Hi guys, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?
Pandemic and political insanity aside, we’ve just moved to a different house, so there’s a fair amount of chaos, but otherwise I can’t complain!
Can you talk to us more about your latest single “Choose Now”?
This song began as a chord progression I was playing with on the piano. I was having a little fun with idea of looping through the same four chords over and over in groups of three, stopping at a different place each time. So I would play chords 1, 2, 3, then 4, 1, 2, then 3, 4, 1, etc. And I wrote a note to myself to keep the lyrics simple. “No tricks, no riddles…” And somehow that note grew into the story of a relationship at a crossroads.
Did any event in particular inspire you to write this song?
No, this one’s pure fiction.
Any plans to release any video for the track?
We did a few videos for a previous release, Nine Kinds of Happy, where we invited a video crew to join us for the day in the recording studio. Most of that album was cut live in the studio, in a single day. The new release, The Sand Reckoner, was recorded over a period of about two years, a song at a time. So the process didn’t lend itself to the same approach. But it would be fun to do something on video again.
The single comes off your new album The Sand Reckoner – what’s the story behind the title?
The Sand Reckoner is the title of a book by Archimedes, wherein he attempts to calculate the number of grains of sand it would take to fill the known universe.
What aspect of Archimedes’s eponymous book did you get to explore on this record?
After the album was recorded, I was searching for a title that would express the theme running through the songs. When I came across the title of the book by Archimedes, I immediately liked the sound of it. And I think songwriting, in trying to express the richness of human existence, shares some of that same grandeur of scope and futility. You’ll never get all of it, but it’s fun to try!
How was the recording and writing process?
For this album, they really went hand-in-hand. I generally start with a musical idea; perhaps a chord progression, or a beat, or a riff on guitar. I try to record everything right away, and then spend a few days listening until I get an idea for the lyrics and melody. Then I’ll either work out the arrangement with my bandmates or send the idea out to Jim Watts, my co-producer, who lives out on the west coast, and gets his thoughts.
With the great reception your previous work has gotten – did you feel any pressure while putting this album together or rather the opposite
Not pressure, exactly. After so many nice reviews in a row, you never want the next album to be the clunker of the bunch. But our previous album was a bit of a challenging listen in some ways; quite broody in spots. So I made a conscious effort to have this one be a bit more fun.
What made you want to tackle this particular story?
I’m generally not aware of a theme running through the songs until I’m looking back on the finished album. In this case, the theme was relationships in varying states. The song “Chocolate and Cherries” is fairly autobiographical, and “The Bill Comes Due” sprang from a real-life experience, but otherwise the songs are mostly fiction.
Where did you find the inspiration for the songs and lyrics?
There’s a quote from the artist Paul Klee, “Art does not reproduce what we see. It makes us see.” I’ve always liked writers and painters who can take a subject you’ve seen a hundred times and show it to you from a new perspective. Most of my writing comes from trying to capture the momentary sparks of magic in ordinary life; sitting in exhausted silence in a parking lot at midnight watching birds play around the lights, or that feeling of disconnection when you’ve just finished a project and don’t know which way to go next, or that very first realization that you’re about to fall in love.
What else is happening next in Last Charge of the Lighthouse’s world
We’re all eager to be performing again, once it’s safe to do so. And of course we’ll be encouraging everyone to get out and vote in the fall elections. But more immediately, I need to unpack a few more boxes and figure out which one has the shampoo and which one has the lightbulbs. And the pancake mix. Definitely need to find the pancake mix.