Fri, 26 Oct 2007 16:14:18
On their debut album, Tough Guys Don't Dance, Soulsavers, a pair of electronic noiseniks, dealt out a film noir-infused brand of not-quite-dance-music. For their new album, It's Not How Far You Fall, It's How You Land, the producer duo of Rich Machin and Ian Glover (never inclined to be pigeonholed) picked up their amps and harmonicas and didn't give their decks a second glance. Soulsavers teamed up with former Screaming Trees singer and grunge hero Mark Lanegan to provide vocals for the album's soulful stories.
We talked to Rich Machin as he took an afternoon drive, and queried his thoughts on creative progression, the true meaning of soul, and standing on your soapbox for a good cause.
Knowing what you guys have done in the past, I have to say that this is a pretty different take from previous album. Was it a conscious decision to break away from electronica?
For me, really, it's about just kinda continually moving on and doing different things. You know, I don't really have any interest in just continually making the same kind of record. I really like electronic music—I like blues, jazz, rock. You know, the thing I was trying to do in setting up this band was to take any project and kind of experiment in all the kinds of stuff that I love, rather than, you know, being kind of stuck. I don't see why you feel like you have to work in parameters. It's kind of like, this record sounded like this, so this one must sound the same, like, it must be part two.
Along those lines of reinventing yourselves, you infuse all sorts of genres in this album—gospel, rock, soul—do you think there's a commonality between all these different styles?
I mean, the way I describe it is soul music, because I don't class soul music as just, you know, Otis Redding and The Supremes. You know, to me soul music could be The Clash or Nirvana. Soul music is a particular style of music, but it could be all kinds of things—and that's what I'm into. I don't categorize Johnny Cash any different than I do, maybe, Staple Singers—they're just great soul artists. Categories are just bullshit really.
Mark Lanegan's voice complements the songs on the record so well. How did it come about that you started working together?
Well, from back in the day I've been a fan—for many years. Then we hooked up through a mutual friend a few years back (around 2003, 2004), and he got a copy of our first record, Tough Guys, and he was really into it. And, I just said, hey, if you're into it—working with new people and just creatively keep yourself moving, I'm down if you're up for it. So, we just started shooting some ideas around, and it came from that.
Did he have a lot of input on what the record would sound like? Because it seems like there's a lot of his rock and bluesy influence in that Americana sound the record has.
We have a mutual love for a lot of my favorite artists, you know, Johnny Cash, Townes Van Zandt, that kind of thing. It gave me the room to kind of… Mark got to pull off a lot of the songs we've wanted to write and never really found the right voice for them. I'm a huge fan of Americana and rock, as well—Willard Grant Conspiracy and bands like that.
It seems like there's a new wave of those type of bands, too. They're picking up where the classics left off.
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