Progress Report

Progress Report: HEALTH

PROGRESS REPORT: Prepping their sophomore album, Get Color (Lovepump United) for release late summer or early fall, “…barring total apocalyptic economic collapse.”

After hearing about Health’s recording process for their next album, Get Color, I’m wondering why the foursome don’t cut loose a little more for their live performances. It seems like they could use that sort of catharsis after a recording session that member Jake Duszik and John Famiglietti describe as “stressful,” “fucking nightmare,” “hell,” and “a prolonged stressful fucking nightmare.” And despite improvements to the recording process — this time they didn’t have to load equipment in and out of the Smell each day, nor did any member touch human feces along the way — it was still no trip to the Catskills. “No surprise, but we all have serious stress issues,” Famiglietti says.

These issues were no doubt exaggerated by how many show HEALTH’s played since the release of their 2007 self-titled debut. They didn’t write on tour, but took time over week-long or two-week-long breaks to write together. Duzsik says they needed to test the songs out for their own sanity. “Sometimes playing something live allows for moments of clarity where you might have realizations such as ‘Oh, I guess this song might be fucking terrible,'” he explains. “Some people tend to fall in love with what they do without the need for outside stimuli. If we don’t get a breath of perspective we just eat ourselves alive.” Recording itself was equally fraught. Duzsik and Famiglietti say their schedule included lots of burritos, red wine, Xanax, waking up too late, and ulcer-inducing mixing frustrations. “There was probably some diarrhea in the routine as well,” Duzsik says. The record was recorded to tape, mixed on Logic, then mixed back to tape. Though they had less time and didn’t have “some fucking crazy Fleetwood Mac budget,” HEALTH experimented with new equipment, including recording through unusual amps. “We’ve been using some of the studio’s gear as well as a ton of Jupiter guitars were recorded on a tiny amplifier used to check and listen to dialogue by sound engineers for the movies — extremely old movies,” says Famiglietti.

The guys are most looking forward to playing a song called “We Are Water,” a “rock/dance/noise” epic, according to Duzsik. They’re also excited about their April 7 single from Get Color, “Die Slow,” a track that has HEALTH’s familiar ghost vocals in harmony, but with a fuller, layered sound and a dance beat. It’s a different look for HEALTH, one of a few surprises on Get Color. There’s even an album closer Famiglietti reluctantly calls a “ballad.” For live performances, “Die Slow”‘s rhythm track changes as Famiglietti manipulates feedback. It doesn’t always work. “Sometimes this is a big tech issue, the power conditions in the venue can halt the feedback pitch and totally screw up the riff,” he says. The stress is probably good for them.


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