Page 3 of 4
Did you ever think about releasing the new album under anything other than your own name?
I was actually going to call [the project] something different. I was toying with the name "Singer;" I took it from the sewing machine company. Their text is really cool and beautiful, and I thought I could use a variation of it. I Googled it and nothing came up, and then I put in a little more effort and found out there's a band with that name on Drag City, and they just put out a record. It was too good to be true, though, I mean, that could've been cheesy for a solo venture. That was me nervously trying to get out of using my own name.
After a songwriting debut that was co-written with someone else and there always being connotations of "side projects" with the other bands throughout your career, is having sole ownership of an album even more nerve-racking?
With a solo thing, it can be as casual or serious as you want it to be. I’m serious about it—I’m serious about the songs I write—but if it sucks and it fails, and you’re name is attached to it, there’s no hiding from it. It’s all or nothing, which is kind of cool. You ever watch that Netflix series on famous albums? There’s one really great Lou Reed one about Transformer, and he’s talking about how his first record was a flop. I’m a huge Lou Reed and Velvet Underground fan, and I’ve always looked to him as a huge source of inspiration, not only in songwriting, but also in how the Velvet Underground were never really popular, then they had this sort of renaissance when they were done. I just love stories like that. But he has this great quote where he’s like, “If you had a record that flopped, you just make another record." Then he says, “You make a record, and then you have the rest of your life ahead of you.” I just really like that sentiment a lot.
In hindsight, if you could flip the order of your career thus far and have your solo record come first, then have The Babies stem from that, being free of any Woods "side-project" associations, would you go that route?
No. I think this is great. Woods taught me how to be in a band—how to tour and perform in front of an audience. Then The Babies taught me how to sing in front of an audience and how to write songs better. And I can take all of that, everything I've learned, onto this new thing.
When recording the album, did you think about how it was going to translate live? Or are you not looking to tour around it?
A lot of the record is going to be hard to always recreate live—there's a lot of organ, and there are a lot of really talented people on it [Tim Presley from White Fence, Cate Le Bon, Will Canzoneri from Darker My Love and Cass McCombs' band, etc.] who probably can't tour all the time. But that's another thing I really like about the solo idea. The freedom of it being that band, and then the next time it just being me. I absolutely want to play it live, but I want it to always be changing.