On their first release since relocating to the opposite American coast, Shadowgraphs reinforce their grandiose, wide-angle psychedelia with Another Time.
Another Time is the first release since relocating to Portland from Charlotte. What prompted the move? Has there been a reaction or adjustment period to build a new audience in the new city?
We knew that Charlotte would be a difficult place to grow a wider audience and the two of us had already started to discuss what larger city we wanted to move to. When we arrived in Portland on tour last year it was the end of June, one of the best times to be here, and we just fell in love with the city. Not just the weather and beautiful landscapes, but the vibe and music as well.
I think the hardest part has been trying to break into the local music scene. We're having to re-establish ourselves and go through the motions that a new band goes through, yet we've been around for 3 years now. The typical stuff like local magazines not mentioning you in show write-ups, venues not responding to you, bands not taking you seriously. We do feel like things are really starting to pan out now, especially over the past couple of months. We've met some awesome local bands, hopped on some rad shows with Holy Wave and Vinyl Williams. Plus we have our album release show at Doug Fir with Reptaliens December 4th!
How has the coast swap impacted the songwriting for Shadowgraphs? Are there creative influences that exist in Portland that weren’t felt in Charlotte?
We have our musical influences that have been pretty solid over the lifespan of this band and we always seem to stick within the realm of those sounds. So I don't think the coast swap has changed our songwriting in any way. Outside of that though we have been inspired by the scenery change. There is a lot of beauty and nature here like glaciers, meadows, lakes, waterfalls, beaches, all of which are super inspirational to be around when running into writer’s block.
You guys left Charlotte as the band’s trajectory seemed to be ascending with a successful record in Venomous Blossoms and higher profile shows. Was that momentum captured on the new record? In terms of personnel, did the band have to change or adapt to the new city?
Yes, when we started writing and tracking this new record we gave each track a lot more detail and hard work knowing that we now had someone who trusted and was backing us. A lot of the songs on the record are about touring and that wild adventure we had those 28 days last summer.
When moving out here, our bass player and drummer stayed behind, so our touring bassist Tyler (Bryan’s younger brother) moved out and joined the band full time. After the first month of living here I met an awesome drummer named Phil who honestly couldn’t have been a better fit for the band. I think he might even have better hair than Bryan…
In the past, Shadowgraphs have taken the recording process on independently. Where was Another Time recorded? How was the process different than previous efforts?
Another Time was primarily recorded in Charlotte, NC. All of the drums and some other instruments were tracked in Bryan’s old studio, parts in my house, and then most of Bryan’s vocal takes out in Portland, OR. This time around we didn't record to tape, so we had more flexibility with utilizing more tracks for things like multiple synths and vocal harmonies. We love tape and the process of tape, but since we had done an LP on a 2” 24 track for the last release, we wanted to still use analog gear but not limit ourselves to ideation. The recording process was a lot faster, and we spent a lot more time tracking vocals and harmonies. But because there were about twice as many tracks on each song, when we mixed in Athens with Drew Vandenberg, the process was a little longer.
It seems like “psychedelic” music is becoming more wide-ranging and ambiguous. It could be due to the trending commercialization of some of the bigger acts claiming their psychedelic intentions or the easy versatility of the term to describe art. How do you view Shadowgraphs’ art and style as it relates to being or seeming “psychedelic?” Do you see the culture around psychedelia changing as a musician and an artist?
For us I think psychedelic means there are no boundaries, each song can be a different genre, whatever. But like you said the second you label a track “psychedelic,” then you get into situations where people immediately think you’re a Tame Impala band. You use a phaser pedal, you’re a Kevin Parker rip off. You use a chorus pedal, you’re a Mac Demarco rip off.
How has writing and releasing your second record changed things you took for granted or overlooked during the creation and touring of your first record?
We definitely learned that it’s important not to half-ass things when recording. There's nothing worse then feeling like a vocal performance on tape could have been better but it’s too late to re-record it. We also learned a lot from touring as far as expenses and what to avoid the next time we went out. The past year has been a huge learning process for us but we are taking it in strides.
Enjoy the group’s second full-length Another Time streaming below.