Interview: Typesetter talks songwriting for ‘Nothing Blues’
Posted: by The Editor
I recently got the chance to have a chat with Marc Bannes, the guitarist, vocalist, and lyricist of the Chicago-based Typesetter. The band recently released their new LP, Nothing Blues, on 10/26 through 6131 Records. We spoke a bit on the process of recording, the progression of their sound through new instrumentation, the intrinsic themes of the album, and new tools for the band’s sound.
The Alternative: How do you believe Typesetter’s sound has changed with this new record? Was the new instrumentation was something that you had planned to go in and include?
Marc Bannes: It wasn’t a straightforward, like, ‘Yes, plan! Let’s use a whole orchestra!” or anything like that. We knew that we needed new tools for the toolbox if we were going to express ourselves better than ever before.
How has Nothing Blues shown Typesetter’s progression, musically?
On the last record, we tried to patchwork these certain qualities we thought needed to be in the songs, but with this one, we realized that needs to happen organically. It was really important to us that each song be strong enough on its own to stand out individually. No filler songs.
Could you talk about some of the themes of the record?
[Nothing Blues is] not a concept album, but not some Frankenstein of themes and ideas. The themes come naturally from the connections in the song. They’re intrinsic themes.
Could you identify any specific patterns or ideas that stood out to him among any of the songs?
There’s a strong message of taking care of your mental health that I think almost everyone can relate to. There’s also some stuff about interpersonal relationships, but it focuses on their effects on your personal process of understanding and accepting your depression, or other mental illness. I think that one is very prevalent in the song, “Monogamy I (Gliss Happening).” “Monogamy I” is about suddenly finding yourself in a relationship, and trusting someone else in a way that you never thought possible, but it concentrates more on the lessons that you learn about yourself from that relationship, and how to apply them to your progress.
Could you elaborate on the narrative, and if you prefer people to infer their meaning from the work?
I definitely prefer impressionistic stuff. There’s this great David Byrnes (Talking Heads) quote, where he says something about, like, ‘non-narrative, non-sequiturs,’ that I think really resonates with me. I totally agree with that idea, and try to portray my experiences in an open, relatable way that doesn’t lock people into a certain perspective. I would say that the narrative is subjective for the listener, and I don’t want to interfere with their view.
What was the recording process was like for the band?
Wonderful, frustrating, terrifying, and beautiful, all in great magnitude and all at once. The whole band absolutely crushed it. There was great communication between all of us, which is so important when you’re creating something together. Our drummer, Matt [Gonzalez], had tons of ideas for auxiliary percussion. There’s one song where there are two different drum kits, one panning left, and one panning right. A fill starts on the left side kit, blends, and finishes on the second kit on the right side.
Who did you track the album with?
I actually recorded and mixed the songs myself.
How did that go?
It was great! And it sucked! I guess it was hard to tell myself, like, ‘Okay, this song is finished, for sure,’ because I was so close to it and wanted it to be the best it could be.
Check out Nothing Blues, out now on 6131 Records, and catch Typesetter on tour with Kali Masi.
Luciano Ferrara // @LucianoRFerrara
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