Monday, October 9, 2017

The Erers (Interview) - New Single: "Broken Record"

Even before I first saw The Erers sometime back in 2014, I had a feeling I was in for something of a ferocious nature. Just by hearing that name, I felt like repeating it aloud required growling... The Detroit trio bring a driving, bashing, buzzsaw rock blend of classic 70's heavy stuff, threaded with garage-pop choruses that get caught in your head long after the show, when the ringing in your ears fade... 

photo by Tim Meeks

But what makes their breakout EP I Can Do Anything stand out is their dynamics. Feedback fuzz and distorted effects crash over you like a tidal wave, until they pare everything back in the bridge or a sparser dressed verse. The solos might sound like heavy metal, but there's a nuance to a lot of their turbulent arrangements, experimenting with an indie-art-pop aesthetic of switched-up time signatures before bringing the whole roaring jet engine back for a final chorus. 

Matt Riesterer is on lead vocals and guitar, Christopher Fitcher is on drums, and Jamie Winterbottom is on bass. The band's been building up buzz over the last year, and this Friday they've got a new single coming out on vinyl... The song's called "Broken Record," which you can hear later this week on WDET-FM's "Culture Shift" program, for "The Milo Minute" 

I spoke with Riesterer about the new song, the band's development, and the subtle gradations of going toward such a "heavy" sound...

Anyone encountering ERERS for the first time will pick up on how heavy it is, just in volume and energy. What drew you to that?
When I wrote the first EP I didn’t go in with the intention of making it heavy, distorted, crunchy garage rock. It just happened that way. I’ve always been very into Led Zeppelin and Queens of the Stone Age, so I basically just drew from those influences at first. Out of the six songs we put out on that first EP, I would say only two were really anything like what we’re playing today. But one of the biggest things that drew me in to this sound was a love for fuzz pedals. Love that dirty tone! Besides being really loud and fuzzy, one thing people will notice when they see us live, I mean, if they haven’t before, is our tightness as a group. We practice a couple times every week to feel each other out for when we jam live; a good chunk of our songs are in weird time signatures, so I think that sort of thing might go unnoticed  by the folks in it for just the garage-rock style.

What was your early, formative music experiences like growing up around here… What’s your take on Detroit’s music scene?
I grew up in Troy, so I was far up in the suburbs and didn’t get to experience the Detroit music scene up close until I got older and could drive down… I first got into music through my parents’ playing the radio on car trips; dad would always play oldies and rock stations and Motown, mom played more of the recent hits of the 90’s, so a lot of pop/rock. The first CD I ever bought with my own money was Songs For The Deaf by Queens Of The Stone Age, and that’s when I knew I wanted to play music. I got a guitar the next year…! I’d got to the Magic Stick to see shows all the time in high school but was only seeing some local bands opening up for bigger touring acts. Now that I’ve become more involved (in the local music scene), I really like how much Detroit is about the DIY style. Dally in the Alley is a great example of the Detroit music scene coming together with all sorts of different genres. There are a lot of great vendors as well, it makes me wish something like that happened more than once a year. The Hamtramck Music Festival has also grown so much in the past couple of years and it's just cool to watch as many bands as possible crammed into a weekend.

You guys were in Assemble Sound and working with Alex Kaye… What’s your take on that collective?
I love what's happening at Assemble though, Garret and Nicole have always been very welcoming and hard working. It's just really cool to see other artists in work mode when you're walking through the rooms. They did a project where they released a song every Sunday for a few weeks (called Sunday songs) and we had a song called Deja Vu. I wrote the guitar part at Assemble and Jax (Flint Eastwood) helped me with the melodies which was a highlight for me at Assemble. Chris and I recorded it in one go and I laid down the bass to finish it up right after to make it a pretty quick and easy recording session. We also shot some of our latest music video for our song Not What It Seems at Assemble with Goodpals (Jax Anderson and Nicole Shackleford)

Let’s talk about ‘Broken Record’ and just your approach to songwriting, overall…
We recorded and mixed the song at Key Club Recording Company in Benton Harbor with Bill Skibbe and also with some help from Brian Fox. Alex Kaye (of Assemble Sound) Mastered the song. When I'm writing songs, 99% of the time it starts with a guitar riff. I have thousands of voice memos and recordings most of which are a minute long building on a riff. A lot of songs are just a bunch of pieces put together. If I'm really lucky it'll start with a melody. Broken Record was an idea I had that came along with a riff I wrote. The riff came first and once the song was structured I added the lyrics. I think writing lyrics is usually the hardest part of a song for me, because a feeling of self consciousness comes along with it and I'm constantly erasing things and starting from the top trying to one up myself.

You mentioned earlier how tight you are as a live unit, and the way you guys have to read each other… Where’s the chemistry come from, what makes it work so well with you guys, be it here, or on the road?
Well, there are highs and there are lows just like any kind of relationship with people. I think the best highlight of a low is when we toured around a few spots in the Midwest and our van broke down in Middletown Ohio. I don't think anyone talked on the 4 hour drive back when we got everything sorted out. This was right after our most recent EP release of I Can Do Anything and we had to spend all of the money we just made from that on a new transmission for our van. So that was a huge bump in the road and it delayed us from being able to pay for recording a few new songs for a couple of months. On the flip side, when we pull off shows like that EP release, it feels really good to be able to work something like that out. There's so much planning and effort put into a show like that and when it's all done and over it leaves us on cloud nine.

Any other harrowing road experiences that helped you bond?
We recently went down to Cincinnati and Nashville this summer during a heatwave. It was 100 degrees at least for the whole weekend and our van doesn't have AC. And it was that good muggy heat, so despite it being the sweatiest weekend of the year (and probably my life) we had a great time traveling around with our friends Mr. Phylzzz from Cincinnati. I personally love touring, you get to see a bunch of new places and you get to meet a bunch of cool new people.

What’s up next?
Touring and getting in front of more people. We have a core base of enthusiastic fans in the area that we love and I'd just like to see that group grow. We've also discussed putting out a full length album - but I don't want to rush it.  I am looking forward to putting something like that together, though!


The Erers’ vinylrelease party
The Loving Touch
ft. Craig Brown Band, Trout, and Brother O’ Brother
All Ages
22634 Woodward Ave., Ferndale

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