The Walkmen Go to Heaven

05/29/2012 4:00 AM |

Was that part of the writing process or something that happened more in the studio?

Yeah, it was in the writing. Paul Maroon will write a lot of guitar lines, which will be the start of a lot of songs, and then I’ll write the vocals to match the guitars. It’s fun, it’s a lot of our sound. With something like “Angela” or something like that that’s really high-energy, and the reason the vocals get so high is that I’m really writing it to match that Rickenbacker treble, like… high, tenor singing. But this time we did a lot of things where we’d be like, “Let’s change that key again.” We wanted to make the vocals much more present, and bringing them down a little bit and sometimes making them a little calmer-sounding really brings out a lot more presence in them, so I think that was a really big step for us.

There’s obviously been a lot of talk over the past few years about the death of the album, with the internet and whatever different gadgets and apps changing how we interact with music. But to me, Heaven seems almost old-fashioned, refreshingly so, in its peaks and valleys, the way it builds and releases repeatedly throughout. Is that something you guys have consciously ignored, the movement away from that sort of thing being valued?

It’s funny, because we’ve been doing this for so long that you think you’re gonna be all mature about the last couple steps, you know… like song order, and you’re gonna let things go and you’re gonna be able to work something out. But this is the biggest battle for song-order we’ve ever had. It went on for weeks and months. People got so worked up about it. I mean, it was really ugly. Everybody felt really strongly. It got really heated many, many times.

I love the idea that people would buy the vinyl and listen to it in order, because that’s what we made and that’s our idea. But once you come up with the final order and you turn it into the record company and the management company… I mean, it used to be that everybody would be like, “No, no, no, you have to put the single first.” They don’t give a shit anymore. It’s a little disheartening because you realize they don’t care, because people are just gonna click through on their iPod or whatever.