Facebook R&B crooner Mario has been relatively quiet on the music front for…
- Posted on Aug 9th 2010 2:30PM by Jenny Charlesworth
Alicia J. Rose
"We're a band again," the Portland-based musician happily tells Spinner. "It was more of a project on the two records before this one -- I mainly wrote on guitar and all the other instruments just kind of propped up the guitar and vocals, but now everyone is writing their own part."
"Kathy [Foster] actually wrote the majority of the songs on bass this time," he adds. "Westin [Glass] then wrote his part on the drums, and after I added some guitar, which is how come you get so many songs with less guitar and less chords."
Operating as a full-fledged unit in the studio -- Glass joined the group after their last disc, 'Now We Can See,' was already released -- allowed Harris and Foster to make their fifth effort more organically. "We had gotten into all these overdubs, doing a ton of instruments and really making these packed-full songs. But this time there's none of that," says the chatty frontman. "There's no extra guitar parts -- there's no extra anything -- the band just played and I sang afterward, and then Chris Walla from Death Cab [For Cutie] produced it."
So what does this change in approach mean to the Thermals' melodic pop-punk sound?
"We still have a lot of songs that are fast and loud with lots of 'Oh Ohs,'" Harris says. "But there are also some really spacious songs. Songs that have a lot of room in them instead of all the downstroke on big chords and very loud and in-your-face. It's definitely a new direction for us, a little more introspective and dark, for lack of a better term."
The Thermals co-founder insists that they weren't necessarily striving for moodier material on 'Now We Can See,' tracks just sort of unfolded as they did -- at least initially.
"Everything we do is never so premeditated," he says. "It's more like when we're halfway through then we kind of see what we're doing, and then from there on it's very pointed to get to the end."
Fans can rest assured, though, Harris isn't talking a total departure from the catchy tunes that landed the Thermals a coveted spot on Sub Pop's roster back in 2003 (the outfit is now signed to Kill Rock Stars, the label behind their last effort).
"I still always describe us along the lines of an old-school punk band," he says. "I start with the Ramones because we're fun, not like going-to-kick-your-ass punk, and then, since our sound has always been a little lo-fi, I talk about '90s bands like Eric's Trip, Sebadoh and Guided by Voices."