Solos (Formerly Amaranth) is the new experimental rock venture of Hella’s Aaron Ross and Spencer Seim. Their ‘debut’ if, you want to technically call it that, is one of my favorite, more ‘standard’ rock projects I have heard this year. And while I would most definitely consider Solos ‘Rock Music’ there are elements that stand in a legue of their own. Something about Ross’s unique songwriting abilities juxtapozed against Seim’s technical abilities is somewhat of a match made in heaven. And while I tend to lean more towards more abstract rock stylings, I must say, I am loving this. I had the opportunity to hop on Gchat with Seim whilst he was in the midst of “Typing with his phone while trying to watch cars go 400mph on the salt flats in Utah at Bonneville Speedway” to talk a bit about the recording process, working with Guy Massey, and bluetooth headsets. Here is what he had to say:
TE: How long have you an Aaron been working on this new project? and why the name change from Amaranth?
Spencer: Aaron and I have been working on this project for a little over 2 years now. We played a few shows early on when we were demoing the album. Then, we went into record mode for the full length and wrote the songs for our next album. Amaranth was a working title doing that period so when it came time to officialy release an album we went with Solos.
Aaron seems to have much stronger presence on this record than previous Amaranth stuff, as in, his abilities as a songwriter really shine through. Was that a conscience effort?
We had two amazing producers on this album. Guy Massey and Josh Henry. With the right mics and the right coaching I think we really got the most out of Aaron’s voice.
I remember you talking about wanting to make a record like this for a while now, did this turn out the way you had envisioned it?
Totally! I have done a bunch of super critter lo fi recordings in the past (which I love) but this is something that I have always wanted to do. That is, work in a great studio with great producers who want to expand on what we are already doing. Not change it or water it down.
It’s allot less experimental than some of your previous recordings as well, also in terms of the songwriting, did you two consciously attempt to make more of a ‘rock’ record?
Not consciously. Aaron and I just started getting together and writing music. these are the songs that happened to come out during that time period. I can tell you that our next album will be drastically different. It wasn’t really planned that way, this next batch of songs just represent where our heads are at now musically.
When can we expect the next record?
No release schedule yet. Right now Beast of Both Worlds is taking precedence over everything. We are working on tours for the next year or so and we will fit in recording the next one when we can.
What was it like working with Guy Massey and how did that come about?
Our good friend Josh Henry who co-produced the album with Guy made the connection. He had worked with him previously on another recording and passed our demo along. Guy really liked our stuff and offered to come out and record us for a pretty punk budget. He was already scheduled to come out for the Grammys in Los Angeles for his work remixing and remastering the Beatles collection. We just extended his flight so he could spend 21 days in the studio with us. It was an amazing experience. We couldn’t have asked for more inspiring dudez to work with.
Did you ever have a moment where you took a step back and thought to yourself: ‘Whoa, this fuckin dude worked with The Beatles…”?
Well, he didn’t actually work with the Beatles on the original recordings. I did however stand back and think “Damn” this dude was given the job to remix and remastering the entire Beatles collection. He got to sit down with those original four t?rack tape masters and do his thing with them. Now I understand why he was given that job. Super rad dude with amazing talent.
Can I ask an unrelated question? And, you don’t necicarilly have to answer this, but, I remember a while back in Portland you where sportin a bluetooth because you didn’t like to hold your phone to your head, can you explain that theory? And, if you are still sportin the bluetooth, what is the current decoration setup?
Ha! I used that thing for about a month when I got my first cell phone. I didn’t want to be all Business/Bionic so the thing eventually got squished in my pocket. Big pain in the ass. I got a cellphone pretty late in the game and now I just melt my brain along with everyone else.
What was the decoration setup though? Didn’t you decorate it to make it less business/ bionic?
I think it was more of a fem rasta rave Bluetooth setup.
Haha awesome, anything else you want to add in regards to the record?
Just that we’re super stoked to have it coming out on Joyfulnoise recordings and plan on many records to come.
I personally, am also super stoked, and, ya know, you should be too… And if you aren’t completely sold yet, give it a listen below…