Statistics

Silent Uproar: How have things changed from being in a band where someone else was often the main focus or center of attention to one that is all about you?

Denver: Well, I guess it has changed in the song writing process. Before I was coming up with a lot of the music and none of the lyrics and there was a team contributing. Now it’s kinda like I am the team.

SU: Well as far press and stuff too, now if someone wants to talk with the Statistics then that means they talk to you, as opposed to Desaperacidos where things could be divided amongst the band, or they often got directed to Connor.

Denver: Yeah. It is definitely a solo project so there is no one else to share it. It is kinda more rewarding.

SU: Are you a people person? Do you like the attention?

Denver: I love to talk to people, especially when it comes to talking about the music. When you have people writing reviews or doing interviews, I think it is great for us to kind of combine our passions. Like someone who is passionate about writing can use their craft to comment or to write about what I am passionate about. I think it is an amazing thing and I am honored to talk to anyone that was to talk to me about it.

SU: Cool, that is a good attitude to have about it. You kind of touched on it, but I imagine the success and praise the Statistics record gets would be somewhat more rewarding because you have a greater sense of ownership.

Denver: Yeah, you know when you’re writing it you don’t have anyone to turn to and say, ‘what do you think about that’? So it is neat to see how it sort of pans out. I especially like reviews and interviews were people touch on how they interpret the music or how it made them feel. I think that is much better then when people write about the formula or how the songs are crafted. I think it is cool when people put their own perspective in it, because that is what I’m after. I want it to be applied in as many ways as people, so it is neat for me to read.

SU: Was the desire to create the Statistics born more out of a desire to fill the gaps of time created by Connor’s duel commitments, or was it about finally getting out music you had wanted to for a while?

Denver: A little bit of both. I think that I would have done this project regardless. I think just given the downtime from Desa, it just gave it more of a priority. Ultimately I just write whatever is in my head, or whatever just comes out. It isn’t like I am writing to a certain style or trying to sound a certain way. So I think it would have come out eventually.

SU: Do you think people would have paid as much attention if you hadn’t already had some success with the Desa record?

Denver: Um, I don’t know. I would love to say that they would have, but I think that ultimately the music wants the amount of attention or praise that it gets. I do think that people might not have heard it or sought it out had it not been for the success of my other band. Because you know what I mean, like if I put this album out and it was bad, then people wouldn’t buy it strictly because I was in another band.

SU: Just a couple of questions about Desa… How did the recording of that record work? You mentioned that you wrote a lot on songs, but what was the overall writing process like, how did songs come together for that band?

Denver: At band practice I would just bring all these different ideas I had for a particular song and the band as a group would edit it and decide what stays and how long we played it for. A lot of it revolves around the vocals though, because you have to fit all that in there. Then each person did their own respective spots.

SU: How does that compare to the Statistics experience. I mean I know you had some guests do various little things, but it is mostly you.

Denver: It is different in a band because ultimately each member has their own say on their own part. You can give suggestions and stuff, but on my album it was more like I had some friends come in and do what I already had in mind. They didn’t come up with their own parts; it was like I want it to sound like this. Most of that stuff I probably could have done myself, but I like the way that they do it and I thought it would sound good to have them perform it. Also, on like 4 tracks on the album I have someone playing drums and someone playing bass because I wanted to play those tracks live and it sped up the whole process quite a bit.

SU: Did you ever feel somewhat cheated that Desa had a decent amount of success and praise and then it had to be put on the side because of Connor’s other commitments?

Denver: Yeah, totally. That was a bummer for all of us and even again recently we had planned to go into the studio and go out on tour with Cursive, and it all got put on hold again. But that is kinda the nature of the project and it is bound to happen when people have that much going on. In the beginning it was really hard for me and then I became more and more able to except it.

SU: It probably helps too that you have your own thing going now and it isn’t all just sitting around and waiting.

Denver: Right, before it was just like, when can we do this? But now I am one of the people that are like, ‘well I don’t know if I am going to be able to do it right now’. You know, it’s cool.

SU: I know you have been asked about the move to Jade Tree for this record, but ignoring why you went with them, which label experience have you found more rewarding?

Denver: I definitely have to say Jade Tree because with Saddle Creek I knew all those guys before hand and we were already friends prior to that. With Jade Tree, all I knew of them was the music they had put out and their reputation and I sent my demo to them and they liked it enough to fly me out to meet them. Since then I have become great friends with them and I think the music really brought us together. With Saddle Creek it was kinda automatic that the band was going to be on that label. I feel like I earned my relationship with Jade Tree more and so it is more rewarding.

SU: Are there any main differences in how they operate or approach things?

Denver: Yeah, I mean Jade Tree has a larger roster and I think they are a little more willing to work with more people. I think that Saddle Creek kinda keeps it more intimate.

SU: Yeah, Saddle Creek almost seems like a kind of community and they don’t really look too far outside that.

Denver: With the exception of a couple of their bands, everyone is right there in Omaha. Which is cool, but with Jade Tree they have bands all over the country.

SU: Fill in the blank: If I could be in a band with one person, it would be __________________.

Denver: Um, let’s see…

SU: I’ll make it easier, they have to be alive.

Denver: OK. I would probably say… Judah Nagler from the Velvet Teen.

SU: It is obvious right form the start that the Statistics record has a lot more electronic feel to it than the Desa songs. Is the electronic stuff more of what you are into, or was it just in the mood you were in when working on the record?

Denver: Definitely with Statistics it was like an open canvas. I didn’t have a prior sound that I was trying to stick to or anything. I wanted to try to challenge myself from all the different instruments I played or sounds I used to…really I just wanted to make something that was sonically diverse. I am fascinated with synthesizers both new and old and just all the technology that can be used.

SU: We have a lot of bands that read our articles and we are always getting asked about technical aspects of recording or the live show. Tell me something about the recording process for those people to geek out on.

Denver: Well, we play with a digital 8-track on a few songs when we play live. What we do is we take the first track and that’s the drummers click track. Then all the other tracks are additional keyboard parts. While that is a pretty common thing to have people playing along with a sampler, I don’t know how common it is to be playing along with a digital 8-track. It is cool that way because you can control each part, so like if you are in a room that needs a little more bass, then you can turn that up. It is like a real-time mix of the accompanying parts.

SU: How have the audiences at shows on this tour been?

Denver: They have been great. I am extremely grateful for each and every person that comes out to the shows. I think that is an amazing compliment and honor. But yeah, everyone has been cool. We haven’t had any mean crowds or anything.

SU: How does the turnout and the types of people there compare to that of Desa shows?

Denver: I guess from the times that I have been through with Desa, and when I went on a few tours as a merch guy/tour manager for Rilo Kiley, I started to notice a lot of people that come out to those shows. While I still see a lot of them, I am starting to see more. I don’t know if that is just because of Jade Tree’s following or if the scene is getting bigger in those places or what, but I am definitely seeing a lot of new faces.

A lot of people will come up to the merch table and be like, I got the album and it’s really cool. So it is great that those people have already sought it out you know. Then we still have a lot of people that buy the album at the shows.

SU: Which statement would you agree with more: There is more good music out there today than there has been in the last 10 years or music today sucks, it is mostly corporate radio rock?

Denver: I would say there is more good music out there. I love to listen to everything from more obscure releases to mainstream things, because I feel like there is a lot of work in those albums even if you can’t immediately tell. I think a lot of great bands get overlooked because people don’t like their singer or the label that they came out on.

I think I respect just about every musician out there, even if it is someone that everyone is sick and tired of hearing them or whatever. Even if don’t particularly care for their music, I still respect the fact that they are out there and doing their thing.

SU: Exactly! I feel that people are always complaining about the decline of the quality of music, and that’s just because they aren’t looking in the right places. There is a ton of great music coming out right now.

Denver: File sharing is such a hot topic right now and I can’t speak for all the other artists out there, but I personally think that file sharing is great. That is how I have found out about so many great bands and I am one of those people that have to have the actual album, so I just use it as a great resource.

SU: I guess the argument to that is that while some people like you and I are really into music and care about having albums and supporting bands, there is a large group of people that just care about consuming the music.

Denver: At the same time I am kinda an idealist or romantic, but I am fine with even that. I feel that music is for everyone and say someone never thinks twice about me or never buys my music, but has one song on a mix CD or at some point it their life that song means something to them, I think even that is rad. I think it is an honor just to be heard period.

SU: Just to finish things up, do you have any set plans for the next Desa record?

Denver: No set plans. It is all kind of up in the air right now and we are mainly trying to find out what all is going on with Connor’s schedule and I guess my schedule now too.

Mar 11 2004