Published January 15. 2013 4:00AM Updated January 15. 2013 10:15AM
With a fantastical story arc that beautifully incorporates elements of the sea and its tradition of ghostly yarns, the atmospheric but dinosaur-stomp-heavy duo Bedroom Rehab Corporation has completed their new CD, "Red Over Red."
A song-cycle that seems at times almost spookily ambient and, at others, like the delicious soundtrack to a Black Mass, the album is a triumph of energy, visceral mood and monstrously good tunes. Veterans of the e'er evolving and fruitful rock scene, Bedroom Rehab Corporation - Adam Wujtewicz (bass treatments/vocals) and Meghan Killimade (drums) - hooked up with noted producer Justin Pizzoferrato (Dinosaur Jr. and Sonic Youth), and the result is even at this early date an odds-on choice for those distant year-end Best Of lists.
Wujtewicz answered five questions about the new record.
Q. When we spoke last spring, you guys had certain thematic ideas you wanted to explore on the project that became "Red Over Red." How did those themes evolve or resolve over the course of the recording sessions?
A. I put together a rough sketch of a story in my head when we started realizing that two or three songs we were writing were set on the ocean. Living where we do, I think it's almost impossible for elements of the ocean or sailing not to be involved, somehow, in our creative process.
After I outlined the events that I wanted to include in the story, and we had all the music, I decided which songs (musically) felt like the events in the story, then I wrote the lyrics to fit the songs in the order of the story. I didn't want to force us to change our songwriting style to fit my story; I wanted the story to be representative of the music we were writing.
Q. The nautical theme survived, then?
A. Yes, the nautical setting stuck and, because of the style of music we play and the kind of writing I've always been interested in, there are elements of fantasy and the supernatural. I'd like to think that the music really fits the setting of the story. There are a lot of sounds on the record that conjure up visions of water and more ethereal places (some of these sounds were very intentional and others just worked out that way). Sometimes water can be crushing and destructive, and sometimes it's calm and reflective.
While the album takes place at sea and in the afterlife, it's really about bad decisions: the ones we make, how we deal with those decisions, who comes down on us for them, who helps us deal with them, and in the end what the consequences are for those decisions. I tend not to get too wrapped up in exorcising demons or being topical in my lyrics; I write what I think complements the music. This to me is the most organic and easiest way to wrap my brain around a song.
Q. Between the very nice Bedroom Rehab website, a savvy approach to social media, and the expanding range of gigs, it's clear you guys are pretty serious about this. What are the plans to support "Red Over Red"?
A. Playing shows is paramount. We have to play outside of New London and Connecticut. It's great playing to our friends in town, but even if everyone bought one CD, we'd still have way more than that to get rid of. And when we do play in New London, you can bet that at least one band on the bill will be from somewhere else.
It's about building a network of friendly and like-minded bands to pal around with. I don't want to make them sound like "contacts" - these bands we've met when playing out of town have become friends of ours. We have a lot in common, and it's great to play shows with people whose company you enjoy. We also have to play with as many different genres of bands as will have us. We've got a pretty diverse sound on the album, and I think that if a punk band wants us to play with them, we'll pull it off. If a metal band wants to play with us, we can do it, and if a post-rock band will have us on their show, we will be there. Diversity in shows was something that both Meg and I grew up with, and I think it's becoming a lost art to play with bands who don't put themselves in the same genre as you.
We will also do a tour of some sort during 2013. It's difficult because booking has to be done way in advance and, because we're relatively unknown out in the real world, there are going to be a lot of bumps in the road. I've also got a full-time day job to work around which pays my rent and gets me all the new pedals I like to play with, so that's a huge factor.
Q. Listening to the album, the dynamics, pacing and the song-to-song flow are perfectly calculated. Which makes me wonder if it's the sort of record that sort of demands to be performed live in exact order. Thoughts?
A. I would love to do some shows where we can play the album back to front. We don't now because we don't always get enough time in our set to do it. There are also some really exhausting parts of this album. I would hate to burn out mid-set or have a lull while we're playing live. The album has a definite direction and flow to it, and I think it works out well when you're sitting down listening to it at home or in the car or wherever you listen to your music. The live experience for us is more about throwing down like we were in a street fight for 30 to 45 minutes. I think we're an extremely energetic band on stage, and it's super important for us to be that way. We're not going to smash our equipment or breathe fire, but you can bet that I'll throw myself around the stage and Meg will wail on her drums. We are both also ferocious head-bangers. If our necks are not sore the next day, we did not play hard enough.
Q. It must have been very cool getting to work on the record with a producer like Pizzoferrato.
A. Making this album has been one of the single greatest experiences of our lives. Working with Justin was amazing; we understood each other right away, and he was more than accommodating. He's already got great credentials, having worked with Dinosaur Jr. and Sonic Youth, but he's only going to get better. He's got true talent. Plus, Meg and I really enjoy working together. We feel like the songs we write and shows we play are a complete collaboration - and that's a rare thing.