Editor’s Note: Special thanks to Evan of The Values for taking the time to talk with the band In Different Sounds about their latest offering entitled “Whale Jail”. The four-piece band out of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania is composed of Kate Kozak on keys, Jake Fuscia on drums, Lucas Waldburger on guitars, and Patrick Downey on bass, while everyone provides vocal duties in some way, shape, or form. In Different Sounds is currently playing shows in the Philadelphia area, along with various places in South New Jersey. In Different Sounds mixes a healthy blend of pop, alternative rock, synth, and folk music. Fans can find In Different Sounds at the following locations:
The production on this album is really clean and fresh. What was the recording process like? Who did you work with and how did they help fill in the gaps in what you guys could you do yourself?
Patrick – We recorded the instruments almost all separately. Jake laid down the drums, then I did the bass, then Lucas did the guitar and Kate added keys and other synth stuff. Because of all our schedules, we were mostly alone with Mike Britt (our sound engineer) when we were recording the instruments. Initially I was worried it would come out fragmented and disjointed, because we weren’t able to give feedback to each other in the moment, but it didn’t turn out that way. I think one of the reasons it didn’t is that Mike has a great ear and was genuinely invested in making the record sound great. He gives great suggestions and feedback. Another reason is that the being alone may have had its advantages. Maybe we took more risks and were more comfortable doing experimenting alone without fear of immediate critique from each other. I remember listening to it as each layer was added, and being blown away with what Lucas and Kate had added that we weren’t able to implement in a live practice setting. Kate did a great job doing sound design and vocal edits which is what I feel really put the polish on the whole thing. Also we had Kevin Bents master the whole thing. His work is really amazing.
Kate-I’m glad you like the production! This is our second time recurring with our dear friend Mike Britt. We recorded Jake Fuscia on drums first and separately (which we won’t do in the future so Mike can hear the songs with all the elements when deciding on drum sounds, mics, and mixing). Then Patrick laid down bass, then Lucas on guitar and lastly, I added keyboards and synths before and after vocals. I’m very involved with the vocal production on our records – so I did a large majority of vocal editing and taught Lucas how to edit vocals in Logic (thought Mike was using Protools). I wanted our sound to be really polished so I sent each instrument track to our friend Jake Detwiler (we work with a lot of Jakes) to align each track to the grid, so it was locked in time and honored the metronome. For our next album, I will probably send the tracks to Jake Detwiler as they are recorded so it’s already quantized before we add additional tracks instead of editing the rhythm section together. That will cut down on extraneous editing time, record drums, edit drums, record bass, edit bass, etc. If we lay down new tracks to good edits, the mixing will be easier, faster and we won’t have to go back too far to fix early mistakes in the process.
My production teacher in NYC mastered this. Kevin Bents was gnarly and knew exactly how to tie the EP together – we loved his master!
What did you learn during the recording process? What will you do differently next time you get in the studio?
Patrick – Everything takes twice as long as you think it will, especially vocals. I learned to not get attached to a first session’s worth of material. If it doesn’t work, it is worth taking the time and spending the money to get it right. Next time around, having everything mapped out and fully realized before a session would really cut down on time. I didn’t even realize I was varying the vocal melody slightly every time I sang a given song until I tried to do several takes.
Kate-I think I just answered this in the last question – i definitely want us to edit each track before adding new ones. Also, we will record drums with the band playing along for maximum understanding of the vision – Mike Britt is a boss and wants to absorb your vision.
I know that you have multiple songwriters in the band, how do you share the songwriting duties? Does having multiple songwriters cause tension in the band?
Patrick – Generally, each of us take turns bringing a mostly finished song to the band, and let the other members arrange their parts and give input on the arrangement. It helps that there are and odd number of writers, because if there is a dispute, we usually settle it with a vote. It can definitely be hard to open up a song to other people adding and changing things, but It helps us have a more consistent sound. We are all pretty good at relinquishing complete control over our material. Sometimes we do write songs more as a group, and those are the most fun. We are trying to do this more often because the results are usually better in my opinion. Whale Jail (the song) is a good example of this.
Kate-Patrick answered this nicely – I would say the songwriting process in this band and fun and productive. It’s been fun and easy. I LOVE Patrick and Lucas’s songs and we supplement each other’s writing and vision with ease.
I know you use a keytar, the raddest instrument this side of the 80s, in a lot of your music. How did that happen? Did you randomly get one or was it more of a deliberate decision to include it in your music?
Patrick – When we first started out, we sort of joked that Kate should get a keytar because every band needs a gimmick right? Lucas got one for Kate for her birthday (or maybe christmas?) and it actually ended up being really sweet.
Kate-Patrick also answered this well – Lucas and Patrick surprised me with an Alesis Vortex keytar (it’s just a midi controller that looks cool) and we picked sounds on Logic Pro to use for each song where the we though the key tar was appropriate. The pitch wheel and octave buttons have been written very specifically into our recent music, so unfortunately not any midi controller will do. My keytar is in the shop right now. Second time.
I really like the synth sounds you use in this how much of it comes from your keytar and how much comes from other keyboards?
Patrick – Kate can probably answer this (and the above question) a little better, but most of the really bendy out-there synths come from the keytar, and most of the mellower piano and organ sounds come from Kate’s Nord keyboard. The Nord has built-in voices, and the keytar uses synths from Kate’s computer.
Kate-It’s all from Logic Pro X, we picked them and designed them from there. On the Whale Jail EP, you will hear Logic synths and all piano/electric piano work was done on my Nord – the newest addition to IDS’s arsenal.
‘Tired History’ has such a great urgency to it. It feels like a song that was bursting out of you. What is this song about? What inspired you to write ‘Tired History’?
Kate-Take it away, Patrick. This song may be our catchiest – my sister listened to it 100 times in the the first four days it was posted and released.
Patrick – This is pretty cliche, but it came out of a break-up. One of my favorite books is Still Life with Woodpecker by Tom Robbins. Much of the book revolves around the question of how to make love stay. I was thinking a lot about that question when I wrote the lyrics for this one. The break-up came as a surprise to me. I thought that we had the formula and we were different from all those other couples who fight constantly or cheat on each other. The song is partially laughing at myself for being oblivious and conceited, and partially a feeling of frustration at being unable to “make it stay.” It comes less from the raw phase of heartbreak, and more from the sardonic and bitter end of the process of getting over someone.
The song ‘The Sunrise Ruins All My Parties’ opens with the lines: ‘Anything goes in the pre-dawn glow, the cock hasn’t crowed and our blood runs slow and thick through our veins, when all that remains of the night is a few shorts minutes and counting,’ which I think is such a perfect way to describe the energy of those late night/early morning moments. Is this song about a specific event or is it more inspired by a the ubiquitous feeling everyone gets as night turns into day?
Kate-Again, another strong Patrick song. This was an early IDS song and was ultimately Patrick’s vision. It was also one of the first songs that had specific keytar synth compositions. Doesn’t Pat sing it beautifully?
Patrick – I wrote this song in high school. I grew up in Lancaster PA which is pretty rural. I ended up doing a lot of partying in fields and barns and around fires late into the night. People would drop of and go to sleep over the course of the night, but I was always among the last few who stayed up bullshitting and thinking we were really smart and deep and we shared some secret knowledge. Then the sun would start to brighten the sky, and I would get this awful sinking feeling knowing that in the morning we would just be hungover kids who hadn’t slept enough last night. So I guess the lyric (and maybe the whole song) is about being bummed that I have to go to sleep and stop talking in circles with my friends.
And there you have it! Add this EP to your Spotify playlist!