AUTOreverse #14, Summer 2011
aka COCKER SPANIELS
Ian C Stewart
DID YOU MISS AUTOreverse?
Yes, I missed “AUTOreverse” a lot. During the last five or six years of life, I felt very disconnected from the “cassette culture” that served as a musical and psychological lifeline for me when I was a lonely teenager in southeast Texas. “AUTOreverse” was the best of the ‘zines I read to keep myself informed about cassette culture, and its support helped give me the strength I needed to keep making music when the people surrounding me weren’t exactly supportive.
TRICKY QUESTION FIRST: TELL ME SOMETHING ABOUT THIS ALBUM THAT NO ONE ELSE KNOWS.
One thing that I haven’t told anyone about “Sometimes You’ve Gotta Fight to Get a Bit of Peace” before now is that it’s the first album I’ve done for which I intended to write and record all of the songs in standard (EADGBE) guitar tuning. Only the last song is in an alternate tuning. I did this so that it would be easier for me to perform the songs live, as I only own one guitar, and didn’t want to waste time retuning between songs.
WHERE/HOW/WHEN DID YOU RECORD YOUR LATEST ALBUM?
I recorded “Sometimes You’ve Gotta Fight to Get a Bit of Peace” on a Tascam 2488 with three SM57s and an MX 990 condenser mic, with minimal editing done on a PC via GoldWave. Recording took place between the summer of 2006 and the spring of 2009 in various houses and apartments in Beaumont, Austin and Memphis. One song was recorded in an actual studio, but only because that studio had a Rhodes electric piano that I wanted to use; the tracking was still done on the 2488.
IS THIS WORK INDICATIVE OF YOUR OTHER RELEASES?
I think that “Sometimes You’ve Gotta Fight to Get a Bit of Peace” is a natural progression and an incremental improvement from my previous releases. I still wanted the songs to be autobiographical and reflect my various musical influences, but I wanted the fidelity to be better, the singing to be more confident, the arrangements to be less cluttered, and the lyrics to have more universal appeal. I believe that I accomplished all of those goals.
OVER THE YEARS I’VE NOTICED THAT YOUR WORK HAS A CERTAIN … (INSERT PROVOCATIVE-SOUNDING WORD HERE)…. HOW DID YOU ARRIVE AT THAT?
You’re gonna have to decide which provocative-sounding word to use before I can intelligently answer that question :-P
WHERE CAN PEEPS FIND YOUR MUSIC ONLINE TO PURCHASE OR WHATEVER?
Anyone who wants to purchase my music can do so from three places. You can buy “Sometimes You’ve Gotta Fight to Get a Bit of Peace” from cspaniels.com, hornbucklerecords.com, or cspaniels.bandcamp.com. On www.cspaniels.com, you can also buy a package containing a CDR of songs that don’t appear on my official albums and some homemade cookies from yours truly (not kidding). On cspaniels.bandcamp.com, you can also purchase mp3s of “Withstand the Whatnot,” my currently out-of-print album from 2004.
WHAT SERVICES DO YOU USE FOR PEOPLE TO DOWNLOAD YER STUFF, AND DO YOU LIKE IT? SHOULD I USE IT?
I was slow to hop on the Bandcamp bandwagon because the website wasn’t initially very forthcoming about how it sustains itself financially. Now that I know how it generates revenue, I feel more comfortable using it, and I’m very satisfied with its services so far. I’ve also found out about tons of great unknown bands and artists through Bandcamp. I think I buy something from that site on a weekly basis!
WHERE DO YOU FIND THE ENERGY TO KEEP CREATING AFTER ALL THIS TIME?
I try to structure my life so that I can devote at least two or three hours a day to writing, practicing and/or recording songs. I have a full-time job that allows me to set my own hours, so I don’t have to work the standard Monday-Friday 8-5 shifts that most people do. I make sure to get eight hours of sleep a night no matter what, so that I can think clearly when I’m awake. I don’t drink or smoke excessively, and I don’t stay up very late unless it’s to see live music or films. I keep my inner social circle as small as drama-free as possible. I just try to stay focused, disciplined and level-headed in all things so that my creativity can flow as freely as possible.
WHAT’S NEXT FOR YOU?
My plans for the second half of 2011 are to rebuild my home studio so that I can start recording the next Cocker Spaniels album, which will be called “Talent Won’t Keep Me Warm @ Night”; organize a three-piece backing band to play local and regional live shows with (I’ve performed strictly solo since the late 1990s); and develop cspaniels.com into a comprehensive archive of my musical activities over the last 15 years.
thank you, Sean!