The Louisianan band hit the road to make 'New Kingdom.'
Abbey Road, Electric Lady, Sound City, Hitsville, USA—these are all names of the world's famous recording studios. However, for Givers, they decided to move away from these musical metropolises and headed to some unexpected places to record their sophomore album, New Kingdom, out now via Glassnote Records. MySpace had the chance to speak with singer and guitarist Taylor Guarisco to find out more about how they ended up out of the city but into some of the most creative moments of their career. Here are 10 things we learned about Givers.
They Traveled Around During Recording
Taylor admitted that although their first record, In Light, brought them all over the world, writing their new album also took them to different places, too. “[When] we went into writing mode, it took us to a lot of different places—from Banner Elk, North Carolina, to Falls River, Louisiana to Eau Claire, WI," he says.
North Carolina Allowed Them to Focus on Songwriting
“The writing process, we thought, was removed from the big city distraction," Taylor explains. "That’s how we ended up in Banner Elk, NC. We ended up renting out this vacation home in the mountains. We moved all the furniture and moved all our gear in and started making songs. We wanted to move ourselves from the day to day."
Justin Vernon Helped Them Out, Too
"With Eau Claire, that came because we played [New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival]," he recounts. "We opened up for Bon Iver. So Justin Vernon, he’s a super gracious dude. He came to our set and offered us the house where we were making our second record and then offered us the studio in Wisconsin for us to work. So we took him up on it. We ended up recording half the record there, up there in the snowy hills of Eau Claire. It was a beautiful place to work in. And it was so cold that no one went outside.”
By Leaving the City, They Were Able to Make 'New Kingdom'
"All these songs and the difference in the sounds you hear are all in us wanting to do something different," Taylor explains. "The first record, for us, was an adventure and an experiment as a band. It has always been the flagship of this band that we were always going to explore new places and go somewhere we’ve never been before and enjoy the ride. This new record follows that mission statement, if you will, by creating a lot of different sounds, instrumental choices and also the writing process."
"Bermuda" is "Experimental"
“For me, it’s the lead track of the album, ‘Bermuda,’" he says. "I think it’s the most experimental. It kind of stands out. We always try to go the place where it’s hard to genre-fy it. The feeling of that song is like, ‘OK, we’re cross-pollinating genres here.’ Adding these 808 beats low and taking these kick drum samples and Speakerboxx and Outkast’s influence got into it. It’s really exciting.”
And The Video Taps Into The Alien in All of Us
"Tiff and I started writing ideas for a treatment," he explains. "The idea came that this alien being that would be played by Tiff has landed on Earth. It’s finding its bearings and finding its humanity while it’s going through its alienness. I feel like everyone deals with that in their own way. Everybody has that feeling that ties to being an alien and some part of them, at times, gets comfortable. The visual explored that idea.”
The Video Also Gave Givers Their First Directing Credits
"It was the first video we wrote and co-directed with our friend Emma Kanter," he says. "We mapped out the timeline and scouted the locations. We shot for two days, very DIY, low-budget project that we funded ourselves. I think it's the first video I'm actually proud of. I think our other videos are a fucking joke. [Laughs.] No offense to our director friends who worked on them, but this is the first video we wrote all the ideas for and made sure it came out the way we visualized them. That's why I'm so proud of the video. It was such a team effort."
Taylor Wants Us to Find Our Own Meanings in Their Songs
"There are some people who love talking about the meanings of their songs, and there are some that want to leave it up to the listeners," he conveys. "I love playing with the meaning of the songs. To me, I like how everyone can interpret it in their own ways. I would never want to take it away from you. But without going into specifics, for me, it’s a song about going somewhere and getting lost along the way. Hopefully you’ll find a path along the way."
They Wanted to Do Things Different With the New Album, And They Did
“There was this rule in my head that this record, we weren’t going to rely on the foundational elements that the first record utilized," he says. "What that meant is that we were changing this up, and energetically and emotionally taking it to other places. We wanted to be aware that we wouldn’t repeat ourselves. I’m proud that we were able to make these 12 songs and not rely on these West African beats and make something honest and make something that felt like we went to a new place as a band. We wanted to go someplace special and create a world with these songs that were honest to this band but are also new and refreshing to us.”
They're Always Working on New Material
"We're always working new songs. And for the rest of the year, we've got tours and shows lined up. But we also make sure to have time off even though we do tend to do things in between things and keep ourselves occupied."