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One Year of The Lemon Twigs 'Everything Harmony': "The Main Goal of the Album Was to Record Something With Immaculate Production in Which There Wasn't Anything in the Wrong Place"

To celebrate the one year anniversary of The Lemon Twigs' unabashed masterpiece Everything Harmony, I dug up an interview I did last summer with both Brian and Michael D'Addario from their Brooklyn studio all about the album's unified song cycle of isolation and euphoria, revealing their artistic evolution, and what it's been translating these complex arrangements now live in a four-piece band.

Photo by Eva Chambers

This interview occurred on July 25, 2023


Paperface Zine: What music have you been listening to lately?


Michael D'Addario: I've been listening to a lot of The Laughing Dogs, which Michael [Cipolletti] and Reza [Matin] of Uni Boys turned me onto. 


Brian D'Addario: I've been listening to all the Dolly Mixture that's streaming. It's pretty amazing how consistent all of it is. I've been also listening to The Three O'Clock's Sixteen Tambourines.  


PZ: How has it been having Everything Harmony out in the world the last couple months?


BD: It's been great. We sort of always work on a bunch of stuff at once. So there are some tracks that we're finishing up for a new album that we were working on as we were completing Everything Harmony. If we're not playing shows, we're usually recording something in the studio. Since we acquired this space in Brooklyn, we've been working at a quicker pace the last couple years than we were before. 


PZ: What's the story behind the album coming together in different studios?


BD: So we were moving out of our parents house at the time into this rehearsal studio in Manhattan, which we weren't that productive in because it was incredibly noisy from all the street sounds and the metal band that was playing next door. So we did as much as we could there over the course of 4-5 months before deciding to finish the album in a real studio at Hyde Street in San Francisco, which was the first time we did that on our own. 


PZ: Everything Harmony is far beyond anything you guys have done in the past with a grandeur picture of your multigenerational inspirations from Simon & Garfunkel, Colin Blunstone, Emitt Rhodes, Gene Clark, and Alex Chilton. 


MD: Yeah there's all different kinds of songs and production throughout it. The main goal of the album was to record something with immaculate production in which there wasn't anything in the wrong place. 

PZ: What did you enjoy most about the visuals paired with the new album like for "Any Time of Day" or "In My Head"? 


MD: With "Any Time Of Day," we had director Ambar Navarro so we were sort of hands-off, although we were involved in the pre-production side of it, in terms of pulling references. Mainly our philosophy is if we can get ourselves looking pretty okay on film and then a general concept then that should be enough and that's kind of the concept that we went with for each video. The songs sort of lent themselves to making a music video too. 


BD: For the "Corner Of My Eye" music video, we had help from Hilla Eden. She also helped us with this new live video of "Ghost Run Free" with Paul Millar who recorded the audio and edited the video. We've been lucky to be around a few people who are very good at that sort of thing and very open to collaboration.


PZ: At your live shows, everything sounds heavier and more dialed-up. How has it been translating these very intricate songs with the four-piece band? 


MD: It's been good. With Danny Ayala and Reza Matin in the fold now, we can cover any instrument that needs to be done, so we kind of switch as necessary. And we're also four vocalists, so we're able to kind of fill in the gaps of the orchestrations with background vocals and there's keyboards on stage if need be. I mean the album is sort of orchestral and fleshed out and four people can't really do it the way that it's on the record but it's always a process of adjusting and translating the album to the live set. 


PZ: What have been some of your favorites off the new album to play live? I really enjoy hearing "Ghost Run Free" at your shows. 


MD: That one's very fun to play live. "In My Head" is another one I very much enjoy playing live too. When we play "What Happens To A Heart" live, I play drums, which is fun. I like when we play the singles because it's exciting for us to see the audience react to something that they're more familiar with.


PZ: How do you guys manage to integrate all the different musical influences you tap into while maintaining this coherent style that's very much your own? 


MD: I think it's a natural thing really — you can do an impression of another musician and it would still come out far from perfect unless you're the perfect impressionist. I think that the fact that the albums that we record are all recorded on an analog tape, and there's a sort of arranging style that we have, so it's always going to come out kind of similar to the albums we grew up on or love. You're always going to kind of have the same idea four times or more even if you think that you're having a brand new idea. 


PZ: What has it been personally for you working with some of your musical heroes like Todd Rundgren and Jody Stephens? 


MD: It's been great, especially having the pleasure to work with those guys. They both make us feel totally comfortable and they're such great performers still. You can ask them to do something and they'll be able to do it without very much laboring over it or anything like that — they're both exceptional talents.

PZ: Are there any possibilities of a Twigs record being produced at Ardent Studios in the near-future?


MD: Possibly! They have great chambers. Their echo is some of the best I think. Certainly outside of California.


BD: That's definitely something that we'd like to do at some point. We only just recently got our studio space set up in Brooklyn. We're having a good time too not having to watch the clock and things like that. 


PZ: What was it like working with the Uni Boys and supplying keys and backing vocals for their new album, Buy This Now!


BD: It was great. They came in extremely prepared because we had a very limited amount of time to record — I think it was like twelve days or something. So they did all the drum tracks first, all the bass the next day. It was surprising how we were able to get everything recorded that we wanted to in that short amount of time. 


PZ: What has it been like developing a friendship with those guys over the last year?


MD: When we're on the West Coast with those guys, we all turn each other onto new stuff and jam together on songs that we all know. We're starting to sort of get a community here in New York of musicians, where in the past it was mostly childhood friends and family. We're sort of expanding our circle.


PZ: Lastly, has the brotherly dynamic changed over the years or has it remained the same?

 

BD: We actually get along more than we did when we first started the band. Our musical goals have sort of narrowed and met in the middle of things that we were both passionate about and that happened without any conscious effort. It does reflect on the relationship I think because when you're aligned as far as what you want to do creatively, you do what you have to do to meet those goals and you start to think as a collective a bit more.


Everything Harmony is out now on Captured Tracks.



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