PROGRESS REPORT: Recording the last guitar and keyboard tracks for their fourth, still-untitled LP, recorded at “The basement of the club Festaal Kreuzberg in Berlin, The Hangar in Sacramento. The one in Greenpoint [Brooklyn] doesn’t have a name, so I am hereby dubbing it Total Health Care Studios. I’m sure it’ll stick because that’s what we’re putting on the liner notes.”
Surprise: it’s hard to get real answers from !!! front man Nic Offer, which is expected from a group that won’t even give you a straight answer on how to pronounce their band name (I pronounce it like three fart noises). Since Offer says the next LP probably won’t be out until early next year, !!! still have time to be vague, especially with the new song titles: “‘Child Bearing Lips,’ ‘A Day In The Wife,’ ‘Justice Is Surf’ and ‘Carpe Deez Nutz.’ Actually, I don’t think we’re using any of those. Those are free to whoever needs good song titles, and some of you out there do.”
Offer at least knows that the new record sounds darker, which he attributes to their Berlin recording sessions. Getting away from home’s been important to other bands in the studio, and Offer says it does help get a new perspective: “A record is made up of how you felt after you walked to the studio, so it ought to be an interesting walk.” Since !!!’s members live in different cities, they recorded when they could, returning to the band’s hometown, Sacramento, California, and to New York City for part of the recording. “It sounds like the future backwards, funk upside down, music sideways … I don’t know. It’s coming out pretty dark which we’re blaming on the fact that part of it was recorded in Berlin, which is really just the easy way out of getting too much into my personal life,” Offer says. “And it appears to be shaping up rather funkily.”
The band will be playing new material during their tour this month, which kicks off with an appearance at Warp’s 20th Anniversary show. Though they tested some of the songs out over the past year, Offer says playing them in front of audiences always changes them once they get into the studio. !!! pay attention to how much an audience dances, how distracted they become, and how often they check their text messages, he says. “There’s a new song on the record which will be called ‘Jamie, My Intentions Are Bass,’ if I have my way. There’s a build on it, and the first time we played it we accidentally went too long. I could see the audience dance harder, eyes got bigger and when the chorus finally broke, the place went nuts,” he says. “We played it correctly the next night and did not get nearly as exciting a response.” Expect the longer version on the fourth album.
It seems like the adjustments go both ways with !!! and their audience. For their earlier house party shows, Nic and the band would have to ask the crowd to move around, now people come expecting to dance. But Offer says the band’s other instructions (Louden Up Now encouraged listeners to hitchhike and train hop, Myth Takes advocated one night stands) continue to be ignored. The new record may have advice: “Buy our album instead of downloading it for free.” Unfortunately that message will probably only sink in after you’ve bought/stolen the record a few times. There’s only one thing !!! want you to remember about the new album anyway. “It’s funkier. No, seriously, that’s really fucking important,” Offer says, “I’m not sure that anything else matters. Wait, I’m sure that nothing else matters.”
09/03 – Cambridge, MA @ Middle East
09/04 – New York, NY @ Terminal 5 (Warp20)
09/05 – Washington, D.C., @ Black Cat
09/26 – San Francisco, CA @ The Independent
09/27 – Los Angeles, CA @ The Troubadour
09/29 – Phoenix, AZ @ Rhythm Room
09/30 – Tucson, AZ @ Club Congress
10/02 – Austin, TX @ Emo’s
10/03 – Austin, TX @ Austin City Limits Festival
11/17 – Honolulu, HI @ The Loft
If there’s a band you want Progress Report to drag out of the studio, or bed, for an update, e-mail [email protected].