One of the more anticipated releases for many in this early part of the year is the Epitaph debut from The Menzingers. Titled ‘On The Impossible Past‘, it follows 2010′s popular ‘Chamberlain Waits’ (Red Scare). The album will be released locally on Friday 17th February, just before the band arrives in Australia for their stint on Soundwave Festival and Sidewaves with Bad Religion, Strung Out and Street Dogs in Sydney and Melbourne. You can pre-order a copy of the album on either CD or vinyl now [Here] with free postage. We popped our On The Record questions over to the band who tell us a bit more about the album through their answers. Expand this post to take a read, and check out a couple of tracks.
Tell us about the release title.
“On the Impossible Past” comes from Vladimir Nabokov’s novel “Lolita”. The quote hit me pretty hard while reading the novel awhile back and has always stuck with me. I like the depth to it, and I feel that listeners will all digest it differently. Lyrically this record is deeply personal, and while I was digging around in the back of my brain I found that the memories I held so dear were pretty fucking hazy. It’s tricky trying to detail exactly what happens sometimes… This is our attempt at that.
Tell us about the artwork.
Mark Cohen shot the album cover and he is a pretty famous photographer from our area in Northeastern Pennsylvania. He’s known for his street photography in which he would often capture subjects without their knowledge or approval. We’re big fans of his work and liked the idea of an album cover that could be interpreted in many different ways. I like not knowing if she’s startled by his photograph or flattered by it. I like art thats up for interpretation. Choosing a woman from the area I grew up in that I will never know just sparks so much curiosity. I think it’s a beautiful photograph.
What format/s will it be released on and how will it be packaged?
The record will by released in all three formats. CD, vinyl and digital.
Who will it be released through, and when?
Epitaph will be releasing the record on February 21, 2012. (Note: Australian release date will be Friday 17th February.)
Tell us about the studio and why you chose to record there?
We recorded the record at Atlas Studios in Chicago, IL with Matt Allison. We recorded our last record “Chamberlain Waits” there and had a fantastic time. We love the city of Chicago, it’s essentially our home away from home at this point.
Tell us about the producer / engineer and why you chose to record with them?
Matt Allison produced the record and Justin Yates engineered the record. Again, we had really positive experience while recording our last record with them and wanted to capture that same vibe. Matt Allison recorded and produced some of my favorite records and I’m super privileged to consider him my close friend. I can’t say enough nice things about the two of them! Without a doubt two of the most talented people I know in this industry.
Did you go into the writing process with a clear direction in mind?
Yes and no… Tom and I discussed some personal issues we wanted to tackle lyrically and kind of went with it. The four of us knew we wanted to do something different from our last record but wanted the songs to feel natural. We kinda just went with it to be honest.
Were you listening to anything in particular during the writing / recording process that influenced the songs at all?
Yeah, we’re kinda all over the board for that. Speaking for myself, I was listening to a lot of Nirvana, Smoking Popes, Weezer, and The Mountain Goats. Also, I remember listening to a lot of Murder City Devils in the studio. I think theres some of those bands vibes in the songs.
Were there any albums you were referencing to aim for a certain type of sound production wise?
Going into the studio I really wanted a “Pinkerton” sound to the record. As time went on I realized every band wants a “Pinkerton” sound. In the end We let Matt roll with it and I think we found our own sound.
How long did it take to record?
We were in the studio for 3 weeks.
Tell us a little about the recording process the band used?
We did some pre-production for the first few days then started tracking drums shortly after. We had a good amount of time so we messed around with some new recording techniques, some weird layering, and some reverse guitars.
Was this any different to previous processes you have used?
Yeah, the amount of time we had really let us experiment more. That was definitely a change from our last record which was recorded in two weeks.
Any guests involved? if so, who.. and what did they do?
Matt Allison played tambourine on a track!
Any particular equipment outside your usual live gear used in the process?
We used a Blackstar guitar head for pretty much everything guitar wise. We ran it through a custom Emperor cab. Theres some effects pedals too, the Small Clone Chorus and the Death By Audio Fuzz War pedals made a few appearances. I forget what Joe used for drums. Eric used Brendan Kelly from The Lawrence Arms bass guitar and head.
Any memorable studio moments?
We had a rad rooftop BBQ with all our friends on the last day of recording!
Any additional tracks recorded that didn’t make the cut but may see the light of day sometime?
Yes, we recorded one extra track that will definitely see the light of day. More info on that when I know… Haha
What track/s are you most looking forward to playing live?
Probably ‘Sun Hotel’ and ‘The Obituaries’. Actually, all of them to be honest.
How would you compare the final product to previous releases?
I think this record is definitely a progression from our other releases but makes sense with everything else.
Anything else you want to say or tell us about the release?
I’m sorry to everyone I wrote about in advance. Let’s drown in Lake Ariel together.
On The Impossible Past – Instores February 17th via Epitaph Records.
Pre-order your copy on CD or vinyl now [Here] with free postage.
Catch The Menzingers playing Soundwave Festival nationally [View Playing Times]
25th – RNA Showgrounds, Brisbane [AA] SOLD OUT
26th – Showgrounds, Sydney [AA] SOLD OUT
2nd – Showgrounds, Melbourne [AA] SOLD OUT
3rd – Bonython Park, Adelaide [AA]
5th – Claremont Showgrounds, Perth [AA]
—> Full details at www.soundwavefestival.com
Also supporting Bad Religion, Strung Out, Street Dogs at the following venues.
27th – The Palace, Melbourne [18+]
29th – Big Top, Luna Park, Sydney [Lic/AA]