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items tagged with Cains and Abels

Honestly Alluring: Cains & Abels, August 19 at Rozz-Tox
Written By: Jeff Ignatius
Section: Music

Category: Feature Stories

2012-08-13 14:09:06

David Sampson of Cains & AbelsThe Facebook biography of the Chicago-based trio Cains & Abels is four words: “honest rock and roll.”

That might sound glib, vague, evasive, or even a dig at other bands – and it is. But a truer explanation is that singer/songwriter/bassist David Sampson means it, and to expand on the idea would simply take too long. When I asked him a general question about the genesis of “Money” – from the band’s gorgeously, patiently articulated My Life Is Easy album – he talked for more than four minutes.

He touched on how his fictional songs seemed to bring their specific sadnesses into his life, and how he decided – almost as a joke – to write happy songs to conjure a different vibe.

“One of the main troubles in my life is money,” he said. He discussed how hip-hop artists rap about what they aspire to, and “if it works out, ... they’ve made it happen by talking about it. ... So I decided at one point that I should try to write some songs about how awesome it is to be wealthy, or at least comfortable financially.”

He then deflated what had seemed a hopeful tale. “I ended up writing a song addressing money as a lover that spurned me,” he said. “It didn’t actually come out the way I intended it to.”

Even Sampson’s fantasies are weighed down by truth; he couldn’t complete a tongue-in-cheek exercise in wish fulfillment.


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Recording as Canvas: In Tall Buildings, February 15 at Rozz-Tox
Written By: Jeff Ignatius
Section: Music

Category: Feature Stories

2012-02-12 01:53:21

Erik Hall. Photo by David Sampson.

Less than a minute into In Tall Buildings’ 2010 self-titled debut is a moment that hints at Erik Hall’s cut-and-paste method. New vocal lines burst abruptly from beneath the previous ones, as if overeagerly jumping their cue. But the music is so carefully constructed that it’s obvious this was a choice rather than a mistake, and the effect in an otherwise patient and gentle song is the understanding of a clear vision behind the music.

The album was crafted over four years, Hall said in a phone interview this week promoting his February 15 performance at Rozz-Tox. “I didn’t push it at all,” he said. “I didn’t work on it unless something came to me, unless I had an idea that I knew I wanted to apply to the music that I was already working on. So it was very gradual.”

While the album’s gestation period was long by music-industry standards, Hall’s composing and recording approaches were particularly unusual. He started out with a backbone – a chord progression or rhythmic pattern – and recorded it for the final product. “That’s it,” he said. “It’s not like a demo. ... Sometimes I have to sit and live with that for a good while before I figure out where the vocals are going to come from, what the song is going to be about, and what else sonically it needs.” He added with a laugh: “That can take anywhere from a week to a year.”


Read More About Recording As Canvas: In Tall Buildings, February 15 At Rozz-Tox...





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