Today is the birthday of the famous and controversial German composer, Richard…
- Posted on Mar 5th 2013 5:25PM by Curtis Sindrey
Vicky Cryer Facebook
Hill enjoyed his freedom with this new project.
"It was the first time since I was a kid that I wasn't bound by being in a band," Hill told Spinner. "I basically hibernated in my studio and started working on a record. Little by little I made new friends because it's L.A. and it's a very transient place and the record eventually took hold."
Despite the notable bands associated with the project, Hill downplays the idea of it being a supergroup.
"It's more fluid than that. I want [Vicky Cryer] to be an ever-evolving thing, a cast of characters coming in and out to collaborate," he says. "Nothing is set in stone."
Hill has evolved musically, too. Louis XIV were known for writing debauched tunes like "Finding Out True Love is Blind" from Louis XIV's second album The Best Little Secrets are Kept. Nowadays Hill favors more introspective compositions.
"[Songs like that] were written to be intentionally raw, and it was very off-the-cuff lyrically," he says. "This next record holds the best of what I have written, some of my most favorite things that I've written in my life. Some of it is still very off-the-cuff, like, where I would literally press record, walk up to the microphone, and just sing."
An avid reader, Hill based his new album on Aldous Huxley's 1931 novel "A Brave New World," which discusses being infatuated with a girl who keeps him at arm's length. The book's notion of a College of Emotional Engineering delves into what it felt like to be in a relationship and not be able to go deeper even if there's a great admiration for the person.
"It feels synthetic," Hill says. "I literally wrote the song while at a breaking point with this girl and I was hoping that we would suddenly get deeper, but it didn't turn out that way."
Since finishing recording Vicky Cryer's debut album, Hill's already at work on a follow-up, which is currently sounding like a synth-based album.
"There's four songs that are done and there are bunch of little ideas or jams that I'm working on," he explains. "I wanted to make this album something different. We'll see what it becomes at the very end, but a lot of it is stemming from work on these really crazy old synths including a vintage Yamaha CS-50."
Hill's a student of sound. When the rest of the members of Louis XIV were buying cars and houses after they signed to Atlantic, Hill splurged on vintage recording equipment instead.
"I've been collecting weird equipment since practically the dawn of my existence," Hill says. "And when Louis XIV signed their big record deal and publishing deal and all of that bullshit, instead of buying cars and houses, I took all of my money and bought recording equipment like Neve consoles and incredible microphones from the '50s so that I could continually make records."
Although Hill has yet to see Dave Grohl's new documentary "Sound City," which condemns the rise of digital recording and ProTools, Hill isn't the tecnophobe the Foo Fighters singer is.
"It's just easier to experiment with ProTools rather than tape because you don't want to spend $300 on a roll of tape when the idea that you're working on might not even be something," explains Hill. "A really great sounding tape machine can make all of the difference, but a shitty sounding tape machine isn't going to do you any favors either."
Hill is also a passionate vinyl record collector. Although he rarely listens to the thousands of records that occupy three bookcases in his house, there are certain records like Serge Gainsbourg's Histoire de Melody Nelson that he can't live without because "sonically that thing is one of my favorite records of all time."
"I was lucky enough to have lived down the street from two record stores," he says. "It was great because you could look and then listen to records just because you like the cover of something. Really dabble. There was a great education to be had with vinyl records."
After signing a publishing deal with Universal, Hill was asked to write songs for X Factor USA 2011 winner Melanie Amaro, He doesn't watch the show, though. "I find it horribly bad for the soul of music." However, after a meeting with Macy Gray and hearing a song of his that was a work-in-progress, they instead decided to work together on her forthcoming album.
"Someone thought that Macy Gray and I were weird enough to hit it off and I wrote a pretty cool song, this piano and drum thing where I was copying Phil Collins' drum beat on 'Intruder' and when I played it for Macy, you could tell that the tension from her just lifted and instantly she was like 'you can't give this to her, I want it,'" Hill explains. "My favorite new track of hers is called 'I Miss the Sex,' which sounds like these early '70s African records. We'll see where it takes us."