Stuedabaker Brown Talks "Strangers We'll Become"
Mon, 11 Oct 2010 08:22:59
It's easy to slip into a dream when listening to Stuedabaker Brown's new album, Strangers We'll Become.
The New York quartet stirs up ethereal pop with hints of alternative rock, and they might just lull into some fantastic feelings. Songs like "Semi-Automatic" teeter between elegantly entrancing and somberly sensitive, while "Fragile Mind" is deep powerful pop that's as thought-provoking as it is gorgeous. Strangers We'll Become hypnotizes in the best way possible. It's like Radiohead meets The Fray but even a little catchier…
Stuedabaker Brown singer Pete Marotta sat down with ARTISTdirect.com editor and Dolor author Rick Florino for an exclusive interview about Strangers We'll Become, the darkness of wintertime and so much more.
Did you have a complete vision for the album in mind upon entering the studio? Or, did it all come together during recording?
Going into it, we weren't exactly sure of what we had. We knew we had a bunch of songs we were really into. When we were writing, we wrote the songs in pairs of three. Three songs would come with similar vibes. The tracklisting was important to us. We really took a lot of time to make sure the album flowed well from start to finish, and it connected those different vibes we were going for. Our producer wanted to keep a similar feel for everything as well, whether it was the orchestral background sounds we added or anything else. The tracklisting had a big part of it. All of those songs were written in pairs or threes, and I think that helped out.
"Fragile Mind" really stands out. What's the story behind that track?
Our bass player had this one part for awhile, and he would always play it before we would start practice. We never really gave much thought to it though. Then one time, I listened to it closely, and I really liked it. It was simple and to-the-point, but a melody could go over it really well. The melody just flowed from there for "Fragile Mind." Right after I came up with the melody, I knew exactly what I wanted to write about. I had lyrics for it the next day. I really enjoy that song too.
Where are you coming from lyrically?
From a relationship perspective, it concerns not getting lost in listening to what people are saying about you or other people's opinions. It more or less says, "Stop questioning yourself. Stop letting things get into your head that you know aren't true." You're being fragile, so to speak. It's almost like a declaration announcing, "I'm not going to let myself get caught in negative thoughts. I'm not going to have that fragile mind."
Is that what most of the album examines?
A lot of the lyrics dealt with relationships in general, whether it's a relationship with a boyfriend or girlfriend or even a family member. It deals with how easy it is to give up on those relationships or feed into the negative vibe. It's about struggling against that—not giving up and giving in. You have to maintain your own idea on how you think you should live your life.
Is storytelling important to songwriting for you?
On this record, I didn't necessarily focus on writing from my own perspective. I would think about a location or a scene in my head, so to speak. That somewhat came across in the lyrics. It could be a location from my past. In other instances, it could be something that I heard another person talk about and I put that vision in my own head. I like to evoke some sort of feeling.
Is there one consistent feeling that grabs you personally on Strangers We'll Become?
Whenever I listen to the record, it comes across as having a dark vibe. For the album cover, I wanted to have a winter time theme. Being from Upstate New York, you get that bare feeling of winter. Everything is cold. At the same time, it's exciting. You're constantly getting something new, whether you're looking at a huge snowstorm or whatever. It's that bare theme. That's the vision I have of it in my head.
Which records shaped you?
I really like Death Cab for Cutie's Transatlanticism. Ben Gibbard does a ridiculously great job of writing descriptive lyrics that take you to another place. I can't even imagine how he does it. I listen to My Morning Jacket's live album in my car constantly. I love U2's Achtung Baby. It isn't like our music, but a lot of it is about the struggles of relationships.
Have you heard Strangers We'll Become yet?