John Vanderslice

John Vanderslice and Ryan Sweeney outside of the Local 506 in Chapel Hill, circa 2007.

Season One: Episode Five

Just over seventeen years since first interviewing musician, producer, and recording studio owner John Vanderslice in 2007 (pictured on the left), Ryan catches up with John and talks about his selection “Montezuma” by Fleet Foxes and much more!

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Season One Playlist

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John: We’ve literally tied a piano player’s hand behind their back. Like, literally tied it with string so they couldn’t use their right hand because they were too good. We take off players headphones all the time. We take them off and unplug them so they can’t get any tonal or pitch reference. Because sometimes you need to have the feeling that you’re playing in the dark, you know?

Ryan: In 1989, John Vanderslice moved to San Francisco, releasing three records with the band Mk Ultra. In ’97 he opened Tiny Telephone Recording so he could offer an affordable recording studio to the Bay Area indie scene.

In addition to recording his own solo records, he’s produced and collaborated with bands such as Spoon, The Mountain Goats, Death Cab For Cutie, and well there’s a kind of hilarious story involving Third-Eye Blind, but 60 Songs That Explain The ’90s did a good job touching on that one in the “Semi-Charmed Life” episode and you should give that a listen after this.

As a radio interviewer, John Vanderslice is my opening track. Back in 2007 I was getting really involved with my campus radio station, WSOE. I saw that John was playing a show at a venue in Chapel Hill. I had never been to a club show before. Only outdoor arenas and theaters. I also didn’t have a car, so I recruited a fellow DJ to join me; and also drive me. I sent John an email and asked if I could interview him before the show. He agreed. The story doesn’t end there, but you’ll have to listen through the episode to get the rest of it, as well as John’s philosophy on recording bands, fighting the formulaic systems of musicmaking, doing karaoke with Chapo Trap House gang, playing shows in peoples’ living rooms, and more!

Enough intro, let’s make a mixtape!

[Intro Music by Scotty Sandwich]

Ryan: John Vanderslice, thank you so much for joining me and helping make a mixtape on this first season, Opening T racks. You picked “Montezuma” by Fleet Foxes off of Helplessness Blues. Why did you pick “Montezuma?”

John: Well, a couple reasons why. First off, I think that record is like very unusual and it’s like a very vulnerable indie rock record and it just shows you how powerful like choral singing is. And then you kind of wonder like, why aren’t there more people doing that? You know what I mean? Like, why isn’t there more ensemble singing? I mean, The Roaches do it, You know, when it’s there, it’s amazing. It’s so powerful. And I don’t know, it just like, I say this as a guy, there’s like really devalued vocals in my own music because I’m making like more electronic stuff. And, sometimes I think it’s just sheer laziness on my part that I’ve done that because vocal writing, vocal arranging and kind of like lyric writing, melody writing. It’s so much harder than everything else. When it’s done right, I think that song is really amazing. And then one of the other reasons I put it there is that a couple of weeks ago, I went to one of the Chapo Trap House guys were having a birthday party for Will Menaker.

Ryan: Cool!

John: Yeah, it was really fun. It was in LA and it was at this bar called the Black Hat, which is actually a horrible bar, but that’s another thing. But the party itself was fun and it was like a great group of people. And my girlfriend, Maria suggested that I sing “Montezuma” for karaoke because they had like karaoke set up. So I was like pretty toasted and I sang Montezuma and I wasn’t sure if it was going to work and it really was so much fun. It was like amazing to sing it.

Ryan: I love that, doing karaoke with the Chapo crew.

John: Yeah, it was great.

Ryan: Thank you for picking this one because I don’t think I’ve actually spent some quality time with this record. And so I’ve been listening to it a lot over the last week or so. And yeah, that was the first thing that stood out to me was that use of choral vocals. It really… goosebump-inducing.

John: I know. I know, man.

Ryan: I didn’t expect it from I guess what I had known of Fleet Foxes or what I’d listened to before and just the way that hey arranged that song.

Doing some digging on Reddit, I think it was on the Fleet Foxes subreddit someone said, “similar to how a great first sentence can suck you into a novel, the opening lyric of ‘Montezuma’ set the tone for Helplessness Blues in a perfect way.

John: Yeah

Ryan: And I loved the comparison to that first line of a novel too. I feel like it nailed it.

John: It’s great, and it’s really beautiful. It’s touching. And the record is solid, man. It’s a solid record.

Ryan: It is. Yeah, the arrangement is incredible. This is the 10th one of these that I’ve recorded so far for this season, and it’s interesting to see the different intro songs and what they do for a record. And I feel like this falls into the camp of this really sets the tone well of what’s to come.

John: Yep. Absolutely. Definitely.

Ryan: I mean, you’ve been involved with countless recordings, with Tiny Telephone, you have many producer credits to your name. Have you ever been in the studio working with a band and thought to yourself, man, they should really open their album with this track that they’re recording?

John: Yeah, and I have to say that 90% of the time, a band is not going to be as adventurous with an opening track as you want them to be, you know?

One of the reasons why I stopped producing records is that bands are surprisingly conservative. I mean, there are exceptions, you know? I always thought that like [John] Darnielle of the Mountain Goats was actually probably the weirdest sequencer. His sequencing was so fucking weird. In the best way it made no sense to me. I think that Radiohead would be another band that would be like, “why is this sequence happening?” But that move to keep the listener unsure of what’s happening and what- cause listen, we know the arc. This is the arc. You want to hear the arc? This is the arc. First song sounds like no other song on the record. It’s shorter, it’s weirder, it’s experimental, and it doesn’t show the full palette of what a band can do, and it might not have as much rhythmic or dynamic information as the other songs. And it really has this intro vibe that is more of a question mark. The second song is like the single. The third song is like the second single. And then from there bands don’t really care. That template just holds over.

It’s crazy how many records that template holds. And when bands just willfully break that template and, you know, I think with Darnielle is that if there was a banger, he would not put it on the first half of the record. He doesn’t fucking care. And he almost will withhold that kind of pleasure. And with Radiohead they do the same thing. One of the strongest songs on The King of Limbs is the last song. Then they do this over and over and over again, Hail to the Thief, there’s no rhyme or reason for how the sequence flows. And it’s very exciting.

Ryan: So you think it’s almost that element of surprise, going against that traditional first, second, third template is-

John: 100%. And then the other baller move baller move that’s necessary is like for bands to not bury experimental or weird songs. So common that the coolest shit that happens on a record is gonna be like the third to the last song, you know? And it’s like “god damn it. Like what are you scared of man?”

Ryan: That’s really funny. So my band, I’m in a metal band, and we had some time left to record and we just did an experimental improv thing completely on the fly based on one of the, like a riff that our guitarist had. We improvised it one take, knocked it out and we’re like “we have it should we put it on our release?” and we’re like “I don’t know maybe not it doesn’t really fit.” We ended up putting it on there and it’s always weird when people are like- they mention that song as being one of the standouts. To your point, burying it at the end, it’s an interesting thing to think about how, you know, we’ve definitely done that, but then there are people that- it shines for them, which is interesting.

John: Part of it is maybe that when you guys are out of your comfort zone, you’re really communicating. You know what I mean? Like somehow maybe that’s a more honest version of who you are when you’re not doing what you do, which is really weird to think about. But like, maybe you’re more in touch with actually your essence, because people can see that it’s not secure. The communication isn’t down.

Ryan: I love getting into this. I was listening to I think it was Song Exploder podcast. They were talking with Kae Tempest and how the producer, I think and if I’m getting this wrong I’m sure the internet will correct me, had them deliver their vocal performance to three different people. I think one was a friend, one was someone who was older than them, and then one was a peer. And they got a completely different vocal take based on the person that they were directing their vocal delivery to. And just amazing how that works.

John: I believe it. Yeah, I totally believe it.

Ryan: From your perspective, for the records to your name, how much have you labored on what song to pick first?

John: I mean I would say that mostly I end up specifically recording a song to be first. There’s many times that I’m working on a song and I’m like, “okay, this is going to be the first song” because it has to be an announcement of a new, almost like a departure, a different style, something that feels new and fresh and maybe a little unsafe. So there’s definitely many times, like “Pale Horse” was that on Cellar Door, “Fiji” was that on Time Travel is Lonely, and “Raw Wood” on Dagger Beach. I knew I was like, okay, this has to be the first one.

And like, who knows if that’s good or bad? Because honestly my whole life I’ve been trying to make a whole record of just first songs. You know what I mean? Like that has that freshness, that like vitality, but man it’s fucking hard not to repeat yourself, and it’s really hard not to get into these habits again, you know?

Ryan: Yeah, yeah. How do you keep it fresh for yourself?

John: I think the biggest thing that I have done, I mean, I hate to say it, but I think that taking drugs is a big help, honestly. I think that’s really, unfortunately, it’s like really important. I used to really fucking bristle when I would hear people say that I would be like, “that’s the fakest shit I’ve ever heard.” And now I’m kind of like, I don’t know.

I wouldn’t say taking- I’ve never recorded. I’ve never even recorded high, actually. Once I smoked weed and I played some Moog Source on this song called “Up Above the Sea” on Cellar Door. And I remember it being so difficult to know whether I was in time or not that I thought I was like, this is a bad vibe. This isn’t even fun. That’s the last time, that was 2004 or 2003. So that’s the last time I ever recorded while I was even high.

I mean, I’ve definitely never recorded when I was drinking or anything else because it feels like you need your wits about you. But I think that like taking drugs, especially like MDMA is very helpful because I think it changes what your ear wants to hear. You know, I think it, I think it changes- and this is valuable. Maybe it’s not valuable when you’re 20. I don’t know. But when you’re 50 years old, you know what I mean? When you’re a fucking dog that should be put down. Maybe you need a different path forward.

I really didn’t take MDMA in my- I took MDMA twice in my entire life until I was about 47. So I was straight edge for a long time. When I started taking MDMA, of which I’ve maybe since I was 47, I’m 56 now, I’ve probably taken it, I don’t know, 12 times, 15 times. But those have been incredibly important experiences for me. Sometimes it’s during the experience you’ll be listening to something like Blawan or some fucking deep electronic stuff. And you’ll be like, oh, this is the only thing that matters. Like, this is it. This is the only- I’ve heard like Ross From Friends or Four Tet‘s songs, I’m like, this is all I wanna do.

And then I never forget it. It’s not like it just is fleeting. I’m just like, this is the only thing that matters. And I think that it kind of changes the glitchiness, the distorted EQ shit that you want to hear, even when you’re not rolling, you know?

So the other thing I think is really important is to start to throw away all of the old systems. It’s very difficult to do this. So for me, it was like throwing away guitar and piano and singing. That doesn’t mean that you can’t bring them back at some point, but I started just not recording on tape machines and then recording only in Ableton, mostly leaning on electron, mono machine, and machine drum, early 2000s weird sound module shit, and really being on a grid with unstable instruments.

And then you don’t know what you’re doing again, which is like the fun, that’s fun you know? That’s where we’re supposed to be, you know? So I think that you just got to keep smashing systems. I mean, of course you should stick around long enough to get good at something and try to perfect it and then move on. But like the whole time, you’re never sure what if you’re doing is right. Or I don’t, I have no idea what I’ve done in my life. I don’t, I have no clue man, none.

Ryan: Oh, you’ve made some phenomenal music. That’s for certain.

John: I really hope so, but that’s nice to hear. Thank you.

Ryan: Pixel Revolt has a very, very warm place in my heart because

John: That makes me happy.

Ryan: I first heard of it. My parents got me a subscription to Paste Magazine. I think it was last couple of years of high school, I was really getting to that whole Elephant Six
vibe and really, really digging that sound and Pixel Revolt really, especially “Exodus Damage” just like really clicked. I still get goosebumps to this day when I throw it on.

And then yeah, you were you were my first club show.

John: Oh, where was it?

Ryan: It was Local 506 with St. Vincent opening.

John: Oh, I remember. Was my mom at that show did she come up on stage?

Ryan: I don’t remember much about it, but I do remember hanging out with her while- I think we had showed up, the other DJ and I, who we came to interview you, the sound check was taking a little while, I’m not sure for what, so we were like, “I’ll talk to you after the show.” And we were like, that’s cool. And so I think Erin, the other DJ and I, and Annie and your mom were just hanging out chatting, and it was lovely.

John: Oh my god, that’s amazing. That makes me so happy.

Ryan: I remember it so fondly to this day, having just a wonderful conversation with her. Yeah.

John: It’s incredible. That’s a mi- yeah, I fucking miss my mom, man. Jesus Christ.

Ryan: My condolences, man. I’m so sorry.

John: Yeah, I mean, we’re supposed to lose our parents, you know, that’s the it’s the best outcome, you know, but man, is it fucking sad? Jesus Christ.

Ryan: But I remember I remember her warmth in conversation.

John: Yeah, that makes me happy man. A lot of people met my mom at shows.

Ryan: That’s amazing.

John: Cause I had her up on stage so many times and you know, a lot in DC, mostly in DC, but then there was a bunch of times in North Carolina and like- God, I had her on stage in New York at the Mercury Lounge. I mean, it was like insane, like people recognize her. My mom would get stopped. My mom got stopped a couple of times in Chapel Hill because of that shit, you know.

Ryan: Oh, that’s amazing. Yeah. I’m pretty sure John [Darnielle] came out to that one, too, or I could be making that up. I could be mixing that up with another time I saw him at the 506.

Post Production Note: The John I’m talking about here is John Darnielle of the Mountain Goats.

John: I miss him. He just sent me a kind of a meme that was like so fucked up that he said he could only send it to me and the Peter Hughes and I was like I’m honored that you think that I’m the second most twisted person in the universe.

Ryan: That’s amazing. I love it.

John: I mean like literally said it to me like three minutes before we started.

[Transition Music By Scotty Sandwich]

Ryan: You’re not producing anymore, are you just overseeing the Tiny Telephone operations?

John: I’m just running the studio. I stopped. I only produce really one person now, this rapper from Sacramento named Sarn. All his shit’s on Bandcamp and he’s like, he’s a fucking genius and he’s kind of been grandfathered into my world. I just, I’ll never say no to him for anything, you know?

I’ve worked with him for 12 years now and we just did a record in Oakland I think that I- there’s probably, I mean, I would, I would definitely work with- there’s a couple people I would work with, but, and it’s not that I don’t love producing, producing sick. It’s great. I don’t have any, there’s no philosophical problem I have with it, but
one day I realized like the amount of energy it takes in pre-production, post-production.

To really give a record what it needs, you’ve got to pick a lane. And for me, if I was a full-time producer, then it would make sense that that’s what I do. And I’m kind of like in that mode all the time. I made a decision. I was like, well, I’m either going to produce or I’m going to go back to making records because I was veering too much towards production and, you know, when you produce a record, it’s wild, every producer talks about this, you do not want to make your own music after that.

You’ve already had this very satisfying experience. Your ears are a little toasty. You miss your cats. You miss your girlfriend. You miss your life. You miss your garden, you just get back to your life.

There’s something about if “I just make my own music, I’m in here,” you know, I’m in the studio right now. I’m in here like almost every day. And I have all these standing obligations with friends. I’m making a record right now with my friend, Jamie Riotto, who’s been working at Tiny Telephone for 12 years. He’s been on records of mine since Dagger Beach and the Diamond Dogs record.

Every Thursday, I have an electronic day with my friend Devin, and we just do goofy ketamine chop stuff, and we try to put up music every week. And so those standing obligations, they mean so much to me.

I want to make my own mistakes. And there’s something about when you produce a band, it’s not their fault, I make so many mistakes now, but at some point I was like, I’d rather just make my own mistakes than like try to course correct someone else. Even though it is a force for good to be a producer, I think that producers can really help records, you know?

Ryan: When you when you were producing was your approach a little bit more hands-on or, what was your philosophy?

John: It was like super hands-on until it felt like, and it only, I would say it happened like three or four times where a band was like 100% not into it. And that’s fine, but the thing is that I’m being like, “hey, you’re paying me a lot of, like relatively a lot of money to be here. And like, why hire me?” Do you know what I mean? You don’t go to a therapist and say, hey, we got this. You go to a therapist being vulnerable. And the thing is that it’s not a confusing sell.

I’m not Steve Albini. I am a 100% radical re-maker of sounds. We’ve literally tied a piano player’s hand behind their back. Like, literally tied it with string so they couldn’t use their right hand because they were too good. We take off players headphones all the time. We take them off and unplug them so they can’t get any tonal or pitch reference. Because sometimes you need to have the feeling that you’re playing in the dark, you know, and maybe it’s not even for that take, but maybe it’s for the next take.

We’ve made people tape op that don’t know how to tape op just because we know that they’ll actually make mistakes and erase over parts, because those elements of chaos, they’re not there to psychologically terrorize the band. They’re there to make everyone feel free, because everyone is so tight when they come in the studio.

It’s like- and you probably know this, that bands are so much more conservative than anyone outside of a studio would ever imagine.

I don’t think rap or electronic music is by nature conservative, but I think that indie rock, and I don’t know about metal, but I think that you might as well be in handcuffs when you’re doing an indie rock record.

Not every band is Deerhoof, you know what I mean, or Death Grips. Most bands are like Coldplay, honestly. Do you know what I mean? As far as how rigid they are about their sound and their identity. And so often I was brought in like on record four, five, six, seven, eight, you know, and like bands need life at that point. They’re like suffocating, you know.

And I mean, I thought that John [Darnielle] was really good in like getting the reason why these systems would need to be smashed. But some bands, very few, but I would say that there have been two, especially where I just 100 percent gave up, and that’s pretty good actually, because I probably produced 100 records.

So mostly bands are awesome. Mostly bands are like actually down because all this information is delivered. It’s funny. Like all this shit’s funny to me. You know what I mean? Like it’s no big deal. Like it’s just a record, you know? Like we’re just having fun. But I am always trying to get people to make more radical music.

Ryan: I love that. And I’m gonna just file that away personally as a little nugget. I really- that’s an interesting philosophy and especially thinking about how, yeah, you want a record to really be able to showcase you and who you are and as musicians are human. They’re not robots and you need to show that humanity and that gives it life, gives it tone, gives it, you know, like the bones on an old house. There’s like some, there’s personality to an old house, whereas, you know, one of these modern high rises all just templated and perfect, but also boring.

John: Yeah, 100. And also it’s like, you at your best is like you when you’re courageous, when you’re free and open and like your neural pathways are like fresh and firing. It’s like being in a conversation. What happens with bands is that bands learn systems of how to create music, how to make a song. And it’s like intro, verse, pre-chorus, chorus, post-verse, verse two.

I mean, it’s like you could- there’s times when I’d be marking out sections in a song, and I would be like, god damn it. I don’t have to listen to the song. I just know the form. It’s just going to be so knowable. And it’s not about sounding like a 1974 Yoko Ono record. It’s not, you know what I mean? I’m not asking for that or like some Metal Machine Music or stuff. It’s not that.

But it’s about like- imagine if you were having a conversation with someone at a party. And you’re like, “hey, how’s your week been?” And they’re like, “my week has been very good.” And then. And you’re like, “oh boy, this is going to be tough.” That’s like the pop songs. And not all pop songs. Some pop songs are fucking radical. And rap in general is radical.

What you want is for someone to say, “well, I had a wild week, man, because I learned some shit about how to break chat GPT-4. And this is how you can get a suicide note out of chat GPT. You know what I mean? Or I’m an influencer on TikTok, and I got my third strike, and now I’m out, and I’m trying to reinvent- You’re just like, wait, what? You know what I mean? Okay, this is interesting.

And it’s not about dissonance. That Fleet Fox’s record, completely 100% like, That could have been written in like, you know, 1320. But it’s radical. It’s fucking weird. It’s strange. It’s like surprising. And it’s like, everything about it is weird.

So I think that all of these modes of breaking people’s systems and getting them to not feel self-conscious is just a way to make them feel- to be animals. We are animals.

Ryan: This part of the conversation reminded me of a band from, I think, Belgium. Have you heard Wild Classical Music Ensemble?

John: No, uh-uh. I’m all for it though.

Ryan: Give it a listen. It’s an experimental band with neuro-divergent individuals, I think several might have Down’s Syndrome. And it’s just it’s this pure human music making. You feel the sonic passion behind it. And it’s fascinating.

John: Oh, I love it.

Ryan: Yeah, give it a listen.

John: Yeah, I’ll listen after this.

Ryan: I’ll send you a link.

John: Yeah, do, definitely.

Ryan: I don’t want to take up too much more of your time, but anything that we didn’t cover off on that you want to talk about before we sign off?

John: This has been awesome, man. I mean, I’m always happy to answer any questions, but yeah, I don’t want to go too long either.

This was great. I can’t believe it’s been 30 minutes already. It was really fun.

Ryan: It went by real quick. Are you coming to the States anytime? Or not the States, the East Coast anytime, soon?

John: Well, I am also about to be out of the States. So you’re right about that. My girlfriend and I are going to Greece on the 6th of September. We’ve never been there. We got $560 round trip tickets. We use SkyScanner and we just go when it’s cheap. That’s all we do when we travel.

So we’re gonna mostly be in the Ionian Islands, which are near Albania like Corfu and Paxos and I don’t know. We’re just gonna island hop do our thing and drink some you know, some alcohol and eat some food and go swimming, you know

Ryan: Sounds idyllic as fuck.

John: We literally were watching videos like every night before we go to sleep We’re just like plotting out all this shit’s really fun, you know. And we bought these tickets almost a year ago. So yeah, we are really deliberate. We have like one of these a year next year, we’re going to do Vietnam. So that’s our big deal.

And then we’ll do the same thing. We get on SkyScanner. We try to find the cheapest flight. That’s, you know, that’s not a killer, but then we just plan, you know.

But I’m going to be touring, I think. I have a Midwest tour in the spring, and it’ll be like a hybrid, where I bring electronic music shit out with me and a little PA, and then I play songs and integrate the two together. So it’s really fun.

Ryan: Yeah, I’ve been seeing that you’ve been doing a lot of the house or private shows. How has that experience been? And I’m just curious about it. I’ve never actually been to one of those.

John: It’s great. I mean, I’m puny, so it’s like all I could get away with doing. I can’t position myself as like, “oh, well, I could be playing theaters,” but I decided play houses. But I would honestly say that it’s, and I’m saying this just straight up honestly, these are the best shows I’ve ever been to; are house shows. I don’t know if you’ve been to like, Undertow house shows before, but they’re really, really interesting.

The, the setup is so, it’s so like regimented in all the beautiful ways, like shows start at eight, they’re always at like a super fan’s house. So it’s like, the person who is putting it on fucking cares. There might be cupcakes, there might be some bomb ass wine or some good ass IPAs or whatever. It’s going to be really good- It’ll be a nice cozy house because we’ve sorted it out. So it’ll be just like 40 to 60 people in a very pleasant environment that’s probably very soaked up with like carpet and furniture and shit, so it sounds good.

And when I play, I bring like electronic shit and a really good PA. And then I’ll play an acoustic guitar that’s not amplified with this stuff and then go back and forth, take anonymous questions, tell stories. The show ends at 10 exactly. And it’s such an unmediated, no bullshit. You know, you show up at 7:50 and music starts at eight. You know what I mean?

It’s not like this hellacious, like what the fuck are we doing? When’s the opener stop? It gets right to the point. You’re parking right in front of someone’s house. It’s in a cool neighborhood, probably. Sometimes it’s in an art gallery. Sometimes it’s in a brewery. You never know, once I did a vinyl pressing plant They’re fucking wild, man. Art galleries, I don’t know. It’s, they’re the best shows. So I love those shows.

Ryan: I mean, it seems so intimate. It seems like a wonderful, wonderful experience. Well, if you ever end up bringing that towards North Carolina.

John: Yeah, I’ll play it. My friend is in this band Bombadil, I don’t know if you’re…

Ryan: Oh, yeah, back when I was doing college radio, they frequented [my show]; I love those dudes,

John: Sick. I produced one of their records. It’s-

Ryan: Fences, it’s one of my favorites

John: It’s unbelievable.

Ryan: It’s so good.

John: Incredible. And Scott Solter produced one, who did Pixel [Revolt], a couple records before that.

Ryan: They’re fantastic. Yeah.

John: They’re unbelievable and they’re great live. I’ll play their backyard. So you’ll see me there. I played it last time. James‘s house. So I’ll be at James’s

Ryan: Perfect. Then I look forward to it. Again, thank you so much I’m so glad you could be a part of “Opening Tracks” since you were effectively my opening track to interviewing.

John: Fuck yeah, baby! I love it. I love it, I love it, I love it.

Ryan: Thanks so much to John Vanderslice. As you know by now, I can’t play “Montezuma” on this show, you’ll have to go listen to the Season One playlist for that. However, I would like to leave you with one of John’s tracks, “They Won’t Let Me Run” off of his record Cellar Door. If my memory serves me, this is the song the band was sound-checking when we walked into the 506. He was joined on stage, for this song, by Annie Clarke (A.K.A. St. Vincent) and Daniel Hart who I later learned was in The Polyphonic Spree with Annie and was also a Chapel Hill local. Daniel made some fantastic albums with the band Physics of Meaning and then moved away and has been composing soundtracks for film and TV, such as Pete’s Dragon, The Green Knight, and The Exorcist TV show. This song serves as a reminder of that first club show experience I had, hanging out with Annie and John’s mom. I really had no idea just how special it was at the time, but I will cherish it always.

Ryan: Be sure to subscribe and rate the show if you like what you hear. Transcript and show notes can be found at letsmixtape.com. Join me next week as I talk with Weslie Negrón of the Puerto Rican prog metal band, Moths. Theme music was composed by Scotty Sandwich.