This is part 1 of a 7-part blog series.
As event manager, social media manager, project coordinator, resident helpful-dude for October Project, I am lucky enough to see and hear just about everything that goes on with the band. I love planning loft concerts. I love hearing the new album unfold. And most recently, I have been fascinated by a simple concept, or perhaps I mean OP’s concept of simplicity. For fans that have been following us on FaceBook and Twitter, you’ll know that I am referring to “Uncovered,” a PRErelease of stripped-down, piano/vocal demos from October Project’s upcoming album. As a fan of October Project—as well as the musical process—I have been so excited about the wealth of information that I have been absorbing every day. And so another simple idea occurred to us: share the wealth…with you!
Marina, Julie, and Emil sat down with yours truly to discuss “Uncovered.” We invite you to enjoy an intimate look at a stripped-down October Process. Bathe in this ocean of information; no swimsuit required.
– J.W. Harvey
Interview with Marina Belica, Julie Flanders, and Emil Adler
J.W.: Why Uncovered now, as a precursor to the album? What is the concept?
Marina: Emil created piano tracks for the musicians we will be recording with in California, and Julie and I love singing to them! Up until that point, we had been rehearsing and refining the new album songs a cappella. We thought, wow, maybe simple, vocal piano arrangements would be a fun way to introduce people to the new songs.
Julie: Emil does these genius piano parts that no one ever gets to hear, except for Marina and me. The songs start with Marina’s part—just the melody—and then, on this album, Emil has written a counter melody for me to sing that is equally as beautiful. It’s a new approach. It’s almost as if there are two songs within the one, and they are layered together.
J.W.: Emil, how do you feel producing the music, releasing it this way? Does it feel more raw?
Emil: ”Uncovered” is special because the album is going to sound nothing like this. The risk is that people may become enamored with these simple arrangements and be resistant to the addition of bass, drums and other kinds of sweetening. It’s called “demo-itis.” People live with a particular demo version of a song for a while and don’t want any changes. Not that the end product will be too slick and overproduced…
J.W.: You mean the finished album?
Emil: Yes. The finished album will sound vastly different. There will be guitars, bass, drum, other acoustic instruments, digital tracks…things like that. It is going to be arranged, so there will be a big difference. I think it will generate a kind of debate over—
Julie: –Over who likes what.
Emil: (laughing) Or whether I screwed this stuff up!
Marina: What’s cool about this approach is that Emil gets to experience his compositions in at least four different ways. First in its initial creation, second in the creation of the counter-melody, third in the grand arrangement that he has perhaps always had in his head, and fourth when he gets together with the band and we bring our ideas. Emil gets to live this on at least four levels, perhaps more.
Julie: And Marina and I only hear what Emil gives us, whereas he hears everything in his head beforehand. We are often shocked when Emil brings something else into the mix that we didn’t know about, but that he has been playing in his head the whole time.
Marina: There are three part harmony moments on Uncovered that Julie and I had never heard sung, and when Emil added in his part, we were like “WOO! What’s that!?” Emil also changed the piano arrangements on some of the tunes from what we had initially to what now appears on the album because he had the opportunity to go “hmm, what do I really want?” and those are big surprises right up until the end.
Emil: And those parts are likely to change again as well! These are, literally, works in progress. They are as finished as songs can get for a band that is going out and starting to play them, but in the playing of songs live, or when we get into the studio, songs morph.
To be continued. Follow the October Process blog for the remaining segments of this 7-part interview series!
J.W. Harvey on Twitter: twitter.com/xjwharvey
Contact J.W. Harvey: James@OctoberProjectMusic.com