Rademacher's recently-released Babyhawk (Part II of III) is the second in a series of concept albums that tell the story of fictional indie rock band that makes its start playing in East Side LA music venues, seem poised to “make it big,” but things don’t go quite as they intend...
Since we'd already interviewed the band about the previous album, we asked lead Malcolm Sosa to put together a few words about each song on this new one (which is a favorite).
Here are Malcolm's responses and streams of the tracks:
Babyhawk (Part II of III) was recorded by Rademacher in August of 2011 at the Cave Studios with Josiah Mazzaschi. The members of the band for that session were Eli Reyes, Kim Haden, Jonathan Hadden and RC Essig. It was badass.
"ORCHESTRA" This song was written soon after Rademacher finished recording the album Stunts with Aaron Espinoza, there were a slate of song ideas that we compiled during the mixing of the of that record, a number of "what if" scenarios that we didn't have time to pursue at the moment. This song was one of them. The highlight for me is the main chord progression. I enjoy sequences that are long and chromatic.
"MAGIC WORDS" When we came to our session with Josiah Mazzaschi we had a demo version of this song that I had recorded with my friends Chris Flemming and Reid May. Reid has put out a wonderful stream of avant garde / metal / noise recordings that will just blow your mind (all available on his record label called Sweet Sea Records). He came into the session and just played one chord for the whole song. Which is what ended up doing in the album version as well.
"HONESTLY" When you are a musician, sometimes you just end up sitting around with your friends, vamping two chords on your guitar and talking shit to each other. This song took shape on such a day and references places I've worked at, bands we've toured with, and delves into that vibe of cool that people use at times to cover up insecurities. Honestly is much different than honesty, you know what I mean? I love when words don't mean the things they are supposed to mean and we were really trying to play with images and ideas and words on this record. Words like "flight", "success", "honesty" all have a meaning and consequence that is larger in scope than the way I tend to use them on a daily basis.
"UP IN THE AIR" I remember this old footage of the jazz saxophonist Rahsaan Roland Kirk playing live in Montruex that I found on video tape at an old movie rental place called "The Movies" back in Fresno, California. The store was magical in dirty, simple and mysterious way (this was before netflix). It seemed the sort of place that you could find rare jazz footage or possibly purchase a Mogwai if you were insistent enough. this place was a great source for inspiration.
The song we put together is kind of a meditation on of the "songs" Kirk plays in that concert. He is ushered off stage at the end of the show and he is raving about how he can't say goodbye. And I just thought I would take a crack at writing a song about saying goodbye or not saying goodbye and then Kim Haden stepped in and helped me re-imagine the meditative stuff I had written as a love song of sorts. In the Babyhawk universe, the words and vibe relate the the characters attempts to move on and get away from their old band, their old music, their old friends.
"SUCCESS" The green room at the Hi Dive in Denver, Colorado has always proved a great and comfortable spot to lay low and write lyrics while on the road. Grimy, dark and full of old furniture, the place reminds me of grandparents' basement in St. Paul, Minnesota. At the time the tune was written, I was playing keys in a band called El Olio Wolof and it was our first national tour, which the band had worked so hard to make happen, but it was awful because everyone seemed to hate everyone at the moment. To avoid making eye contact with the other folks in the band I just kept my pen on the paper.
Things got better on that tour! I swear, but that sinking feeling, that moment when nothing is working, is stifling when you're in a band trapped with folks. It is like you can't breathe and you'd give almost anything to get out of there. "Success" and "Up in the Air" pair nicely in that respect. The characters I imagine travelling through these songs are on the same lonely journey.
"ORCHESTRA" (REPRISED) I love reprises and overtures from old operas and musical theater. I enjoy hearing the melodic themes return in different forms. So this was my attempt to take the theme form the first song on the record, the "ain't easy to land" lyric and reset it like a classical composer would do. Strings. Big drums. Josiah and Kim and I all went out of our way to make the arrangement and mix sound like something from the movie "Dune". We listen to lots of Toto. And I mean, the we want this "Babyhawk" thing to be epic, right? We are working on more instrumentals and ways to re-use themes we've developed in the first two records on the last record.
Which, in case you are wondering, will be a full length album and it should be out in the first quarter of 2012. We want to put it out on vinyl, but that shit is expensive.