As local alt-roots quartet Simpleton & Cityfolk gear up for a record release party Saturday at Lincoln Hall, I chatted via email earlier this week with vocalist/guitarist Geoff Glenn about the local recording process for the No Man is an Island album, working with Grammy Award winner Lloyd Maines and much more...
I first caught the band in March on a packed bill at Metro that centered on than unreleased songs from the album the band celebrates this Saturday plus fan favorites from their 2012 EP The Williams Account. Over the course of the past year they've added a new drummer, continued to develop as a live act (which you can really hear on the new album) and hunkered down in the studio readying their debut, full-length album No Man is an Island.
This Saturday night, the band returns to the Chicago stage ready to celebrate the fruits of their labor alongside local indie-rockers Exit Ghost and acoustic based, folk duo Little Light and I spoke with guitarist/vocalist Geoff Glenn about that show, the new album and more.
Q. The new album marks your first full-length album and first release since your debut EP last year. How would you say Simpleton & Cityfolk has grown between those projects?
Geoff Glenn: Well we added Sku as our drummer for one. So we physically grew. Chris Bennett recorded all of the drums and most of the guitars on our first album. This record we all played our own instruments and recorded eighty percent of the album live including lead vocals. Instead of one of us writing a song and telling the band to play it, we worked through each song together adding in our own personal touches. I just feel like this is a full, complete record. As cheesy as it sounds, instead of four individuals playing music together, we sort of came together as one for this project.
Q. On the new project, you work with Lloyd Maines [Father of Dixie Chick, Natalie Maines] on "Time For the Night," one of my favorite tracks on the album. How did that collaboration come about?
GG: Well, after our producer Mike Hagler first listened to "Time for the Night,", he said, "Steel guitar would sound cool on this one." We were open to trying it out and he just so happens to be in close contact with Mr. Maines. We sent off the track to Lloyd down in Austin and he sent it back with a few versions. We were happy, to say the least, and also happy to have a Grammy Award winner on our record (Not to mention the Dixie Chicks affiliation!).
Q. As you just mentioned, you worked with Chicago producer Mike Hagler on No Man is an Island. How was the recording process?
GG: It was really great. He pushed us hard to get the best out of us and we trusted that he knew what he was doing. Kingsize Sound Labs (his studio) is an awesome loft style space that made us really comfortable and had a nice ambiance to it, which is important being that we spent about eighty hours there.
Q. For fans who might not be familiar with the band, what are some collective influences that you feel have influenced your sound?
GG: Well, I am a big fan of Wilco, My Morning Jacket and Delta Spirit. I think we can all agree on those (although Foo also likes hair metal, Sku like metal and City and Colour, and Chris is really influenced by CSNY, Neil Young and newer bands like Junip and Foals).
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(No Man is an Island Record Release Party)
Also performing: Exit Ghost and Little Light
Tickets: $10 in advance, $15 at the door