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INTERVIEW: Suitable Victims

Can you talk to us more about your  EP  Broken Pieces?

Cameron: What’s most interesting about this project is that 5 of the 7 musicians that contributed on the recording all have circus experience. Ryan has been a lifer in the ring with Nick, Landon, and Joel putting in lots of circus time. I played in the Barnum’s Kaldeioscape Circus and was fired by the famous clown David Larible for missing a cue at a Chicago run. We didn’t have much circus bonding time.. but i’m sure we’ll get there.  Maybe the next album will have circus themes! I don’t know. Anything could happen..

Ryan: We booked the studio for two days. I was hoping to come away with two songs, so I was pretty elated at how fast we worked. It exceeded my expectations. I thought we’d only be doing a single. Instead we completed six songs, with three of us trading off on lead vocals.

Did any event in particular inspired you to write the title song, “Broken Pieces?”

Cameron: Well “Broken Pieces” was written the night before the Tuesdays’ 10 am recording session around 2 am. I had just flown into LA and was hyped up about the session and wanted to have some fresh material to present. I forced myself to at least have 2 complete tunes to present.  Broken Pieces is kinda about losing my keys at all times. I misplaced my house and car keys and that was making me late in getting to the airport on time. So I was stressing. Wrote some lyrics on the flight. Wanted to write the tune around an afrobeat / reggae bass line and sing on top of that. That one came real quicker than most for I usually write loads of lyrics and then edit them down.  There was no editing or overthinking due to time constraints.

Since we had such limited time to record, the tunes have to be simple enough to knock them out in a couple of hours.

The other tune, “Can’t Believe” was knocked out during the wee hours as well. The hook which only appears as the intro and outdo I’ve had in the archive for years and could never get a good verse to go with it.

Being back in LA and where I was staying at brought back memories of when I auditioned for Prince. I was staying at the same friends house not too far from Prince’s house when I was there last. I waited a week for my audition and was told he’d bring me back at a later date. Subconsciously, I think I was back in that mind frame of learning all the tunes for the audition that the good funk spirit creeped into and helped me finish “Can’t Believe”.

Ryan: I’ll defer to Cameron. He wrote this, along with “Can’t Believe” overnight, and introduced it to the band the following morning, and immediately recorded it.

Why name the album after this track in particular?

Cameron: It seems we are all broken pieces, looking for/at broken pieces in one form or another.

Ryan: It seems to work as a title song. The long intro, with the middle instrumental section…it seems like a good way to introduce the band – to get into the vibe. We already had the album cover, and “Broken Pieces” seemed to fit with it better than any other song title. The EP isn’t intended to make a big statement. We’re not trying to hit anyone over the head with political symbolism. The Brooklyn storefront, with the US flag in the door, corresponds with pride in our musical roots. It makes sense with what we’re about musically. Although admittedly, we are also influenced by British rock too.

How was the recording and writing process?

Cameron: The recording process was fast and furious. Similar to how real musicians would cut records back in the day. You get a couple run throughs and then you track it live with no overdubs and then it’s on to the next one. In addition to setting up we banged out 6-7 tunes within 2 days which is pretty good with musicians that hadn’t played together before.

Ryan: It was a very relaxed approached. No strict agenda. We were still selecting material, and writing new material midway through it. Choosing song keys and arrangements as we went along. The keyboards were analog. They came out of a van, not out of a software zip file. There are no digital keyboards, virtual instruments, samples, or drum machines. Nothing against that stuff. It’s just that we went back in time, and recorded everyone together live in the studio. No endless takes and re-takes as is often done in home studios.

“Think On It” and “You Belong To Me” were written in the ‘90s by my friend in Astoria, Devin Newmeyer. He writes a lot of songs that I like, but hasn’t released any of them. I’ve been listening to his demos for years. He plans to release a solo project next year.

We had two special guests playing with us on select songs, Joel Gottschalk, the bassist for Philip Sayce. Joel is the one who introduced me to Blue Suede Studio’s Shane Soloski. Also we had famed keyboardist Arlan Oscar Schierbaum playing on three songs.

A weird and tragic thing happened. The recording studio is right next to the Van Nuys airport. The power/lights dipped while Shane and I were rearranging the configuration in the studio. We then heard sirens and later learned that a small plane crashed about a mile away killing the pilot who had been training. The guys had gone to lunch, and Tom went to the gym, so I was glad that the sirens weren’t for any of them.

http://www.dailynews.com/general-news/20160803/authorities-looking-for-relatives-of-pilot-killed-in-van-nuys-crash

http://abc7.com/news/1-dead-after-small-plane-crashes-into-building-near-van-nuys-airport/1454168/

“Portland” history… Tom has sent me lots of demos. Sometimes it’s audio that he recorded on his phone. He writes a lot, seemingly everyday. My hard drive is full of videos of Tom, recorded over a period of month, in various states of being half-dressed, half awake, half sober… Belching. On the porch…. in the living room… Both from his old house and his new apartment.

We had more songs in our pocket, but this is what happened in those two days.

Can you talk to us more about your  EP  Broken Pieces?

We booked the studio for two days. I was hoping to come away with two songs, so I was pretty elated at how fast we worked. It exceeded my expectations. I thought we’d only be doing a single. Instead we completed six songs, with three of us trading off on lead vocals.

Any plans to release a groundbreaking or cool video for the single?

We plan to make a music video for “For Tonight”.

Would you call this a departure from previous projects?

This is our first endeavor together as SV. Although we’ve collectively toured or produced music together for other projects.

What aspect of US politics did you get to explore on this album?

We worked on this August 1-2, 2016. Thankfully politics were the furthest thing from our minds.

Any plans to hit the road?

That’s a tough question. No immediate plans. Three members are in the process of moving, rebooting their lives. We all live in different states across the US.

What else is happening next in Suitable Victims’ world?

Both Nick and Landon were married in the last year. Landon and his wife are having a baby next month.

Cameron’s band, 19 Foot Trio, released their double CD last month. http://www.19foot3.com/sound

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/suitablevictims/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/SuitableVictims

About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, play guitar, music geek, movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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