Brooklyn and Philly-based indie-rock group Field Mouse are back with their third record ‘Meaning’, an album that sees them scrambling to make sense of the world around them. Rachel Browne (vocals, guitar) and Andrew Futral (guitar) reflect on ‘the state of things’, and creating music out of chaos.
Hey guys, how’s it going? Enjoying summer?
Rachel: It's definitely going. I am enjoying summer, I think? I don't know. It's very hot.
Andrew: Summer is great so far! But it's just starting. I feel like the seasons are like the way America thinks of Joe Biden. Like, once you're in the thick of winter, you're aching for sunlight and summer, and you just miss it in the very core of your being. But you forget that a lot of it is actually not that great, it just kind of represents the opposite of what is happening now and you put rose-coloured glasses on. Now summer is here, and you can't go out because the 20 minutes you spend waiting for the G train fully ruins your fun summer look.
When did you first start working on your new album ‘Meaning’, and what was your headspace like at the time?
Rachel: We started writing and arranging it with purpose about a year ago (spring-summer 2018). Before that, I was not sure we were going to make another album and slowly wrote some songs that were just for myself over the course of two years. Putting energy into creative things was difficult for a long time. The state of the world just felt like chaos every single day. It still does. I don't remember exactly when we decided to make the album, but once we did, I think having that outlet helped me process things in a way that I had been missing.
Did it come together easily? Did you hit upon any unexpected challenged?
Rachel: Once we decided that we were going to make another record, certain things fell into place nicely, mostly in the writing process. Andrew and I work really well together, and this was by far the most fun I've had writing songs, which is saying a lot. Much of it we did Postal Service-style because we live in different cities now.
A: Personally, I would say nothing about this was easy because we decided to do as much as we possibly could with as little resources as possible. We spent a lot of time on crazy things like a ten-part choir arrangement, and then when the time came for mixing, we were like "let's keep that REAL low in the mix." Did we need to do that? Should we not have added more guitar parts than we have guitar players in our actual band? Is that for us to say? Probably, but it's up to you.
How was your time in the studio?
Rachel: We worked in a few different places! Drums were recorded at Headroom, where we recorded our last album. Kyle Gilbride engineered those, and for most of the guitars and bass tracks, we worked in his personal studio out in Delaware County, PA. I engineered most of my own vocals at home in my office, and we recorded the keys in my kitchen for some reason.
It sounds like it’s a very inquisitive album, were you able to find any of the answers to your questions?
Rachel: Not really. There are a lot of questions that I think are just unanswerable, at least right now. I certainly was able to find a place of peace in the process of writing these songs, though.
Has writing this album made you feel any better about the world?
Rachel: Writing and sharing what I've written always makes me feel more connected to the world, if not better about it. I think it would be nearly impossible to feel better about the state of the world right now.
Andrew: HA! I don't think an album could help that. I think every day I feel less and less of a connection to culture and other people. I think everyone is full of shit and it's super funpressing, which is a combination of fun, depressing, and a third word with no meaning or spelling.
Do you have any idea what you guys are going to musically explore next?
Rachel: Not in terms of the next record, but certainly bringing the new songs to life on tour!
Andrew: What's the genre where you don't regret all your life choices? The idea of spending any more time away from my wife and children doing music than I already do really fills me with dread, but then I remember I am actually a single, childless man in my 30s and I briefly feel better. Honestly, the best part about being a parent is not having kids. Being able to see my own future in their theoretical eyes shows me my only true chance at a life beyond my own, and it's really beautiful, or would be, if, you know.
What are your plans for the remainder of the year?
Rachel: We are playing a string of dates around the album release on the east coast. Hopefully a longer tour after that.
Andrew: I'm going to microdose on a blanket in a field and listen to Kasey Musgraves.
Taken from the September issue of Upset. Field Mouse’s new album ‘Meaning’ is out now.
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