’s get to the record. It’s five songs, adding up to a little over 30 minutes. Quite a big difference from the more conventional album structure of the debut, which was an 11 song, 48 minute effort. What do you feel made the songs end up so different structurally than the debut?
Well a lot of the themes are instrumental. As far as the lyrics, they are in tribute to a friend who passed away. The lyrics, as well as the album title are meant to represent what the five of us have gone through since that time, including the formation of our band, and how all of our frustrations and shortcomings are nothing comparable to the loss of one's life.
Other than the structural differences, what are the differences between this album and the last?
The new album has a lot of highs and lows. Even more dynamic range than the last. We also did a lot of extra "sounds" while tracking with Kevin. He was awesome to work with and I think he broadened our sound as a band a lot.
It seems pretty obvious that this release is not on Deep Elm Records. What’s going on there?
We decided to release this record on our own. It was a decision that we took a long time to come up with. Why Aren't I Home? coming out on Deep Elm was honestly one of the proudest days we've all had in our lives. We have a great relationship with them and couldn't be more grateful for what they've done for us and continue to do. This release will be done on our own, for now at least. We have very specific plans for this release that we have put a lot of time, effort, and passion in to.
You haven’t announced any real release plans for the upcoming album. You said it’s going to be something fairly special though. Can you give us any information about what it’s going to be? Any physical copies out on the release date?
We are keeping certain details about the release under wraps still. However, we think everyone will be pleased when they find out what those details are. Physical copies will be available, and a pre-order for those physical copies will go live on the release date.
Are you guys planning any wider spread tours coming up?
We're really trying to. We promise. Hopefully putting some stuff together for early fall. As soon as we know, you'll all know.
Any final things you want to say?
Thanks for all the awesome questions and supporting us over the past few years! We are super excited for everyone to hear what we've been working on. We literally can't thank or fans, friends, and families enough for the past few years. Who You Are Is Not Enough is out 6.26.12. Mark your calendars!
All our love,
I'd like to again thank Athletics for answering our questions. Who You Are Is Not Enough is a fantastic continuation of the Athletics saga, and I know the band can not wait for everyone to listen. If you haven't yet, you can order Why Aren't I Home? on vinyl here, and purchase the Stop Torturing Yourself EP here. Follow the band on Facebook for upcoming information regarding preorders and much more right here, and check back in here on Monday, June 25th for a free download of III on our upcoming sampler Dizcovering Muzik: Volume Two.