Athens’ band Marshmallow Coast release their new album Vangelis Rides Again tomorrow via HHBTM Records, and we’re debuting the “Hills Are Alive” music video to give you a little taste of what tomorrow brings, another beautiful, synthy project from Andy Gonzales (ex-of Montreal, the Music tapes, Mind Brains).
We talked with Andy Gonzales about the process of writing and recording it.
Is the band a rotating cast of musicians or a pretty set group?Pretty much from the beginning it has been a rotating cast. Mostly Elephant 6 personnel, but for songwriting duties, it has largely been myself with frequent contributions from Derek Almstead.How long did it take you to track this album?I work in spurts of creativity, so I think I worked on the tracks for over 1 year. I did some long distance collaborating with friends in NY for key things they can contribute (like the Mandolin on Hills are Alive by Josh Kaufman who is a studio guy in NYC and background vocals by Kevin Fish who is sort of my Michael McDonald to my Steely Dan…sort of :-))Is Marshmallow Coast studios more of a bedroom studio or more of a fancy-pants studio?Sort of along with the second question, I try and play to strengths. I have a really nice bedroom studio for tracking. I can track some things very well like guitars, Direct injection things, and Vocals. However, when it’s time for mixing and drums I hire a professional studio, which is almost always Derek Almstead’s home studio.What was the best part about doing most of this album at studios members own?It’s really helpful to have the ability to do some nice tracking at home. That way you can really take your time and find the best sounds and best takes. It also helps that Derek Almstead’s studio rates are suuuper reasonable. So we spent lots of time mixing and trying ideas and not having to rush anything.What sort of limitations did you hit?It can be hard not being in a super expensive studio when you want to get a band to play at the same time. When you overdub a lot of performances, you have to really really feel the music and get a natural group performance vibe.What is something valuable you’ve learned over the years as a member of the Elephant 6?I am constantly inspired and encouraged by the Elephant 6 group of artists. Everyone is super creative and just a “for life” artist. There can be ups and downs to that too, so everyone is really supportive of each other.Who from the Elephant 6 camp are featured on the album? Anyone outside of the collective collaborate or contribute in any way?Eric Harris (Olivia Tremor Control drummer) played some drums, of course Derek A played all over it. I made some fun electronic-y samples with Will Hart that we slowed down and pan modulated and etc. Carlton Owens played drums on Derek’s track Mystical Shit. He has played with many big artists including Camper Van Beethoven and Cracker. Kevin Fish from the band Higgins does a lot of my singing (as mentioned) and did electric piano on the title track. Steven Trimmer is one of my favorite electro artists and he did some of the super spacey moog realistic synth parts. Emily Growden who has been another one of my singers, sang a bunch.Will you be touring to support this release? If so, when and what regions are you hitting?We are starting with a huge show May 22nd at the 40watt playing with Jay Gonzalez (guitarist for Drive by Truckers) releasing his super amazing Bitter Suite. Then I want to take a small or medium sized (2-5 people) group up to NYC and play a few shows along the way. Likely over the summer when some other commitments are finished.It’s Saturday or Sunday morning in Athens. Where do you go for brunch?You get driven out in the country a bit with some knowledgeable foodies and get stuffed on southern food with a bunch of people wearing camouflage!Where do you go for tacos in Athens?El Sol has my favorite Mexican Taco dinner. There is also a cheesy strip mall type place called Taqueria Tsunami where you can get really foody tacos and quality drinks.