Artists and Bands

The Americans’ Charlie Klarsfeld on working with Sean Lennon, The White EP, and the coming year

On November 16, modern pop band The Americans will release their sophomore effort, The White EP. The Americans have recruited none other than Sean Lennon to lend a hand with the new EP, which contains six genre-defying songs. It could even be argued that no one since Prince has blended rock, pop, and soul so masterfully as The Americans. Recently, lead singer Charlie Klarsfeld took a few moments to answer some questions about the EP, The Beatles, and the coming year.

Q: Thanks for taking the time for this interview! So, tell us how The Americans came together…

A: I started the band about two and a half years ago. The cast of characters has changed over time, as I’ve been on a quest to find the perfect Americans, and we reached the band’s permanent form this summer with the addition of James Peanutbutter Preston on the bass.

Q: Which artists would you cite as having the biggest influence on the sound of The Americans?

A: Stevie Wonder, The Beach Boys, Prince, Sly and the Family Stone, The Millennium, Phil Spector.

Q: The White EP is very impressive – looks like a lot of stars came into perfect alignment for this project. For example, Sean Lennon is on board. Tell us what it was like working with Sean…

A: Working with Sean was a milestone in my career. We have some mutual friends, and being a huge fan of his I was a bit nervous to show him my music. One late night I ended up at his place and showed him our first record. He loved it, so I asked him to produce a track for the new record. He was down.

Q: Daniel Merriweather also contributes to the track “Try (Nobody Wants To)” – How did that collaboration came about?

A: I met Daniel while working at a small record label that Mark Ronson started. We’d jam from time to time, and he offered to sit in on our new record. He’s amazing, I’m super psyched he got involved.

Q: What was the idea behind calling this release The White EP? Is it a nod towards The Beatles’ “White album” or something altogether different?

A: The title of our new record is more about letting the music speak for itself, and setting down a blank slate in the mind of the listener. There’s a lot going on with the arrangements and production, so it needs an open mind to digest it. In that way, it is also a nod to the incredible dynamics of the Beatles record. Our record isn’t particularly genre specific either.

Q: The blend of styles that The Americans play is mesmerizing; It seems you take little bits from every decade since the ’60s to build your sound. What is your favorite decade for music?

A: That’s very flattering. My favorite decade for music is probably mid-seventies to the mid-eighties. A lot of magic and experimentation going on with pop music in that period.

Q: If you could summarize The White EP with just one word, what would it be?

A: Pop.

Q: What can folks expect from The Americans in the coming year?

A: The White EP is set for release in the U.S. on November 16, then hitting the U.K. again in late January/early February of 2011. I think we can really take Europe by storm.

Additionally, our music video for the song “Requiem,” off of The White EP, is set for release this fall. It was directed by Jordan Galland and features Sean Lennon, as “Requiem” is the track he produced for the album.

Q: Now, just for fun, tell us the first thing that comes to mind when you hear…

Compact Disc: Album artwork.

America: Americans.

John Lennon: Phenomenal.

The “White” Album: Universe unto itself.

Tea Party: Mushrooms.

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