VMP Interview with Small Houses

On June 21st 2015

Small Houses1

picture via A Beer With The Band

Small Houses is a Philadelphia, PA-based project featuring the songs and poems of Flint, MI-native Jeremy Quentin. Being huge fans of his 2013 release, ‘Exactly Where You Wanted to Be’, we were gushing with excitement when we heard about his upcoming release, 'Still Talk; Second City.’ The record doesn’t come out until Feb 2015, but we wanted to give you a preview now, with a short interview, new video and new track.

VMP: Tell us about the new release… what’s the story behind the music?

SH: That’s an answer that I’d definitely like the listener to decide for himself, although, I can say that most of this record came from the angst born out of my upbringing in the suburban Midwest. A lot of inspiration from the stories of S.E. Hinton and the careful use of words from poets like James Wright and Seamus Heaney.

VMP: This is your sophomore album. What’s different this time around? What did you learn from your first album that has helped shaped this release?

SH: Ha! This is far from my 2nd album, it’s my 11th! I started writing and recording albums when I was 16. The method for recording was pretty different this time around, and a lot of that can be contributed to Damon Moon, the engineer and producer. He and I chose to look at recording a little differently in the sense of the time we allowed ourselves to dedicate to it. Due to budget and touring schedule, a lot of groups rush into the studio and walk out with a full-length a week later. For this one, we stretched 25 recording sessions over the span of 7 months. We only recorded when it felt right, as opposed to utilizing the factory line mentality of tracking to accommodate time restrictions. With the the weight of outside pressures being absent, we tapped into lengthy conversation about albums we love and made long plans towards how we wanted the album to sound.

VMP: What was your process for writing this record?

SH: Most songs were written in between studio sessions. Once Damon and I were finished with the foundation of one song, I would imagine where I’d like the words to take us next and I’d return the following week with a new idea.

VMP: Where was it recorded and who were the key players (aside from yourself)?

SH: The album was recorded at The Cottage in Atlanta, GA with engineer Damon Moon. Damon and I took the majority of workload while bringing in Paul Stevens and Chandler Galloway for input fairly regularly. John Davey and Erin Rae’s vocals are priceless to me, exactly what I had hoped for. When the album started to take shape, players like Mike Brenner and Samantha Crain were the ones to put the final stamp on a song, letting us know when we could walk away from what we thought was a solid recording.

VMP: What was your favorite part about recording this record?

SH: Working with Damon Moon. No contest. I moved to Atlanta to collaborate with him. I worked a shit job, and lived in my car or on a friend’s couch just to afford the his and the studio’s time. I’ve never learned so much, musically, from one person.

VMP: Who would you love to write a song/record with and why?

SH: Hmmm… I have no hopes to write with anyone! It’s sort of a personal thing that I have a very hard time sharing. Recording is another story though. Richard Swift is my favorite producer with Roy Halee coming in a close second. Workign with them are total dream projects.

VMP: Pancakes or waffles?

SH: Psh, I’m an adult. Neither. Steak please.

VMP: Last question… you’re making a playlist for a New Year’s Eve party… what’s on it?

SH: Oh buddy. I’m the worst DJ. I have a hard time differentiating what I would want to listen to and what would make for a good time for everyone else. If forced, It would probably feature a lot deep cuts from Greg Brown and Billy Bragg records, followed by an apology for bumming everyone out.

Follow Small Houses on Facebook and Twitter and be sure to catch him on tour this year.

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