Cris Cohen: I read that the songwriting for the album “Color TV” stretched over 20 years. With songs that went back that far, when it came time to record, did you make adjustments, so those songs reflected where you are currently, or did you keep them as time capsules?
John Easdale of Dramarama: I would say they were more of a time capsule, particularly the songs that deal with substance abuse. I wrote them when I was still struggling to get clean. Actually, I left them off the last two albums I put out. They were just a little bit too close for comfort at the time, and they fit into the narrative of this album really well.
Cris Cohen: With the passage of time, are you able to have a little distance between where you are now and the emotional state you were in when you wrote them?
John Easdale: Definitely. It is more like looking back on something rather than being in the middle of something.
Cris Cohen: But then, when you record, do you have to kind of pull all that back into yourself to get the same emotion as when you wrote it?
John Easdale: It is funny, because, when you sing a song, it does not matter if it is a song I wrote 35 years ago, 25 years ago, or 10 years ago. It brings you right back to that moment. And hopefully, if I am doing it right, I channelled that moment. And that moment in time and those emotions come back, and that spurs on the energy of the song.
Cris Cohen: It has been a 15-year gap between your previous album and this one. What was the reason for the gap in the recording years?
John Easdale: We actually started recording about 10 years ago. Most of it was a question of being able to get in the studio. We were lucky enough to use this wonderful facility in Los Angeles called The Village. It is usually occupied by world class clients. We snuck in on weekends and holidays. It took a lot longer as a result.
Cris Cohen: When you let something percolate for that long, how do you resist the urge to keep tweaking these songs? Since they are not recorded yet, and you have got all this time, I would think the urge would be, "Maybe I will just change this a little, change that a little.”
John Easdale: There was a lot of that in terms of the sounds and new technologies, allowing us to change the mixes, and maybe add a little bit of overdub here and there. But for the most part, the songs were born fully grown. You would notice the differences if you listened to the initial recordings and the finished product, but you would also notice they were very much finished products. When I write the songs, and I know what I want them to sound like, I show the band and that's what you get.