The band recently ended their 2008 hiatus with the release of a two-song EP, titled Forty Five. They also embarked on a North American tour, which will take them to the Horseshoe Tavern in Toronto tonight – their only Canadian stop.
I spoke with Greta Salpeter (vocals, piano) and Bob Morris (vocals, guitar) about recording the new EP, why they needed time off from The Hush Sound, and why now’s the time to come back.
RMM: First off, congrats on the new EP – I can’t stop listening to it! How long did you guys spend working on it?
Bob Morris (BM): Thanks a lot. It was super quick. We recorded 4 songs and decided to release 3 of them. It was a 3 or 4 day thing and it was all wrapped up.
Greta Salpeter (GS): We arranged for about 2 days and recorded for 3 or 4.
RMM: You took a bit of a hiatus – no recorded music since 2008, and only a few shows in that time. Why was that break necessary? And how has that changed the band, collectively as people, and in terms of the music?
BM: We needed to explore other aspects of life and understand why we were playing music. I think we’ve all grown up and learned a lot since then. We are much better at actually being a band and communicating. All of that makes being in a band more fun.
GS: We had been running on adrenaline for a few years: touring all the time, never being home, making three records in three years. We were starting to experience some great success and yet, we were all so emotionally and physically exhausted that we weren’t fully in the moment as it was happening. We were worn out.
BM: It all came together quite naturally. Greta and I tried writing a little together and we tried to be over prepared, but in the end, we just had a few songs lying around that were the most fun to us. We ended up recording those over the ones we collaborated on.
GS: Bob and I each had a few demos that the group arranged together. Easy breezy.
RMM: Why did you decide to get back into it? And why is now the right time?
BM: Greta and I moved back to the same city and started hanging a bunch; it was a pretty natural progression. We both love music, why wouldn’t we create some together?
GS: We had considered it every year after doing a “reunion” show at The Metro in Chicago. I say “reunion” in quotes because we never technically broke up, but these once-a-year shows had the vibe of “getting back together”. We can always sell that place out and the crowd response is incredible. We always leave those shows feeling like it has been a special occasion. So, we toyed with the idea from 2009 to 2012, but the time was never right because we all had other obligations. In summer 2012, all our schedules opened up.
RMM: I understand you’re planning to release a full length album later this year; How’s that coming along?
BM: We aren’t necessarily releasing a ‘full length’. We are basically getting together every so often. . . a few times a year and record the songs that we have. Hopefully, we’ll have a lot of recordings over the next year and then we will put them all out together. Most likely you’ll get a series of EPs first.
GS: We actually haven’t decided if we want to do a full length album, or just release fewer songs more frequently. We may put out EPs once a season instead of a record every two years.
RMM: Was this EP/upcoming EPs different from your previous releases in terms of the writing/recording process? How so?
BM: I think so. The songs were complete when they were brought to the band. That allowed us to just play with already completed ideas, rather than completing and then playing. It was cool because we got to really stretch out and stay relaxed. The pressure was gone because everything was already there.
GS: It is the best. We have been able to work together with love and affection for each other and no bullshit in the way.
BM: We are about to take off to Canada and the Jersey Shore music fest. It’s been a fun past few months. Looking forward to recording after these dates.
GS: Our last tour with Hockey and RIver City Extension was a blast and we are headed out next weekend for 2 shows – Toronto and New Jersey. Should be a fun time.
RMM: Do you prefer performing on stage or recording in the studio? Why?
BM: Very different artforms. I like connecting with an audience, but creating sounds and surprising yourself by letting your subconscious steer the ship is also gratifying. I love them both, differently.
GS: They are best as alternate cycles. I love that, as soon as we’ve spent too much time in the studio, it’s time to tour and vice versa. It has a seasonal quality to it, which is great for creativity.
For more on The Hush Sound, visit www.thehushsound.org, and be sure to catch them at the Horseshoe Tavern in Toronto tonight.