Luckily for us, all that effort consumed in recording studio has given The Fridays time to craft their latest upcoming full-length debut, ‘Verklempt’ which will be out soon this year. We managed to sit down with the band and discuss the background information of the album, process and expectations, release date etc.
1) The Fridays have delivered a more expansive sound at each gig/show you’ve played since the band’s formation. When/how did the idea of crafting this debut album, ‘Verklempt’ come about?
Probably unhinged and shambling would be better choices to describe us live than ‘expansive’, but thank you. I think we started to entertain the idea of a full-length album pretty late, considering us being a decade old. A few key events happened in 2013 leading into 2014 that made us seriously consider the entire thing. The first was getting called up for The Wknd Sessions, we actually thought somebody was playing a prank on us when Azam called. The second was when we were invited to open for Ra Ra Riot during their KL stop at The Bee. And the third was when we went to play the Esplanade in Singapore for three nights in May 2014. All these kind of made us think “Oh okay, this is probably a good time to finally start plotting things out properly.”
2) Give us an insight to the actual construction of the upcoming debut album which you can share with us.
Verklempt consists largely of our recent live repertoire, much like a usual live set we’d do at a show. Since the songs were already demoed and most of them already were in their near-finished stages, all we had to do was pick which ones we wanted to use. We came up with ten songs that we later trimmed down to eight. We approached it the only way we knew how; we rehearsed these eight songs into the ground week after week after week, fine tuning the arrangements, the range, sometimes adding new parts to certain songs. When we went into the studio to record, we simply purged all the rehearsed material onto tape. It didn’t turn out too bad, I think. Haha.
3) How long did it take to record this album and when can we expect to see it available on both digital platforms and physical release?
The writing process for Verklempt was a long continuous process. We already wrote the songs beforehand, but rewrote most of them again and again just to fine tune them, tested them out on the road, post-mortem, more fine tuning, the writing process probably stretches at least two years. The recording process was pretty short. Total time we spent in the studio recording the album would probably amount to just a little bit over 15 hours. So yes, two years and 15 hours. Since the record’s pretty much done, all that’s left right now is finalizing things with our art director and the printers to wrap things up on the sleeve. God-willing, we’re looking at a March/April 2015 release date.
4) A lot has changed musically since The Fridays last emerged with your first official release in 2010, ‘Pavilion Is For Losers/Kosher Single’, ‘Dinosaur’ self-titled CD consisting of home demos, b-sides and loads of indie-pop tracks. What are the goals for ‘Verklempt’?
I perceive the Pavilion/Kosher single and the ‘Dinosaur’ CD to be sort of like first dates; introductory stuff. We survived that debacle, people still want to see us, that’s good, so let’s go shift up a gear. With Verklempt we’re keeping up the pace, pushing for a second date. Verklempt is that fleeting moment where everything still feels giddy but there is an element of seriousness in there. The goals for Verklempt are relatively simple:- first and foremost, we can stay sane by letting these beasts out of us. Secondly, we just hope that the songs reach more people and touch/help them in some way or another. In the end it’s all about how you connect to it and how it makes you feel.
5) Do you plan on doing something different with this album and if so – do you feel you’ve achieved this?
We planned to do things the right way (finally). That’s the main difference. We established a decent amount of quality control on everything; from the writing to the rehearsing to the actual recording to the mixing and mastering process. We tried to make a good record without sacrificing our ‘slacker’ ethics. In that respect, I think we probably achieved it.
6) We like the sound of your demo, ‘In The Wilderness The Bear Does Not Reply Text Messages’. What’s the story behind this particular song?
Thank you, glad you like it. We had fun knocking that one up too. In The Wilderness…is a light hearted song about our former drummer Chey Bacteria, who we used to affectionately call The Bear. He used to have problems waking up in the morning and we’d try to get to him, we’d text and call and it would usually be a considerable amount of time before he’d finally come around. I think it was former guitar player Yan Jimbit who said it out loud “In The Wilderness, The Bear Does Not Reply Text Messages.” I just thought it sounded pretty cool, so I held on to the phrase. Eventually I wrote a song around it. I know, it’s pretty funny, the way things end up.
7) Verklempt was recorded at Popstudio Kelana Jaya and was engineered/mixed/mastered by Faiz Fadzil of The Wknd (also produced Kyoto Protocol/Ally Liew/The Venopian Solitude). How did you get in touch with them and the experiences of working together like?
Honestly to this day I still don’t know how The Wknd ended up getting us to do the session in Season 7. But that’s how we got to know the team. We did the session, and things kind of took off from there. We kept in touch, most of the time with Faiz. He was instrumental in our decision to do the record. He generally understood us and our sound and our direction, probably better than we understand ourselves as a band. It was really easy working with him and the team during the sessions and it was even easier working on the album. It was our first time doing ‘real’ work, and sometimes producers do intimidate you, but it really was super easy working with Faiz. I would like to think that he knew how to bring out the best in us, and that’s what he did the entire time we were completing the album. We had fun working with them and if this is how it works, we definitely look to be doing more business with them in the long run.
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