'Take To The Skies!' by Forget The Whale
'Take To The Skies!' is the 3rd release from the Jersey City band Forget The Whale. Mike Kuzan talked with Alishia Taiping (lead vocals, bass) Dan Pieraccini (bass, keys, vocals), Peter Durning (guitar, harmonica) and AJ Zienowicz (drums, vocals) about their latest release, recent shows and a bit about the Jersey City music scene.
Kuz: Let's hear about "Take To The Skies!"
Alishia: It's our 3rd EP, there are four tracks on it. The first 2 EPs were pretty versatile, we draw from a lot of different genres and we have different tastes in music between the four of us. That comes through with what we write.
AJ: That's the fun part about what we get to do, we all have our own styles, but all our specialities come out when we write our own songs. We are all involved in the writing, if I come from a drummers stand point and bring a beat to the band, we'll jam then escalate that to several different points of what it feels to us. We all get to express ourselves and our individuality comes out in this collective mind.
Dan: From a marketing point people buy songs now, they don't buy full albums anyway so every song might catch a different demographic of people who could like it.
Alishia: I don't think we were every particularly worried about having a sound for a particular set of songs. They are tiny little short stories, they are relatable on maybe a theme not in a sound.
Kuz: And how does that translate to your live performance when mixing multiple style and sounds?
Pete: It does translate well, in the beginning we weren't sure how people would react to it. If we're able to offer variety of music, style and genres throughout, while retaining our persona on stage, and connecting the songs through the four of us. I think that's what working well for us especially more recently.
Kuz: Where did you record "Take To The Skies"?
Dan: That was at New Record Studios with Rubin Nizri, mastered by Nicholas Ciavatta. I might have mentioned that we had additional players, the horn players from Penniless Loafers, Nathan LaRioux violin player.
Pete: This one was definitely more collaborative, Rubin was the 5th voice. The other 2 EPs were our visions and our songs. We wanted to get another artist looking in and see what that person saw instead of just our ideas. It worked out great in the studio, we got some great suggestions.
Dan: It was a step forward for us adding some new instruments and players.
Kuz: How was that process working with outside musicians and producer?
AJ: Rubin would refine the process to the point where we were able to express ourselves without over expressing.
Dan: In some cases he changed the whole vibe of parts, if you listen to Ghost, the bridge comes out as a smooth, blues-rock thing, but it was actually a much harder part to begin with. He did the same thing with the vocal stuff with Alishia.
Alishia: Yea, for the live show I perform with a vocal processor to add harmonies to certain parts of the song and that's what I'm used to hearing. At the studio you get to break down your harmonies and add other vocal tracks. There are whole parts that were written in the studio because I was able to lay down the lead track and then play around it and add more dynamics to the song.
Kuz: Did you find that stuff came up while you were in the process of doing it or did you have those ideas prior?
AJ: The historical thing with our band is our songs aren't necessarily set in stone, during our live shows we add new intros, some nuances, extensions of the bridges and we keep developing them.
Kuz: Can you talk about the the cover art?
Dan: It's about the first song and title of the EP, it's like you are on this airship but you are fighting for the wrong side, your with the empire if you will and you decide you don't want to be part of that anymore so you take to the skies and make a thrilling escape on the airship.
Kuz: What do you think of the new venue FM?
Alishia: We played FM on March 30, it was an awesome turnout, a great show, a lot of energy. We really fine tuned some showmanship, small moments that we could play up on stage that seemed to translate well. We had been there several times before we played, it's exciting that JC has a venue again like this. Practically every place we used to play no longer exists, it's so sad to think about, but it's exciting as this seems to be a new home for live music and a place to go.
Kuz: You guys have also played Groove of Grove a couple times. Can you talk about that?
Alishia: Yea, we played it three times so far and we headlined the last one in September. It was really exciting.
Kuz: Anything specially you want to talk about the EP?
Alishia: The third track, is called Ghost, it's one of our newest songs. Take to the Skies and Ghost we wrote at the same time. Ghost has a different sound then we have tried before.
Pete: The song came together quickly. It was over the course of one practice it came together then we wrote the bridge chords in a day. The song came together in one or two rehearsals.
Dan: It's pretty tongue in cheek, its about modern dating in the internet age and uses a lot of lingo that's probably going to be out of date soon (laughs).
Kuz: Thanks for taking some time to chat with us about your latest release!