Monster Truck continues touring in support of debut album
After a spin around Europe with Vista Chino, Monster Truck is back on the road for a string of headlining Canadian dates to wrap up 2013—a year of firsts for the band, including its debut album, Furiosity and its first Juno Award. Prior to Monster Truck’s show in Edmonton, guitarist Jeremy Widerman spoke with Vue about making Furiosity.
Vue Weekly: How long did it take to make Furiosity from the initial songwriting through to the end of the recording?
Jeremy Widerman: Like most bands releasing their debut full-length, we basically had many years of work that went into our first album. Many of the songs were crafted and played over the course of two to three years and gave us an amazing amount of time to hone and test out before finally laying them down for Furiosity. It was a huge part of the reason why we are so happy with the outcome and it’s one of the things we want to make sure we do next time when working on the follow up—that is, playing it live and getting a large amount of time to refine and edit. The actual tracking and mixing of the record itself took about three months.
VW: When you were writing the songs, did you come at them in a particular way? Lyrics first? Music first?
JW: Music almost always comes first, with the band working through the various riffs and arrangements and then Jon sitting down to write the lyrics and vocal melodies.
VW: Where did the lyrics begin for you and what did you want to express with this album?
JW: I’m speaking for Jon here who writes the lion’s share of the lyrics, but I feel like he’s always looking to have fun with lyrics while still trying to relate to people using his own experiences or views. Sometimes it’s as basic as life on the road or partying; sometimes we are attempting to take a stance on the world as we view it and the problems facing humanity. Even when tackling larger issues we still stay pretty rooted in a broad and positive message as we like the core of the message to be living for the moment and having fun while you can. This is merely my perspective on his lyric writing. He may agree or disagree with me and would surely have his own thoughts to add to this.
VW: What were the recording sessions like for this album? Is this the kind of thing you recorded live or did you piece it together one track at a time? Why?
JW: We had a lot of fun with the sessions for this album. All the drums were recorded in North Carolina at Echo Mountain Studio. We were situated in a little mountain town where we could work at our own pace and generally be left alone while we got the foundation for the album begun. After that, we came back to Vespa Studio in Toronto where we reviewed what we got while piecing together all the tracking for instrumentation and mixing—always a pretty positive vibe and always trying to work at our own speed and free from the pressures from the outside. The album was basically tracked one track at a time, however, many of the moments have a live feel to them because we were playing together or trying to keep a really gang feel to the tracking itself by setting up situations that were similar to how you would perform live. For instance, my guitar tracking was always at full volume, standing up and rocking out to keep that loose and energetic feel to it. Everyone had their own methods and it was really enjoyable to watch it all come together.
VW: Were there any other songs written that were left off the album?
JW: There were a few songs that we abandoned during preproduction that we may revisit in a few months that we either just didn’t have time for or we just weren’t feeling at that moment in time. It’s interesting looking back on some of those ideas and seeing how different our perspective is after not being so close to it for months on end.
VW: How did you decide which songs to include on the album? Did you have an idea of what you wanted Furiosity to be when you started, or did the finished shape emerge as the writing and recording went along?
JW: Most of those decisions were made for us by the reactions we received from fans while playing the various songs live for a few years. It’s a great way to see what’s working and what isn’t and it’s always more fun to play songs that people have positive or energetic reactions to.
VW: You worked with Eric Ratz to produce the album. What drew you to him and what did he bring to the process?
JW: He’s a long-time friend and a great person to work endless hours with. He usually has that great idea to take a song from 95 percent to 100 percent and keeps a really positive and fun attitude going even when the going gets tough or frustrating.
VW: If you were to trace the musical map that led you to Furiosity what would it look like?
JW: I honestly don’t really know how to answer that question. At the end of the day we didn’t push anything that didn’t feel right and we made sure we allowed ourselves to make mistakes and gave ourselves the time to reevaluate and fix them. We always try and let everyone have a voice and try things before shooting them down, so if I had to view that as a map I would say a road with many forks in it that isn’t complete until all avenues have been travelled. V
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