PropertyOfZack Senior Writer Jesse Richman sat down with Analog Rebellion at SXSW a month ago. We chatted with the band about SXSW, their new album Ill’e Grande, recording some of it in Berlin, and more. Check out the interview below!
by Jesse Richman
POZ: First of all, can I get your names and what you do in the band?
DH: Daniel Hunter, I sing and I do stuff.
CH: Cory Harvard, I play drums.
[We were also joined by musician / executive producer / Dabbo Records owner Taylor Pile].
POZ: To start out, when did you get down here to SXSW?
DH: Last night at 4am, 5am.
POZ: Where were you coming from?
DH: We played a show in Dallas last night.
POZ: That’s home for you guys, right?
DH: Yeah. We wanted to drive in the middle of the night when there wasn’t any traffic.
POZ: Are you sticking around for South By, or are you just in and out?
DH: We had a show earlier today [Friday 3/14] and we have a show tomorrow, and then we’ll maybe stick around Sunday and leave Monday. Depends on who’s playing.
POZ: I imagine you’ve done the whole deal here before.
DH: Yeah, yeah. I try to avoid Austin during SXSW unless I’m here for business, I guess.
POZ: Are you planning on trying to check anyone out while you’re here?
DH: I don’t have any plans to, not really.
CH: Yeah, we haven’t seen a list of who’s playing in the next couple days.
TP: We’ve been so busy, but our good friends at The Syndicate [a marketing agency] have given us VIP to the Hype Hotel, so we’re planning on just hanging out there.
POZ: Doesn’t even matter who’s playing, it’ll be a good time.
TP: Yeah, I mean, free tacos, free booze, free fun.
CH: He knows way more about what’s going on than we do.
DH: Yeah we’re along for the ride [laughs].
TP: That’s kind of my thing.
POZ: So let’s talk about the new album, Ill’e Grande, it came out last month. First of all… how is it pronounced?
DH: I pronounce it “ill grahn-day”. Essentially, if you just have capital “i”, lowercase “l”, lowercase “l”, it just looks like three in Roman Numerals or something, so we just…stylized it I guess.
POZ: Is there a story behind that name?
DH: Well the reason it starts with “i” is because I name my albums alphabetically, chronologically. So my my first album is Ancient Electrons. Besides, Nothing. Cavanaugh, Something. I’m on “i” now, so it had to start with “i”. It’s kind of a hard one! [Laughs]
POZ: Does the name have a particular meaning?
DH: I was going to write an album about a misunderstood school bully named Ill’e Grande, but we really only did one song about it. [Laughs].
POZ: But the name stuck.
CH: It was the driving force behind the record.
POZ: You recorded this thing in Berlin, is that right?
DH: Some in Berlin, some of it in Brooklyn, some of it in Dallas.
POZ: How did Berlin happen? Why Berlin?
TP: I originally went there with my girlfriend. I own a record label, it’s called Dabbo Records. I met some good friends in Berlin and they took me to this abandoned NSA listening station. We got to the very top of it, and the dome at the top was this very big dome where a satellite used to be, but it was all gutted, from when the Wall fell. And I clapped, and the delay was like ten seconds. I was like “I have to make music here,” and the first person I thought of was Daniel, because Daniel has such an amazing voice. I was like “I’ve got to get Daniel here!” Two months later, we were there making music, and we started our relationship as musicians and friends.
TP: After that, we went to Brooklyn and really got down drums and everything. It’s impossible to record everything in an abandoned NSA listening station, let’s be real.
POZ: Was it tough lugging gear up there and stuff?
DH: I mean, we didn’t bring that much gear.
CH: It was kind of a minimal setup.
DH: But even the gear we did bring was a pain in the ass. We brought everything except for water.
CH: [Laughs] yeah, we were really thirsty!
DH: Right before we did that one take, my mouth was like… sand.
TP: But at the tower, they have security there, and we didn’t let them know what we were doing, so a couple of times they came up to check on us and we had to tear everything down. We had kind of a lookout. So within five minutes, we had to get all our gear torn down.
POZ: How long were you guys up there? Just for a day?
DH: Maybe four or five hours?
TP: Four or five hours. We actually had a person at the top and a person at the bottom with a walkie-talkie. So if the security guards were about to come up, we had to tear down all our stuff and make it look like we were checking out the place, and then once they went back down we had to rebuild it. It was actually quite frustrating.
POZ: Yeah, that sounds like a pain. I know you’re very experienced with the home recording thing, so I imagine you at least have a rig that’s easy to set up and go real quick, and you know what you’re doing.
DH: It was a simple rig, but even a simple rig is complicated in a place like that.