The Calcutta

Broken Spindles Interview Part One

February 20, 2009 · No Comments

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Broken Spindles just started an 11 day tour in support of the recently released album Kiss/Kick. Solo-member Joel Peterson talked with us about writing the music for the album, the meanings behind some of his songs, and he also shared some very privy information on why the sky is blue. Give it up for this one-man act. If you happen to be in the Midwest or western parts of the country, go see him play his tunes live.

How did you come to be known as Broken Spindles?

It was actually the name of a project I was in a long time ago that had a huge revolving cast of musicians. It was improve based and really felt free and spontaneous. So when I started making music on my own, I still wanted to keep that feeling alive within me while writing and the band had been done for a while so I took the name over.

Do you write all of the music yourself? Are fellow friends and band mates from The Faint involved in the writing process?

I do everything, unless stated otherwise in the album liner notes.

Your US tour for your new album Kiss/Kick (released on February 17th) is just about underway.  What kind of preparation do you do before a tour?  If you had to depict a picture to describe your feelings about the near future, what would it be?

This tour is a bit different from other tours because I put together a band to help re-invent and translate the songs for a live setting. It has been going really good, I think, lots of band practices and shared dinners. It is nice to give the songs over to other people to see how they hear and interpret them. It has been a learning experience for me.

Under the biography section of your website, your new record is described as a “No Eyeliner” record.  What is meant by this? Is it a metaphor? Can you elaborate?

I think of my songs as being true, make-up is hiding truth, therefore it is a ‘no eyeliner’ kind of album.

What was it like to record in Omaha’s Enamel Studio? You’ve recorded there in the past and own it under The Faint.  Were their familiar feelings being back in this particular studio?  Did that help you to lay down the tracks with a certain calmness?

Well, I am at the studio everyday so it wasn’t a grand homecoming or anything.  I am either working on Broken Spindles or something else.  I very much feel at home there.

Is Kiss/Kick self-engineered, produced, mixed, and mastered?  If not, who helped you with those positions?

I did everything but the mastering. That was done in Omaha at focus mastering by Doug van Sloun. I have worked with him in past quite a bit and like his style. He did a great job.

Could you talk about the themes that your lyrics attempt to explore throughout the album? Is there a central motif? Specifically with song titles like “Introvert” and “We All Want To Fit In“, it appears that the album (based on these two tracks) is bordering the lines of a self-reflective attitude while also questioning an underlying naturalistic attitude of wanting to be accepted. Can you share your thoughts on these tracks?  What do you think about people essentially killing themselves to fit a particular social stigma?

Pretty much all the songs I write end up being about me in some sense. There have been times when I thought they were about someone else but then months later I realize I was wrong and they were about some deep sub-conscience aspect of my personality or some underground thoughts.  Strange. So yeah, the songs on this record are dealing with me and my thoughts/feelings about what is going on in my life, things like; relationships ending, broken friendships, and getting comfortable with your own place in this world. My songs are simply my way of working through events in my life. For better or for worse.

Do these tracks act as a balance to one another?

Yes. The whole record is a balancing act to me.

From our understanding, Broken Spindles started out as a video idea for a friend around the turn of the century.  From there, a snowball effect ensued and soon an album was born. You toured with video projections as an accompaniment to the live music, something we find extremely interesting and very pleasing, both aesthetically and acoustically.  Do you plan on doing the video projections for the Kiss/Kick tour? If so, what can we expect as content for these videos?

No video for this upcoming tour. I want to focus on the songs and the arrangements I have made with the band.

What is it like to try and find a balance between live instrumentation and computer? It must be a tough idea to keep in mind while recording and ultimately thinking about touring the tracks. How do you deal with that?

I treat each aspect as separate entities. I want to make the best possible recording and I want to make the songs translate live in the best possible way and I don’t see those things as being one in the same. I really stray away from using any computers live, I think live music should be just that–live.

Come back for part deux tomorrow…..if you want to live. Just kidding, that would be a threat.

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