NP: I AM NEON PHOSPHOR
SC: ha! i saw that one coming.
NP: AS THE STUDIO ENGINEER, YOU HAVE THE BIRD'S EYE VIEW OF THE WHOLE PROJECT.
SC: yeah, it totally sucks the fun out of music, doesn't it? but it's worth it.
NP: WHAT IS THE PRODUCTION PHILOSOPHY BEHIND THIS ALBUM?
SC: wall of sound. yes, we could've easily made the album sound clean and close-up, like the beatles' revolver. but i want to make an album that is instantly recognizable as a los angeles production, following in the footsteps of phil spector and brian wilson. mark was talking about folk art being a response to one's culture, and i would add geography to the mix. this is an album about being raised in los angeles, a city under perpetual construction, a city of possibility, diversity and literally the terminus of the 'american dream.' now i'm not saying los angeles is perfect--it's far from it in actuality--but that's what it has represented throughout its history. i think the ambition of our project reflects the spirit of los angeles. we are going for a big, ambitious sound. not necessarily a muddy sound, but a rich, focused, powerful sound. i want this album to stir the imagination.
NP: BUT IS IT A GENUINE SOUND?
SC: part of a record's success is based on how it affects the listener. any indie artist can sit there with an acoustic guitar and pour his heart out. that would be as 'honest' as you can get, but it is so boring and uninspiring as a pop record. so i say, if our five-guitar attack can make you energized, make you want to dance, make you want to cry, whatever, i say we have done our job well.
NP: DO YOU THINK THIS ALBUM WILL CHANGE THE WORLD?
SC: it'll sure change my world once i'm done with it. finally, i won't have to sit there listening to our music all day, moving the faders up and down. as for the rest of the world, of course.
NP: SO, WHAT ARE YOU STILL DOING WITH YOUR RADIOSHACK KEYBOARD? ARE YOU GOING TO UPGRADE, LIKE ARTA AND MARK?
SC: i have the following items on my wish list: moog synthesizer, rhodes piano, and farfisa organ. that, and the phil spector 'back to mono' box set.
NP: I HEARD THAT YOU'RE CHANGING SOME OF THE LYRICS BECAUSE YOU NO LONGER AGREE WITH THEM, SUCH AS "LOVE MAKES PEOPLE STUPID" AND "I AM ONE TOO MUCH." CARE TO VERIFY THIS RUMOR?
SC: no, you can't just revise your songs like that. those were real sentiments as felt during january 2004 and december 2004, respectively. even if i don't feel the same way now, the songs need to stay the way they are. that's why it's so important to finish albums quickly because you don't have to fake your emotion when you sing. then you're being an actor just as much as a singer. for instance, i had to redo my lucy vocals the other day. those lyrics were from 2003. there's a reason why i sang it better in 2003 because i didn't realize that lucy had actually tricked me into something.