Tuesday, August 27, 2013

{INTERVIEW} the silver liners

TIOJ had the opportunity to chat with Rose and Jay from hometown favorites The Silver Liners over margaritas on a gorgeous summer night recently. Keep on reading to see what Rose and Jay had to say about the art of making an album, political summer jams, and the DC music scene!

Listen while you read:

Tell us a little about yourself!
Jay: John and I went to college together at the College of Wooster. John knew Matt from growing up. So we just started jamming together and we’ve had several different lineups since then. We started playing in the area in January 2010. Rose and I actually used to work together. We just started talking about music one day, and it turned out that we have some of the same musical interests. I was writing a lot of stuff that was requiring a lot of harmonies and different layers of harmonies, and Rose fills out the high harmony range.

The Silver Liners during a show at the 9:30 Club

How would you describe your music?
Rose: I get a feeling from it that it’s very optimistic. I feel like it is a little bit hopeful, but also kind of American, in a way-- like American youth in that there is a kind of this hopeful element -- but it’s not all light and happy.

J: When we started, the first couple EPs were very much towards the pop rock side of things. This EP that we put out in March is definitely a departure from that; it is very keyboard driven, lots of reverb. We spent a lot of time tweaking the sound with our engineer. We really enjoyed that process.

Click ahead for more from the Silver Liners and the DC music scene!

What is it like making music in the studio?
J: We made a conscious effort from the beginning to make a "different" sounding record, something that we hadn’t done and then something in this area specifically that another band hasn’t tried to do. We’ve tried to make it all our own.

R: I came in during the recording process because of what Jay mentioned in wanting some higher harmonies and a female voice, for “Scars” in particular, and we sort of built from there. It was exciting to be in a recording studio with a great engineer, Kyle Downes, who is great to work with. For someone who was new to the band and new to recording, I couldn't have had a better experience. And it is also exciting because there are a lot of decisions to be made, and it’s exciting to be a part of those decisions and to give inputs and see what works and what does not. Technology is at point where you can just go wild if you want to.

J: The relationship that we have with Kyle just makes it so easy to come in with an idea. If he tells you it sucks, then it is somehow okay. It’s not about egos, it’s about the music and the product. It took us about a year to record the entire album. It’s a continuous thing. We’re deciding what to do with it and when to release it because we also have new material that needs to be recorded. There’s worse things in the world than having too much music.

How would you describe the DC music scene? How do you fit into that?
R: DC has an amazing music history with jazz and punk. The DC music scene is a big, thriving thing and I think often it gets forgotten in the shuffle of all the big music cities around the country. I’m from one (Atlanta), and growing up, DC was definitely not on my radar at all. Even living here for years, you really have to seek out music. I think increasingly people are seeking out non-traditional DC music, and that has provided an opportunity for bands like us to get a foothold and get heard.

J: The scene in DC has been overshadowed by the history. Everyone loves to talk about Fugazi and Minor Threat. I think what gets lost is that there are a ton of really good bands from here. I feel like I find out about a new band from here every week. It’s amazing. It’s great to play with all local bills, like Brett and Ra Ra Rasputin. It’s on the up-and-up right now.

R: When I talk about optimism -- there’s a really exciting local scene going on. I’m hopeful about it. I think a big part of it is the low quantity of smaller and medium sized venues, which makes it tough here. [Jay and I] first connected about music by talking about venues. There’s a much greater diversity of small and medium sized venues in Atlanta, where local acts have the opportunity to perform and get experience on stage. That’s something I’d really like to see happening in DC. I’d like to see more music-oriented venues opening.

Do you have a favorite DC venue (to play at or as a music lover)?
J: I have a three way tie, which is ridiculous when there are so few venues. I’ve played the 9:30 Club three times and it’s amazing every time. The sound is so good, there’s space to move around, and you can hear yourself. Red Palace, before it closed down. We had the opportunity to open for a couple really good bands there. Rock and Roll Hotel, too.

R: I really love U Street Music Hall. They really just bring quality DJs and bands. I’ve seen some amazing bands there. I always have so much fun there. I recently went to a different dance club and it really made me appreciate U Hall. U Hall is just really connected with what people want. It’s no fuss and all about the music.

What bands do you feel particularly inspire your music?
J: I have a bunch. I think we all listen to a lot of different types of music. I like Phoenix, and I listen to a lot of dream-pop. Way too many bands to mention.

R: This is a hard question because I’d have to pick so many people from so many different genres! I’m from the south, so I’d have to say southern rap music because it is such a huge part of my musical interest. I studied Latin American studies and lived in Chile for a year, so I was exposed to lots of types of music. I’m also a child of the ’80s! I listen to Michael Jackson and Madonna. I used to dance, so everything that you can dance to, I love it. I grew up listening to choral music and classical music.

J: On the other side, Jack White is my musical hero. I love Jack White. The White Stripes are great. The Raconteurs are underrated. I saw the Dead Weather live and they were amazing. I’m in awe of his musical ability.

Aside from music-related things, do you have favorite things to do in DC in the summer?
R: I love that DC has free pools! DC Pride is also my favorite summer event. Also, Bloomingdale has an amazing farmers market.

What has been your song of the summer?
J: I think for me, Lorde. I'm really impressed with her. "Royals" is a song that I associate with summer. It's young, it's fun, she has a great voice. It's not overproduced and has a laid-back vibe. Also, "Sweater Weather" by the Neighborhood. It's a little reggae, hip hop, kind of like you're at the beach.

R: I’m going to go a totally different direction. This is what is interesting about being in a band. you don't always have the same thing that grabs you. I really like "Feds Watching" by 2 Chainz. I love Pharrell. I like to get a little political and I just thought it was well-timed. I am a fan of anthems. If you don't follow 2 Chainz on Instagram, you're missing out. He has amazing food pictures. I want to be on the 2 Chainz diet.

Thanks again to Rose and Jay for chatting with us! Be on the lookout for future Silver Liners shows and listen and download more music from the band here.

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