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Following the release of their remarkable sophomore LP All Aboard, I had the chance to talk to Washer‘s Mike Quigley about future plans, musical influences, and the creative process behind these new songs!
Could you start by introducing yourself and stating your role in the band?
I’m Quigley and I play guitar or bass & sing in Washer.
So, y’all released a brilliant new record just over two months ago now called All Aboard. How has the reception been so far?
Thanks! It’s been good. People tend to worry about sophomore albums I think. But I’m just happy to finally have it out.
It’s been almost two years since the release of your first LP Here Comes Washer, which I am an enormous fan of and reviewed back when it released. How have your songwriting processes and influences changed from the making of that record to All Aboard?
Songwriting processes were fairly similar for this second record. It’s a lot of piecing together song fragments, snippets of lyrics, etc. and bailing on a couple versions before we settle on a structure and fill things in. I write the meat of most songs but we edit/arrange together and sort of filter things through Kieran before they actually start to sound like Washer. Some of the songs we started working on before the first LP was finished, so I think a lot has influenced and changed them over time.
What was the recording process like for All Aboard?
We did two sessions. A weekend at Gravesend Recordings at the Silent Barn in Brooklyn where we recorded pretty much all the instrumentals. And then a little less than a week at Nick Dooley’s barn studio in Vermont. Dooley was our engineer for both locations (and every release we’ve done). We made an effort to focus a bit more on recording & production ideas, taking our time to try things out and branch out a little. In the past we mostly just tried to document our live sound. This time we made better use of the studio space.
In terms of composition, I’ve always admired the minimalist approach you two take when it comes to writing music. There’s a sense of effortlessness and sincerity in the execution of your material that is unrivaled by many. I honestly can’t get over how resounding y’all are able to sound with only two members! Is this something that took some time to perfect for the songs on All Aboard in a live setting?
We usually start to play new songs out at shows well before we start recording, to sort of test out iterations and figure out what works. We end up cutting and changing things a lot before we get to the recording step. Part of that comes from only being able to afford a minimal amount of studio time and wanting to get everything done as fast as possible. But I think making them sound bigger than the two-piece trope is what we’ve been trying to get right and improve on since we started.
If you had to choose, do you have any personal favorites that you enjoy playing the most off of All Aboard?
“The Crow” is a lot of fun to play, because it gets more energetic as it moves through its couple sections and it’s kind of rock’n’roll-y. I’m pretty proud of the lyrics for “Bass 2” so that’s a favorite as well. And “Enough Already” because it’s fun to play a cheesy solo, which we haven’t really had before.
What does the rest of 2017 look like for Washer? Any upcoming shows or tours in the plans?
We’re meeting up with Bethlehem Steel for a weekend in December to play the last couple shows of their tour. We’ll be in DC 12/8, Philly 12/9, and Brooklyn 12/10. That will likely be it for 2017 but we’re looking to do a longer tour in 2018.
Lastly, who are some up-and-coming bands from your area that deserve some recognition?
Loose definition of up-and-coming but all had new releases this year: Ubetcha, Spit, Maneka, Fits, Bethlehem Steel, Rick Rude (New Hampshire), Sun Organ (Philly).