Seattle-based singer/songwriter Gary Reynolds and his band, The Brides of Obscurity, have extraordinary plans for 2010: they plan to release a song a week and a full-length album a month throughout all of 2010. Yes, you read that correctly. The band will release fifty-two songs and twelve full-length albums this year and to keep things fresh the tracks will range in style from psychedelic indie-rock to power-pop to folk-inspired numbers. So genius or madman? Read the interview, hear the tunes and make up your own mind!
Q: Wow! Tell us about the inspiration behind choosing to release 12 albums this year.
A: I came up with this concept of releasing a song a week. Basically, I’ve been playing music for a long time and officially, what happens is, in the past I would record an album. I have three “Chronicles” – Cretin Chronicles volumes 1, 2 and 3 – those were what I did in my college days and they’re Brit-poppy psychedelic garage rock. Remember the “Pebbles” series that came out?
Q: Sure, I remember that and the “Nuggets” collections of garage pop music.
A: Exactly. I was really, really into that and I still love it a lot. So, anyway, I did a whole bunch of stuff back when I was in college and then I moved to New York City and my whole music [style] basically changed. I did another album called “NYC” and […] got together with a guy, we were going to form a band, and he talked me out of releasing that album and doing an album with him [instead] […] It turned out like crap and I’m like “Shit, now I have to start over again,” so then I did another solo album and found another band and the same thing happened there so I’m left with these two albums that I though were really good, but nothing ever got done with them.
[…] So I felt this concept of doing 53 songs and I felt I could draw from these other songs I have laying around. I started adding up albums and thought, “I could release these albums, an album a month…” and all I’ll have to do is record three or four more to round it off to an album a month for the year. I was thinking that would be a really cool thing [and] that’s where the concept came from.
Q: That’s incredible.
A: Yeah, a lot of the stuff has never been officially released. And also what spurred it was I went home to my mom’s house and grabbed these eight-track half inch reel to reels that I had recorded when I was in college and I brought them back here, bought and eight-track machine and transferred the tapes into ProTools. I started listening to them and thought, “Wow, this stuff is really cool.” I always had in the back of my mind I would re-do these songs, but there is no way I could re-do this – it has too much vibe. So I chose to remix it and did some doctoring of it [but] not too much. I tried to leave it as close to the way it was. So, Cretin Chronicles Vol.1 is the first in the series [and] I actually finished mixing Cretin Chronicles Vol.2 last night.
Q: Your first two albums have this great Beatle-esque quality and with the third, “Santiago’s Vest,” it morphed into a psyche-pop garage sound. What led to the change?
A: Basically what happens is I like a lot of different types of music so with Jack Endino it’s more a power-pop album. It has loud guitars and when I approached Jack to do that record I said “I wanna make something that kids can crank up in their cars” like a Weezer record or something. “Santiago’s Vest” was more of a band effort than “Instant Happiness” and my friend Don [the band’s guitar player] had a huge influence on that album. I tend to be one of these guys where if you show me a cliff, I’ll jump off it. So I get an idea in my head and gotta go for it, for better or worse [laughs]. I pursue and idea to the end and I’ll be like, “That totally worked” or “That didn’t work, let’s try something else.”
Q: So you spend a lot of time going through your own material, looking for the best stuff that turns you on?
A: Yeah, well, with “The Cretin Chronicles” there was twenty-nine tapes of stuff to sift through. Tons and tons of songs. Like eighty songs on there and I just basically cut the vast majority of those recordings and pulled out the ones that had something special to them, you know? And work on those in a way that make sense as an album. It tended to go by era actually, but there were a couple of exceptions […] but for the vast majority it went chronologically.
This new album, “Yellow,” is released this month and it’s a bit darker, but it’s got a Beatle influence. It’s also garage-y.
Q: The band has changed through the years; is the way the band is set up now the most comfortable to you?
A: It’s definitely more comfortable now ‘cause it’s basically a solo project. I have my live musicians and my studio musicians, but it’s mostly a solo project where I’m producing it and playing the instruments. Although there are songs we do as a “live” band in the studio.
Q: Any tours to support this series of albums?
A: We don’t have anything set up yet; I’ve been in the studio for a year working pretty intensely. Since “Santiago’s Vest” I’ve finished one record and almost finished with the second record. The live stuff I’m doing is unlike anything I’ve done. We have a brass section and a string section I’m playing with, so it’s another departure of mine. I’ve always wanted to do a cover of “I Am the Walrus” with brass and strings live.
Q: Let’s step back into the past. What was the music that first caught your ear and made you say, “Hey, I want to do this”?
A: I started playing violin when I was five years old and then in the third or fourth grade I played saxophone. The whole school band thing until fifth grade when I discovered the guitar and dropped out of band. I went headlong into playing the guitar and I had an older brother, ten years older than me, and when he went away to college he left a lot of albums around […] I discovered Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, Alice Cooper and all these classic records. It blew me away […] I was like, “I like this guy. Jimi Hendrix.” Then I found out what Hendrix listened to, like Muddy Waters. Then I discovered Patsy Cline and all these other artists; the roots of where rock and roll came from. When I discovered The Beatles the first thing I did was ask “What are they listening to? Were did they get their influence?” I highly respected the way they wrote songs. They listened to The Everly Brothers so I [was] going to listen to them [and] learn to write like them too!
For more: http://www.garyreynolds.com