Photo by Casey Flanigan
It's sort of like anger management rock in the B section. It's like a happy Peter Gabriel into a happy Nine Inch Nails.
-Cinninger on "Bright Lights, Big City" from The Bottom Half
What does the name The Bottom Half mean to you?
It could be the sediment of the music we were working on. It could be the bottom half because we put it out later.
Brendan Bayliss by Brett Saul
The bottom of half the inning?
These are the songs we didn't put out on Safety In Numbers because they were the bottom half of Safety In Numbers.
How about the cover?
If you cut into one of those onions on the front, it will make you cry. Right?
There's all these visual interpretations going on, the whole, like, you cut into a woman and she'll make you cry kind of thing. There are all these little connotations.
Was it the same situation with Safety In Numbers? Did you send Storm Thorgerson the music for him to listen to?
Yeah. All the art's done overseas. He usually gets the lyrics. He broods over them for a while and comes up with ideas and images, sketches them by pencil and then faxes them back to us and we pick which ones represent the music and what we're feeling at the time. It's really the best process. It seems the clearest way to make a real strong idea in an image.
Umphrey's McGee by Brett Saul
What about the future of Umphrey's? What's next?
We're so far into our next studio record now it's pretty funny. We're trying to stay a year ahead of ourselves. I feel like it's really important for a band when they have a nice stride happening - when you're in the twilight or dawn of whatever you are trying to do - to be a step ahead in the recording department. We do so much touring that we have to really make sure that whatever we're going to release a year and a half from now we're totally sure of right now. It's really important not to be rushed. This next album after The Bottom Half could be a very important record for us. Right now we have 18 songs that no one has heard. We're trying to revamp our sound a little bit, trying to create what's going to make us happy to play over the next five years. We're starting to take that demeanor to our songwriting.
So, you aren't road testing anything? You're keeping it under wraps?
We want it to be a surprise. I feel with great albums the release date comes and all this fresh music hits your fan base at once.
And they're thirsting for it.
I'm really trying to press to get a little bit more progressive. Everyone wants you to sound like Anchor Drops right now, and say a year from now they might want another Safety In Numbers, you know what I'm saying? It's just a natural progression to go back to a more intense, progressive sound, more fun arrangements, get a little more intense and more complicated, maybe, but still retain the songs. I feel that's the direction of the next record.
If you're leading your fans on a roller coaster, always hitting them with new musical curves, they'll enjoy the ride too much to ask for anything different.
Exactly. That's the idea. They're kinda stuck on the ride now.
And they're enjoying every moment.
Definitely. And so are we. It's a blast.
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