Tell me a little about the songwriting process in The End Times Spasm Band. Does someone come up with a riff or melody and you all get together to hammer it out in rehearsal? Who handles lyrics? Where do your lyric ideas come from?
Bart Helms: The inspiration for my lyrics tend to come from what I read, which can be anything from poetry or a book on the history of mathematics.
Lyndsy Rae: It’s totally the same for me. Whether it’s a book you’re reading or an artwork your seeing – if it’s a vulnerable day, it turns itself into a song. Writing “Baudelaire,” I was lacking adjectives. They don’t surface naturally in another language. I was looking at an art book by Bacon, with a lot of exposed bones and rib cages, and I tried to visualize that.
Bart Helms: To write End Timesy material, we both benefit from setting ridiculous songwriting challenges. I think this year one of the rules is no more love songs because those made up two-thirds of our Nosferatu score.
Lyndsy Rae: We both subscribe to being a scholar. We need deadlines. We were in college too long.
He also includes a nice spiel on why the Squirrel Nut Zippers are important to him, which we’ll heartily sign.
You’ve probably seen the announcement on social media by now, but just in case…
We’ve finally announced a release date for Baudelaire – our third official release. Featuring Ryan and Andy on bass and drums, we recorded it last winter with Josh Estock at the board (and digging out the sweetest, most natural sounding mic for Lyndsy’s vocals).
A giant thank you to everyone who has already pre-ordered.
Baudelaire Release Shows
April 11 – The Brass Rail (Fort Wayne, IN)
May 9 – CS3 (Fort Wayne, IN)
June 6 – The Phoenix (Fort Wayne, IN)
When we agreed to compose Nosferatu for the Cinema Center a year ago, we put the release on hold. It wasn’t entirely intentional or voluntary as we hadn’t given up on finding a way to tour to support the album. I’m still up in the air over whether that was a mistake, personally, but as a consequence, we’re learning to balance our current project with thinking about what to do next. Next in the immediate future are the trio of shows, our first regular old bar gigs in a long time.
After that, we’ll have another announcement – maybe oh maybe – hope of hopes – about how we plan to release music a little quicker than once every four years in the next couple of years. For now, we hope you enjoy the six songs. We may have a little write-up on each in the next few weeks.
It’s poor consolation for anyone who didn’t acquire a ticket in time, but WBOI’s Julia Meek (Folk Tales, Meet the Music) interviewed Lyndsy and me about the process of creating a film score. Listen here at NIPR’s website.
We’ve said it everywhere by now, but thank you again to everyone who came, to the Cinema Center, and to our musicians. We checked so many items off our bucket list that night and added so many more.
It’s only a little self-deprecating when I’ve described our Nosferatu undertaking as madness. We started sketching our song themes and goals seven months ago, and it was only a few days ago now when we hit the print button. Fourteen full songs, mixed and matched over thirty-one charts, leaving behind a leaf-pile of unfinished words and melodies – one of which Lyndsy informed me just yesterday might make it into score. All of it leading toward one performance – six days away, as of today.
If you’re interested in the process, you can find some of the demos at Deadline Riot. Many of you are aware that Lyndsy and I undertook the resolution to write one song every week this year. Nosferatu was a boon in that it gave us direction and a checklist.
Seven months of writing, but it was only this past week that we heard these melodies given life by our rag tag orchestra. Next rehearsal, we may grab video or audio of the group as a sneak peak.
We’ve been quiet this year. One reason is that we’ve been composing a score for the film Nosferatu. On Friday October 24, we will perform this score live at Fort Wayne’s Cinema Center. It’s one of Lyndsy’s favorite films, so we couldn’t say no, despite the 90 minutes of film to score. We’ve been hard at work composing and arranging songs and stings to highlight the horror and romance of the film. Once again, we’ll be expanding our line-up to include a horn section. The extra tonal colors are helping us realize more of our early jazz orchestra influences.
In the coming months, we’ll post videos and photos as we begin to take our ideas to the band. We hope you’ll all follow our progress and, if you live nearby, come to Fort Wayne to see the performance in October.
We’ve mentioned it everywhere else, but we’re partnering with Farmland Jazz Band for downtown Fort Wayne’s Buskerfest. It’s this Saturday, June 28. We’re on at 4:00pm. This will be our fourth time playing it (the first was unofficial), but only our second time ever playing with the whole works: trumpet, clarinet, trombone. Even a tuba this time.
Here are Lyndsy and I discovering that “When The Saints Go Marching In” has more verses than most folks have ever heard.
On Facebook Tiffany Anne has posted a number of photos from the Greenville Lindy Exchange. We played their Saturday night dance, and it was a blast. We’ve never felt such positive energy from a room that large before.
Here are some of the dancers who could keep up to our version of “Some of These Days”.
Over on my blog, I’ve written a few words about the great punk controversy of 2013.
We didn’t know what we were doing. Most of the Art Factory shows were a chaotic, noisey mess, and the all-ages venues that came immediately after weren’t much better. The Sods were terrible. Nigh unlistenable. Most of our friends’ bands were too.
But still, we came to every show. We came because it was our chaotic, noisey mess.
Our song about being perennially noncomittable (“I Don’t Roll Like That” from our EP #2) was used in the credits of the documentary film (A)Sexual. The trailer says it all (and you can hear a snippet of us near the end).
We’d like to thank Angela Tucker and her crew for using the song. If you have Netflix, you can stream the movie here.