McLovins Discuss New Album, Life After School, Playing with Perpetual Groove October 2, 2015 10:49
It's no secret that we are big fans of McLovins. We were lucky enough to learn about these guys when they blew up the internet at age 15. Since that time in 2009, the band has released two EP's and four full length albums, while touring the country and balancing their education simultaneously. On Monday, October 5th, the band will release their 5th studio album, McLovins. We caught up with the guys last night while they traveled to Columbus, Ohio for tonight's show at Scarlet & Grey Cafe to all of the latest scoop.
McLovins: Jake Huffman, Jason Ott, Justin Berger, Atticus Kelly
Interview by Jordan Kirkland - Live & Listen
After six years of playing and touring while balancing academics, school is finally out of the way. How excited are you guys to focus strictly on the music?
Justin: It's basically like a whole new life. We're ready to make this work. It's everything that we want to do, so all of our focus is being put into touring, the album, the music... everything that involves the live show.
Atticus: Plus we get to hit the markets that we weren't able to hit when people were in school. For example, a market like Syracuse, that has a big college population that wouldn't be there while we were playing. So it really opens things up a bit.
Jake: Definitely. We're all about this being a marathon and not a sprint. We're all in this for the long haul. We have a legit five year plan for this thing, and we're all super excited just to get out and do this.
The new self-titled album drops on Monday, October 5th. Every new release is big for any band, but this one seems like it could be a real turning point for the band. Tell me about the preparation and recording process this go-round.
Jake: This time was much different than anything we've every tackled musically. The way we wrote these songs; the structure and the form of these songs was very calculated. There are a lot of drafts, versions, and demos that we did. A lot of the time we would write out the song, then jam it out, listen to it, and critique it. We'd then go back to the drawing board, and sometimes change the entire song and rebuild from the ground up. You can definitely tell when you listen to the record that it's a departure from what we've done before. It's a more mature step into the future for us musically.
Atticus: It's certainly calculated, but I think we went to great lengths to make sure that it still sounded organic, and didn't sound calculated. We had a lot of help from our producer, Bill Sherman, who is just about as qualified as they come to do anything musically, so that really helped. It was also the first time that we really had a true producer on an album. It used to be, especially in the early days, that we would go in and play live. We might do a few overdubs and whatnot, but this time we went in and so much of the feedback came from Bill. Just in that process, we really learned how to take notes from a producer and how to change the music. Ultimately, I think it made the songs a lot tighter and more easily accessible to people.
Jake: It's funny, you know? It's a much different album than the "jam band" that we have created, in the sense that the length of the songs are a lot shorter. I like to think that we took the part of the jam band that is very versatile and genre standing, and we made a very eclectic album. All the tracks are very different. It ranges from like country, to hard rock, to some funk. I think we did a pretty great job of making it a very well rounded album, but we kept the integrity of the songwriting, which I think is a little bit different than what some jam bands are going for right now. We're very excited for everyone to hear it.
Next Friday, the band returns to Brooklyn Bowl, one of the country's premier intimate venues. This time things are a little different. You're supporting Perpetual Groove on their highly anticipated reunion tour. How did this combo come together?
Justin: Well we're lucky that Jake has a nice personal connection with Brock (Butler), and they've shared a good bit of music and lyrics recently. And then their keyboardist, Matt McDonald, is actually a fan of one of my high school bands, somehow. I have no idea how that happened. There's quite a few small connections that helped these shows come together and help this relationship build.
Jake: I used to listen to Perpetual Groove when I first got my driver's license. I'd blast their music with the windows down. It's pretty incredible that now we're about to share the stage with them. I feel like it's such a good fit for us to open up for them. We're all super excited about it. It's gonna be a crazy night. We're actually doing two shows with them. We'll be with them in Denver in December. These are definitely two of the most anticipated shows in the history of our band.
I'm sure each tour has its theme with certain music that gets played in the van. Who seems to be in the lead so far on this tour?
Atticus: Normally, I'd say it would be me, but with this most recent run we had a bigger trailer, which opened up some extra room in the van. So I of course claimed the most comfortable seat, far away from the radio. So that didn't end up working out. But speaking of musical themes, we have closed every show on this run so far with
"Ophelia" by The Band, which has been interesting. We keep getting it more and more correct. Maybe someday we'll get it perfect.
Jake: As far as music played in the band, I think it's been different everytime we've jumped in there. Sometimes, it's been a little country. Sometime's its hip hop. Sometimes its...Twiddle (laughs). It has no rhyme or reason. That's for sure.
Listen to "Talk About It" and "Gold In The World" by McLovins
2016 will clearly be a big year for you guys. First full year out of school, as well as supporting an album which will still be very fresh. What kind of goals does the band have for the new year?
Jake: We're definitely going to try and get our show count upwards up 150, maybe 200 shows. I don't know if we'll actually make that mark, but that's the mindset we have going in. We're gonna play, play,play.
Atticus: Road warriors status!
Jake: We're gonna really tour this album out and really get our sound out there. We're gonna try to go into this with no strings attached and make as big of a splash as possible. Hopefully, people can feel the ripples in the water.
Jason: Definitely want to get more people out to our shows. I think we're gonna be focusing on that more. I don't mean that in a bad way, but we're trying to hit some new markets, take chances. Ultimately, keep coming to those markets and try to see real growth in 2016.
Atticus: I think that will really start to happen when we push the album and start embracing the sound of the new album, which we're actively doing. I think that the buzz will buzz itself.
We're exicted to bring McLovins back to Alabama in this Fall. They'll play the Blueberry Jam Sessions on November 22nd, along with The Revivalists, Earphunk, and Maradeen, They will also play Funksgiving on November 22nd, along with Robert Randolph & The Family Band and BYOG.