25 May, 2008

In Their Own Words: Today the Moon, Tomorrow the Sun - Part Two

Now that you have been exposed to who Today the Moon, Tomorrow the Sun are from Part One of the interview, it's time to move on to the crux of the matter: their upcoming EP Hurry Up & Wait. Cregg, Lauren, Micah, and Jeremy discussed just that, as well as a bit about the Atlanta rock scene and answered a few more personal questions. If you haven't visited their MySpace page to listen to the songs posted there yet, go to http://www.myspace.com/todaythemoontomorrowthesun now! You can also purchase tickets for their EP release show on May 31st for $6 by visiting http://www.ticketalternative.com/ and typing the band's name into the search box.

The Atlanta Rock Blog: The name of the new record is Hurry Up & Wait. Is that a tongue-in-cheek statement to your fans, or something else?
Micah: Not towards the fans. I think it's just about things in general. Somebody at work was being rushed to get prepared for something that hadn't even arrived yet, and then after they prepared they ended up just waiting and getting really frustrated. So they just said, "Hurry up and wait, hurry up and wait! That's all it ever is," and that stuck with me. I mentioned it to all of them thinking it would be a stupid name for a record, but it ended up making a lot of sense.
Cregg: It's the music industry. I mean, when you talk to people and they're interested and they see you live, all they want to do is push you with things like, "I need some more recordings, I need this, I need that." It really gives you a false sense of hope and the thought that they really love you and you are the only thing in the world that matters. So you go and kill yourself to prepare this wonderful thing, and then they don't have the courtesy to call you back. And you just sit there and you wait and you wait and you wait and when they needed it, it was then, there, and now. In the end, you are left sitting there waiting on a phone call or an e-mail, and it's just a never ending cycle. So we thought that it would be awesome if we called this record Hurry Up & Wait.
Lauren: I think it is a little tongue in cheek to the fans too though, because we're always telling them "We're working on a song, we're working on a song" and then we have to say, "Well, just wait a minute, because it's not ready yet."

TARB: You recorded the album yourselves in your home studio. Is that something any of you have done before?
TARB: So how did this process make the experience better?
Cregg: Just total control. The freedom to just go downstairs and record and take your time. I mean, you want to get it done as fast as you can, but there's not the pressure of someone saying, "You've got this much time left in the studio. You're going to burn through your money. You guys only have 20 more minutes." It's great to just have total control and sit back and try something over and over again and walk away that night and maybe have recorded only one thing out of a hundred, but that one part is perfect.
Jeremy: Even if you do [hand]claps for three nights, because it's your claps and you experimented in 15 different rooms to get those claps right. In the end, you are happy with that, because you did it.

TARB: Cregg, did you also mix and master the album?
Cregg: No, I did not. I gave it a shot, but...
Jeremy: He basically recorded it.
Micah: He did a really good job with the [recording] mixes too. But no, we were under time constraints and the pressure to "Hurry up, hurry up," so we outsourced and reached out for help mixing it.
Jeremy: Kris Sampson at Nickle & Dime Studios did the mixing, and he is an absolute delight to watch work. He's phenomenal.
Cregg: I engineered most of it, but no I did not mix it or, did you say master too? Yeah, we go to Rodney Mills [for mastering]. He is genius.
Jeremy: The mastering king.
Micah: The king of masters!
Lauren: We all thought that Cregg was doing a great job, but we also reached a point where we wanted someone else's ears to hear it. I mean after you've recorded all of that, you're kind of like "Well, I don't know what sounds good anymore"
Cregg: Yeah, you'll do something where you say "Yes!" and everyone else is like "No!" And you try to explain, "Well, I wanted to do this...Oh, forget it."

TARB: What song proved to be the most difficult to get recorded in the studio?
: I think they all went pretty smoothly.
Lauren: I think the claps, well they weren't all that bad, just time consuming. I think in general the songs for us were pretty easy. The vocals were the hardest part because we don't have a real studio set up. The acoustics aren't right, and we don't have a vocal booth. And we had never recorded something like that before. We had one vocal mic that we got that was in our budget on someone's recommendation. So we had to continually experiment with different rooms, being in different corners, being on different sides, do we need to use the pop-block, do we leave it in its dynamic holder or do we take it out and put it on a regular mic stand. That was just really difficult to capture an instrument that actually comes out of somebody, not actually played.
Micah: I know it was really hard for her putting all of that emotion into every single take and then it not be right or just not gel and then have to do it over again. So I can only imagine it took a lot emotionally out of her.
Cregg: Once we got one piece of equipment, everything went a lot smoother.
Lauren: Yeah we just needed a...
Cregg: A compressor.
Lauren: Yeah, just a really nice levelling amplifier is what we got, and it worked.
Jeremy: It has to be said that we went in to record one song. We didn't go in thinking about recording an EP.
TARB: What one song were you going to record?
Jeremy: We were going to just do "Beats & Fleets" at Nickle & Dime. We were going to get the drum tracks done and all. Kris Sampson engineered the drums and got everything set up in about 45 minutes and it sounded phenomenal, so...
Lauren: He said, "Well, you guys have a home studio right? Why don't we get the drums done and maybe see how much bass we can get done, and whatever we don't finish here you can finish up at home." And we said, "Well, yeah, that's a great idea!"
Jeremy: Yeah, we went in for the one song, and I ended up recording six that night.
Cregg: Kris's famous line was "Well let's record a record!"

TARB: Which song from the record do you enjoy performing most?
: We pretty much love them all.
Jeremy: I have some I don't like to play, but we won't go into that. I mean, not that I don't like the songs, it's just that live they don't transition well for me.

TARB: How do you hope people will interpret the new record?
Jeremy: I hope they like it.
Lauren: Yeah, I hope they like our debut album. And if they like it and it's the first time they've heard us, then they can know that there are only more good things that can come.
Micah: I think a goal of ours on this album was to represent how we sound live, and I think we did a good job with that. I hope people will find the connection between our live show and the recording.
Jeremy: To be electronic and stuff, it's very raw. I mean the drums on it don't sound very [polished], it's indie raw. It's nasty.
Micah: We don't do anything on the album that we don't do live. That's something we're very proud of. We didn't want to do anything that would make it sound too structured.

TARB: What is your take on the local music scene?
Cregg: We know nothing about it.
Micah: I don't know if we're just out of the loop, or just don't know where to find the music.
Cregg: I think with our old bands we just got so tired of going out to shows to get other bands to come to our shows. And then at your show half the audience would be other bands, [so] we weren't building a fan base. I guess it was good for the scene, but we're really focusing a lot now on having a fan base instead of having 50-60% of the crowd being other bands who came just because you went to their show. So I think that kind of keeps us out of the loop. We're just more focused on the people and not just the bands. But we will still go support the bands we really like.
Lauren: I mean, we're really happy for the bands who have had some success: The Selmanaires, Deerhunter, The Black Lips, people who are doing well for themselves. But I don't know how well we fit into that, and we're definitely out of the loop.
Micah: I think there are a lot of really amazing musicians in this town, but I don't know where to find them.
Cregg: Especially in our genre. I call us indie-electronic-fuzz rock, so there's not really anybody else that can fit into that. So it's almost like we don't really fit into the scene so much as standing on our own two feet and saying listen to what we have. I think I can honestly say that we're not apart of any scene, we're just a band in a town that's trying to make our own way. But I will to some extent agree with some of the bands who have paved the way in that you have to play outside of Atlanta before you can be an Atlanta band. We are definitely finding that to be true.
Lauren: We're not really necessarily a music town.
Cregg: It's just so spread out. So we're looking forward to touring outside of here to...
Lauren: To get the attention of people who live here.
TARB: Is there another scene of which you would like to be a part or in which you feel you would be better received?
Micah: Any European city. Actually, not even European, just non-American city.
Lauren: We seem to get the best response from Europeans. Canadians, Japanese, and Europeans are usually the most appreciative.
Micah: In addition to that, minors as well. You know, younger kids who are into the music for the music. We seem to attract a lot of younger fans.
Jeremy: We have a lot of college kids come out [to our shows].
Micah: We've noticed that when we have the opportunity play a show that's not just 21+, we seem to have a good general vibe going on and we are able to feed off the crowd a lot. I'm not sure why that is.
Lauren: I think it's because younger kids aren't scared to show their appreciation. I think you get to a certain age where you think you should behave a certain way, and you get a little too cool for school.
Cregg: I think kids now have a much more open mind than they did when I was in my teens. I was still kind of a straight and narrow kind of person, but kids now are more likely to say, "I like this band, and I don't care what anyone says." That's how it all begins. They are very open minded.

TARB: What is your favourite local music venue to play?
Lauren: The EARL.
Micah and Jeremy: Star Bar
Cregg: Yeah, I would say Star Bar too. The last two times we've played that place, it's almost been people out the door. And I really like it because [the crowd] is kind of in your face. It's great when the fans are right there, because we're definitely a band that feeds off the crowd. It allows us to show our emotions. You know, the more the merrier. I guess The EARL first and then Star Bar.
Micah: And Vinyl too. It's great that it can be an 18+ venue. I feel like there aren't enough of those.
Jeremy: And it is our CD release spot. I mean, we chose it for a reason. It's big and the management there is awesome, really nice guys.

TARB: Lauren, you used to work for 99X. Do you miss the station?
Lauren: I miss the station for what it was. The way it was when I first got there was incredible. It was starting to make a big turn around and starting to take chances on the bands they would play. I mean, yeah, we still had to play the stuff that people wanted to hear because their ears had been trained to like that, but it gave us a chance to play stuff people thought we would never play. We would get calls from people saying, "I was listening, I just happened to forget my CDs today, and I heard you play Arcade Fire and I couldn't believe it. I will listen to you guys from now on." And that was really cool, especially when I got to do [Sunday School] with Jay [Herron], or when he would be sick and I would get to play all the new stuff that was coming out. Just to share stuff that people had never heard was really cool. But in general, it's a business where people make assumptions and will have preconceived notions about you. That part of it I didn't really like, because people would either hate or love you. And I mean HATE or LOVE you and not even know you. That was pretty weird. But it was fun. It was sort of the more theatrical side of me. I got to be out there and active. I don't really know how to describe it. But I do miss the station the way it used to be.
TARB: So the things they did for the local music scene, do you think there is a big void now?
Micah: Heck yeah.
Cregg: You mentioned "Zombie". It wouldn't have been anything if they didn't have the "Cover of the Day" with whoever did that.
Lauren: It was Steve [Craig] who did that, I think.
Cregg: I remember one day the guys calling me and telling me, "Dude, they just played 'Zombie' on 99X!" And so many people called in to request it that he ended up playing it another two or three times later on that week or the next week. That's powerful, very powerful. And we don't have that anymore.
Micah: I don't want to ignore the Project 9-6-1 Homegrown show for rock bands and what they do to put [more traditional] rock bands out there, but there's not an indie outlet.
Jeremy: And the [concerts] they did, I mean 99X was putting local musicians on these huge bills. Big or small, they were putting them on bills that they could have a connection with and possibly mature as a band. And you just don't have that now.
Micah: It's crazy that Atlanta, one of the biggest cities in the US, doesn't have an alternative station. But thank god they got an oldies station like six months ago.
Lauren: Yeah, it's all-over-the-place oldies too. It's really good.
Micah: It's just so weird. You go down to a place like Orlando, and they have this awesome alternative station.
Jeremy: And Birmingham. They have like three.
Cregg: But, on the flip side, this podcast, I think it's WTR, yeah Walk to Run Radio, has "Never.Always.Good." a track from our CD on it. Podcast is becoming the new radio. So with death comes life, but it still sucks to not be able to be heard on a home radio station. You know, when you're in your car, unless you've already download the podcast, you can't just pick that up.

TARB: If you couldn't be musicians, what other artistic pursuit might you like to try?
Lauren: I've always enjoyed acting. I actually majored in theatre and music business as well. I would really like to continue that, and by the end of [my courses] I really got into directing a lot. Yeah, probably that.
Jeremy: I'd like to be an interior designer.
Lauren: Who are you?!
Jeremy: I mean, I think I could do that and enjoy it.
Micah: It's funny you say that. I was thinking something like a landscape designer. I don't know, maybe I watch too much HDTV, but lately I've had a fondness for plants and botanical landscapes.
Cregg: I have three things.
Jeremy: Well, Cregg's already a hairstylist. I mean, he's probably one of the best in the Southeast.
Cregg: I don't know about that, but I'm already doing that. This all fictional right? I would probably want to be a tattoo artist or something like that. That would fit me. I'd also like to make [guitar effect] pedals, get some schematics down. I guess that's music-related though. The other thing would be work in a studio, but that's music as well.
Micah: Yeah, I was going to say elementary music teacher, but that's musical.
Cregg: So yeah, tattoo artist. That would be awesome.

TARB: What was the "eureka" moment for all of you when you decided you wanted to pursue a career in music?
Micah: Meeting Lauren.
Jeremy: Man, I have a good one. The "eureka" moment for me, well playing any large show is always phenomenal. I played big shows with Linger, and I played one with Avenge Vegas. But I was in marching band [in high school], and we played one of these huge battle of the bands festivals at Auburn University. I was fifteen years old, and I'm coming out of the tunnel [at Jordan-Hare Stadium] and it was just huge and it was packed out. And when you're on a football field, it's not like you would think. It looks like you're in a box, and it just goes straight up and there's people everywhere. And I walked out on that field and got butterflies and I thought, "Man, I've gotta play this drum part." After that moment, I've never gotten butterflies again. And you talk about a "eureka" moment, that was probably it for me as far as music.
Micah: Like I said, the moment for me was the first time I made music with Lauren, and when I just saw that connection. That was the best feeling in the world.
Lauren: You know growing up, music is very important to some people, and it was very, very important to me. I always had my daydreams about playing in a band, but I think as a girl you just weren't supposed to do that. And as a kid there were very few females in bands. So you think "Well, maybe that's a silly idea." You would talk to your parents about getting a guitar, and they would also think that's just silly. So I met Cregg and I had done a lot of work with Linger. I had booked a lot of their shows, and I sat in and was their extra opinion if they ever needed one or needed someone else's thoughts. I kind of roadied for them a little bit too as a designated guitar tech and cymbal picker-upper. And that's when [Micah] and her friend Brandy had seen me and they thought, "We have to meet this girl; maybe she's a musician." So I told them, "Yeah, I play guitar, but I've never really played with anyone else before." So Micah and I got together, and we met with a few other girls, but there was just something between us that we knew would eventually lead to us playing music together.
Cregg: I have to say if I thought back to any moment, it would have to be in the early days of Linger, like before we had even played our first show. It was just me, a guitarist, no bass player, and a drummer. I couldn't even play a guitar back then, I had never played. And that was way before Jeremy came along, but we wrote our first song altogether. The drummer, guitarist, and I wrote all the lyrics and we had this song. The chords were there, the melody was there and everything just melded and I thought, "Oh my god, I can do this." I mean, the song just came together. And when you have closeness like that with people, I mean it's one thing to sit down and have a drink with somebody, but when you write a song together, it's special, it's powerful. I think that's when [music] really had me hook-in-mouth and I was ready to go forward with it.


Once again, Today the Moon, Tomorrow the Sun will be playing on May 31st at their EP release party at The Vinyl Lounge in the CW Midtown Music Complex on the corner of W. Peachtree Street and 17th Street in Midtown Atlanta. Tickets are only $6 in advance (see the link above to buy). If you are interested in going, get your tickets now. Vinyl only holds a maximum of 300 people, and word is travelling fast around the city that this is the show to see that weekend. As I have mentioned before, this is one of the best live acts in Atlanta and the Southeast for that matter. Copies of their EP will be available at the show as well as t-shirts and other goodies. If you absolutely can't make the show (acceptable reasons include "I live in Poland" or "The warden won't let me out that night"), you can download Hurry Up & Wait from iTunes, Rhapsody, EMusic, or Napster beginning May 31st as well. Otherwise, you will have to catch one of their shows to purchase a copy of the CD.

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