Sunday, July 23, 2017

"Interesting Sonic Phenomena" - Matt Smith talks about Deadbeat Beat's 'When I Talk To You'

Matthew Smith said he doesn't often say yes when a band asks him to produce a record...

Zak, Maria and Alex of Deadbeat Beat.
When I Talk To You was recorded in the late summer of 2010 with Matt Smith

But you can hear his engineering work woven into the sonic tides of When I Talk To You, an album written and performed by The Deadbeat Beat that he captured almost seven years ago. That album is coming out on vinyl this weekend, via the Nashville-based label Glad Fact. 

Matthew Smith
photo from ThingPen
"So I agreed to do the record," Smith said, "and pretty quickly, the more I realized the quality of the writing and the kind of interesting sonic phenomena that was going on, I think I quickly strayed into this kind of intense Phil Spector mentality! And, I don't mean that in that there were any firearms drawn, but, it's just that, I got very focused in on trying to go where the songs seemed to be leading us. I definitely got really involved with (Deadbeat Beat)'s music...."

Smith is the founder/leader of Outrageous Cherry, a Detroit institution for psychedelic garage and Brit-pop jangled, atmospheric fevers of fun hooks, propulsive percussion and earworm melodies. His resume also includes The Volebeats, The Witches, THTX and much more, including backing up Nathaniel Mayer! Also, after a long tenure in the legendary Car City Records, I'll trust his sagely ears more than anyone, when it comes to crafting an album.

"When I make a record, like this kind of record, (When I Talk To You), it's important to me that the final product be something I can play next to something like Communication Breakdown by Led Zeppelin, or California Girls by the Beach Boys and have it be able to hold its own. And, I just feel that there's too often a tendency, more in the realms of indie-rock, to just get something down on tape and that that seems to be enough..." But Smith went into kind of a mad-scientist-role for this one....

"I did all the mixes and actually wouldn't let (singer/guitarist Alex Glendenning and drummer/singer Maria Nuccilli) attend them, because I said that it'd be too traumatic for them," (chuckles), "that they'd see me turning all these knobs and mutating the music in different directions and that it'd give them nightmares! But at the end of the day, I felt like I can play this thing next to any of my favorite records!"

When I Talk To You was released on cassette (Gold Tapes) several years prior. The administer of that same label, Zak Frieling, is actually the band's current bassist. Their first real permanent bassist. Then the opportunity came up this year for Josh Gillis, their first bassist, to get that same record out on vinyl through his own label. Glendenning and Nuccilli, as you'll read in a forthcoming interview, really wanted to get this out on vinyl, even as they're already wrapping up another album which will be out sometime in the next year.

"They were from the east side," Smith said, recalling when he first met the longtime musical duo. "I felt that Alex was writing about life in Grosse Pointe the way that Lou Reed wrote about life in New York. And I felt that he was putting it under a microscope in a way that I hadn't heard anyone do before. There was something real going on with those two, in the music; and a real genuine poetic sensibility that combined with the fact that they're just all good players, and this highly developed musical sense. It's really deep. By the time we did this record, they had evolved into something that was very different than what I'd heard in Detroit."

Smith said he's gotten very positive responses from the recording. He said that Jim White, (drummer from The Dirty Three), told him it's the best record Smith has ever done.

Outrageous Cherry, meanwhile, is entering the final stages of its next record. You should keep your ears open for that in the coming year. "If you like that song, 'No God?'" Smith said to me, before our conversation concluded, "then you'll probably really like (the new Outrageous Cherry album)."

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