On Tuesday, September 21, we caught up with Rich from Margot & the Nuclear So & Sos at the Blind Pig for the band’s Buzzard album release show.
Ian Heslip: So I know that Buzzard was recorded on your own label, how did that influence the sound of Buzzard as opposed to being with Epic for Animal!/Not Animal?
Rich Edwards: When we were on Epic we pretty much made it sound exactly the way we wanted. It was more the effect of after it was done. When the last one was done, we didn’t really change anything but they weren’t very happy with it. So this time we didn’t have to worry about anyone returning it and seeing if they approve.
IH: And was that a big reason why you guys decided to go away from them?
RE: Yeah, they started this one with us and wanted to do it, but it got to a point where, you know, you just get asked to do things that you don’t feel comfortable doing. We never wanted to put ourselves in a position where even if we do stuff that ultimately doesn’t work or does work, I’d rather it come from us. I can fail on my own, you know?
IH: How do the new members and the guest spots influence the sound of Buzzard?
RE: A bunch of ways. I’d been playing with Brian Deck, my friend who produced the record and played drums on it and so we had kind of developed a little bit of a chemistry and understanding over several months. I was living in Chicago, he and I were playing a lot and talking about recording. So we developed something that I think was the basis of the record which was really nice since Brian and I play really loud. I think that influenced the energy of the record. I could go on and on about everybody. Everyone adds their own flavor based on a groundwork Brian and I have established over several months.
IH: Margot has been classified as chamber pop, alternative, indie rock, do you consider those things relevant now, do those labels even mean anything?
RE: No, I don’t think they really mean anything, we’ve been compared to just about everything and been called all sorts of genres. It’s nothing I’ve ever taken very seriously. I understand why people want to classify things, but I don’t think it’s really what people who play music relate to.
IH: I understand the recording process took place in a movie theater in Chicago, an abandoned one
RE: Some of it, we bounced around a lot of places we did in a studio
IH: Was it true that you guys found some films in there and watched some of them?
RE: Yeah, well I found little 8 millimeter films and things like that and I was also getting a lot of stuff from a shop called Obsessions, it’s a really great video rental house. They specialize in kind of off-the-wall, strange stuff that you maybe have to dig a little bit to find, and those guys would me a lot of this stuff. So yeah there’s certain things I found while I was working on the record.
IH: Did any of that stuff influence any particular songs?
RE: Probably. It’s hard to remember exactly, I think “Lower Back” was influenced by some of those things and I’m sure there’s other stuff. I don’t remember every specific thing from certain movie or stereotype because that’s kind of stream of conscience. And when you do songs like that, they’re kind of free association writing. You can sometimes go back and point to where certain things came from, but in doing something like that I guess your goal is to not edit yourself too much.
IH: Being from Indianapolis, do you guys notice a difference between crowd atmosphere from shows in the Midwest as opposed to strictly East or West coast?
RE: It varies from place to place around the Midwest and around the East coast. Indianapolis audiences, I can’t really knock it too much, I love Indianapolis, it’s where we started, it’s our home in a lot of ways even though we don’t live there anymore. But they have a real problem with talking during shows. It’s like you play a show in Indianapolis and you never quite understand -- not everyone, but a lot of people -- why they spend fifteen or twenty dollars and then talk during the show.
IH: Yeah I’ve seen a lot of videos of you guys playing at home and there’s always people talking in the background
RE: It’s weird, yeah, and Chicago’s the complete opposite. I think it has to do with age, it depends on the shows’ age limits too. A lot of the all ages shows tend to be quieter, it tends to be kids that are maybe a little more reverent. Whether that’s a good or bad thing I don’t know, but they’re so new to seeing shows and it’s exciting. Sometimes at the twenty-one and up shows if you go on too late it’s just the nature, people are going to be drunk.
IH: How have people been responding to new songs live so far?
RE: Well I think, much better than they were for the tour for Animal, I remember it took months and months before anyone kind of got them. Now there’s stuff on there that people that are big Margot fans are very interested in and want to hear live, but that record took a super long time for people to maybe get through it. This one seems like it’s gotten a more immediate reaction.