Josh till­man on pro­duc­ers, re­lease cy­cles and “call­ing the shots” with gui­tarists

UNCUT - - New Albums -

The FJM al­bum this feels clos­est to, mu­si­cally, may be Fear Fun. Was there any at­tempt to get back to your ‘roots’?

GFC was a lot like Fear Fun in that I was work­ing with some­one new [ Jonathan

Rado] in a pretty low-stakes sit­u­a­tion. You’ve also got a lot of me over­dub­bing my­self, which lends the rhythm tracks over­all a cer­tain sea­sick­ness.

Pure Com­edy was such an epic – mu­si­cally, lyri­cally and tex­tu­rally. Was this al­bum a di­rect re­ac­tion to that?

In hind­sight, the en­nui in Pure Com­edy would prob­a­bly have more nat­u­rally suited it­self to the mid- to lo-fi pro­duc­tion style of this al­bum. Con­versely, ex­pen­sive-sound­ing heart­break bal­lads al­ways go over pretty well, so… just goes to show what I know about all this.

This fol­lows very soon af­ter

Pure Com­edy – was that part of a plan, or rather the re­sult of a flood of new songs?

This one needed to go down near the blast site, so to speak. If I had waited the in­dus­try stan­dard amount of time be­tween cy­cles I might not have been able to find a way back into the songs.

“Hang­out…” has a real Bea­tles feel (much like “…Sally Hatchet”). Are they an im­por­tant in­spi­ra­tion for you?

Me ref­er­enc­ing ‘The White Al­bum’ in the stu­dio has be­come a bit of a run­ning joke.

You have a great way with an un­ex­pected melody/har­mony (“Mr Till­man”, par­tic­u­larly, is al­most modal). Is this some­thing that you con­sciously work on, or does it come nat­u­rally?

What­ever that is comes nat­u­rally – for the most part I could only de­scribe what I’m do­ing mu­si­cally in the broad­est terms pos­si­ble.

This is your first al­bum with­out Jonathan Wil­son as the pri­mary pro­ducer – why was that?

He’s out with Roger Wa­ters, but he gave the whole thing a once over with me when he had a break be­tween tours.

What was it like work­ing with Jonathan Rado? What does he bring to the process?

I knew Rado and I would get along the first time I worked with him on an Adam Green track. I’m so thank­ful he came into the pic­ture at the mo­ment he did. We were mu­tual fans and I think both ex­cited to see what new di­men­sion the other had go­ing. Dave Cer­mi­nara, Wil­son’s en­gi­neer, was also re­ally in­volved all the way through on the record. Dave and I have both learned so much from Jojo, it’s kind of like he’s there any­way.

Are you feel­ing in­creas­ingly com­fort­able call­ing the shots, ar­range­ment-wise, in the stu­dio?

Com­mu­ni­cat­ing to lead gui­tar play­ers still drives me up the wall. I’ll sing lead parts to peo­ple and won’t let them off the hook for how­ever long it takes. The gui­tar leads on …

Honey­bear un­der­went tons of comp­ing and edit­ing un­til I was happy. Far fewer shots have to be called once you have peo­ple around you trust. Peo­ple even­tu­ally pick up on all the deeply un­in­tu­itive stuff I’m af­ter. Jon Tit­ter­ing­ton and Dave Van­dervelde both played in­cred­i­ble shit all over this record.

Can you de­scribe the record­ing process for this al­bum? How long did it take? I as­sume you worked in a few dif­fer­ent stu­dios, con­sid­er­ing tracks have dif­fer­ing pro­ducer cred­its?

There were a few days where in the morn­ing Rado and I would do rhythm tracks and then head over to Wil­son’s that night to do over­dubs with Dave. All told, the record prob­a­bly took no more than three weeks.

I pre­sume there has been a much shorter pe­riod be­tween record­ing and re­lease for this al­bum than, say, Pure Com­edy. Which process do you pre­fer, and has it made you feel dif­fer­ently about the songs?

Writ­ing in the win­ter and record­ing in the spring is the most nat­u­ral cy­cle for me. If tour­ing and all that al­lows, I don’t see why I shouldn’t be able to keep that up for a while.

How do you feel this al­bum fits into the FJM canon so far?

Based on te­quila in­take alone, I’d say it’s prob­a­bly my Tonight’s The Night.

“Me ref­er­enc­ing ‘The White Al­bum’ in the stu­dio has be­come a bit of a run­ning joke” JOSH TILL­MAN

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