By Matt Arena
Earlier in the day before their headlining set at the secondary stage at Firefly Festival, we got the chance to sit down with Nikki Monninger (bass) and Joe Lester (keys) of Silversun Pickups to talk about their new album, their live aesthetic, and their love for vinyl records.
Congrats on the new album, it sounds fantastic.
Joe: Thanks, we’re really excited to start playing it live.
Nikki: We haven’t been able to play these songs at all really, so we’re eager to see how they come out on stage.
It might be a bit cliché to say this, but it really sounds like you evolved your sound for this album. Was that your intent going in or an organic development during the recording process?
Nikki: It was definitely something we wanted to do. Going in with a new producer, he helped us come out with a more refined sound than we had on Carnavas and Swoon.
Joe: Yeah Jacknife Lee really helped us cut away a lot of the fat and extra stuff we just didn’t need on these songs; I think that’s something we definitely needed.
I noticed with the tour for Neck of the Woods, you guys waited a bit. Most bands launch right into a tour, what influenced this decision?
Nikki: Nothing in particular really, it’s just how we scheduled it. With the last album we were touring before, during, and after the album release. This time it’s just different.
There’s a huge leap in the heaviness and intensity of your songs from studio recordings to when they’re played live, do you approach them differently or is it just a natural progression?
Nikki: It tends to happen naturally. The loud drums help a lot.
Joe: It kinda depends on the space. Big rooms generate big sounds. We’ve played anywhere from small clubs to even arenas before, and with bigger spaces the sound just naturally comes out bigger.
Your music goes against the modern trend of shot, to-the-point, radio edit type songs. I really appreciate the build-up that they have.
Nikki: We usually don’t try to edit our songs to fit a mold; we just let them be what they are.
Joe: Yeah if someone creates a radio edit of one of our songs that’s fine, but we don’t go in with the intention of creating them a certain way.
For Record Store Day this year you had an exclusive release, is it safe to say you guys are big support of vinyl and physical releases?
Nikki: Definitely. It’s really important to us to support that since its how indie bands get found. It’s how we kinda got our break. Our tour manager used to own this a record store and had our record. At the time it was really the only way people could buy our album. If they aren’t there to carry a band’s album, who will be?
Do you think it’s a never ending battle between digital and physical releases or is there a way for them to co-exist?
Joe: I think they already have found a way to co-exist. With us we have digital download cards inside our vinyl. It rides that line between being able to get it now and also having something tangible with it. CD’s are just a thing you put in your car but a vinyl record is a big deal.
One last question, you’ve toured with some pretty big bands, has there been a musical icon you’ve met that’s left you star struck?
Nikki: Hmm. Probably Dave Grohl. That was a big deal.
Joe: Definitely Dave Grohl. We were just standing there talking with him about touring with Nirvana and the 14 year old inside me is just geeking out.