Interview: Runaway Brother talks studio time and influences on ‘New Pocket’

Posted: by The Editor

Photo by Alisha Uguccini

“Tinkering” is the word that Runaway Brother’s vocalist/guitarist, Jacob Lee, used to describe what the band was doing for a majority of the time between the release of Mother in 2015 and 2018’s New Pocket. “Lots of tinkering.”

This is partially a result of the new collaborations that took place, internally as a band as well as externally. While Mother was so introspective it was almost like a solo album for Lee, his process opened up this time around, even going as far as working with an outside recording engineer/co-producer for the first time.

“Being in the studio was kind of a blessing,” Lee said. He set a timeline to create a finished product as a way to counteract the endless experimentation that he has been prone to in the past. It also meant that the band pretty much completed every song twice with extensive jamming and demoing occurring before Runway Brother hit the studio. This was the best of both worlds, given the freedom of ample preparation time alongside the stringent deadline that comes with booking studio time.

The band did not feel stifled by the studio though; songs continued to evolve as engineer Eric Cronstein offered an outside perspective and guiding hand as needed. “And at the end, you walk away with what you walk away with.”

One song in particular that really came together during the recording process was “All Saint’s Day”. “It was very much a skeleton going into the studio,” Lee admitted. “But that’s not to say it was improvised.”

The inception of the track was simply Lee’s idea of having a droning guitar part. This was then continually built upon and the finished product has things descending into chaos as it approaches toward the end. “I love the idea that an artist is able to play around in the studio and make noises and that it ends up listenable,” Lee said.

As a whole, New Pocket sees Runaway Brother exploring a different set of influences, switching out inspiration from Say Anything and Saves The Day for exploring the intricacies of a more 90s alternative rock sound. Lee pointed to bands like Smashing Pumpkins and Built to Spill as two particular artists that came into play a great deal while writing.

This doesn’t mean the band shied away from one sound in pursuit of another though. For example, the boisterous mid-song breakdown in “No Fuzz,” which “started heavier, almost like a Weezer song,” Lee recalled. “We just kept playing around with it and it became lighter and more theatrical,” harkening back to Mother. And some aspects of the record came from good old fashion jamming with friends such as the cello part on “Conscience in Tumult” and the saxophone at the end of “All Saint’s Day”.

The band is hoping not to have another three-year gap in releases and has already begun working on new music. “They’re very much skeletons at this point,” said Lee, but he is looking forward to expanding on the collaborative aspects of the process. For now, Runaway Brother embarks on a string of East Coast tour dates with Pale Lungs.

Tour dates with Pale Lungs
9.22 – Nashville, TN @ Cafe Coco9.23 – Atlanta, GA @ The Masquerade
9.24 – Charlotte, NC @ The Milestone
9.25 – Raleigh, NC @ Imurj
9.26 – Harrisonburg, VA @ Golden Pony
9.27 – Philadelphia, PA @ The Trocadero
9.28 – Asbury Park, NJ @ Asbury Park Brewery *
9.29 – Amityville, NY @ Amityville Music Hall *
9.30 – Brooklyn, NY @ Sunnyvale house *
10.1 – West Haven, CT @ The Cave
10.2 – Boston, MA @ ONCE Somerville
10.4 – Rochester, NY @ Bug Jar
10.5 – Pittsburgh, PA @ Black Forge Coffee ^
10.6 – Cleveland, OH @ Mahall’s ^
10.7 – Indianapolis, IN @ The Pit ^

*= w/ Past Life
^= w/ The Sonder Bombs

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Scott Fugger | @scoober1013

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