We got in touch with Dave “Tato” Morris to get his perspective on the new release, and he was nice enough to answer some questions for us.
Fayetteville Flyer: Where did you guys record?
The Inner Party: Keith (Miller, the Inner Party’s frontman) and I recorded the CD at his place, although incidentally he moved THREE times during the recording so it was recorded in three different apartments on his computer using Nuendo mainly.
FF: How many tracks are on this baby?
IP: There are 7 “official” tracks on the E.P., although there are 8 actual tracks. If you skip ahead to track 8 you’ll hear something special.
FF: What are you calling the CD, and where’d the name come from?
IP: The E.P. is called “Honky Heretics” and it’s named after the first track. It’s an instrumental that we used to open most of our shows with, although there is a recorded version with vocals and we played the vocal version live once. We’re saving the recording of it for the 5 year super deluxe reissue or whatever if we ever get a chance to do something like that. Keith and I actually argued for a while about exactly what to call it but eventually settled on HH b/c we knew we wanted the instrumental to be the first track and it kind of makes it the theme song for the whole E.P. The name “Honky Heretics” refers to the folks you’ll see out on Dickson Street some nights holding up signs about how “God hates sex” or some other such foolishness, hence the back cover art for the CD. Keith actually saw a guy holding up a sign that said “the party ends in Hell” and we just kind of adopted it as our slogan. You’d probably get a different answer from him or anyone else in the band if you asked them precisely what it means, but to me both the title and the slogan are about viewing the sign people on Dickson and others of their ilk as the fringe lunatics they are. We’re not really a political band per se but I personally am very political and sometimes that comes out in the songs I write or the things I say in an interview like this or on stage at a show. It think pre-Obama the political climate was downright dangerous for, among many others, any kind of countercultural artist for a number of reasons. Art always has the possiblity of being the biggest casualty of any culture war in my opinion, and the Bush led secular vs. religious war was absolutely no different. Any encroachments on the First Amendment and the notion of Natural Rights at the very least threaten to compromise the ability of artists to express themselves fully, and this is all to say nothing of the fact that this is a very difficult economic climate and it’s tough for most up-and-coming musicians to hold down jobs and make enough money to support themselves at even the most basic level and pursue a band intensely enough to have a prayer in hell of making a career out of it. It’s specifically troublesome that there are so many problems with medical insurance, etc. for people on the lower end of the income spectrum (which musicians almost always are) and hopefully this is one thing that will change for the better post-Obama. Unfortunately though the de-regulators who caused most of this economic mess are focused taking attacks of opportunity on organized labor and playing partisan politics and this will make it all the more difficult for things like healthcare to get fixed. Anyway, I realize I’m kind of all over the map and waaay off on a tangent that could be a whole other interview by itself but long story short to me the name “Honky Heretics” mocks the people and situations I’ve just been bitching about, even moreso when it’s coupled in context with a band name like the Inner Party.
FF: What was the recording process like, ie, did you record mostly live, track by track?
IP: We tracked pretty much everything individually. The recording process was really spread out since we were doing it on our own and also had to juggle things like jobs, hangovers, regular band practice, and social lives with recording. We (especially Keith) have been playing around with home recording for a long time and we can actually work very quickly if we have uninterrupted time to devote to doing it. If money were not a consideration and we could just hole up somewhere for a month and work we could probably record 3 or 4 full length records. We’re basically a hillbilly noise rock Prince.
FF: How long have you been working on this thing?
IP: The recording has basically been finished since May, although we did remaster it shortly before sending it off to get pressed. We wanted to get it out right after it was finished but it took a while to get the art together and most importantly to get the funds together in the Bush economy. Thankfully we managed to pull it off and now hopefully we can move enough merch to perpetuate future releases.
FF: Any sweet studio stories?
IP: As I said before the process was really spread out over time and all the recording took place in one of Keith’s three different bedrooms, and trust me if there’s a place in town that never sees excitement it’s Keith’s bedroom! Wow he is gonna kill me for saying that one. Sorry homie, just kidding… but all you girls reading this take note that the man is single! Anyway, it was all mostly pretty tame/not cool enough to really talk about in an interview. I spent a lot of time playing the harmonica, cowbell, and egg shaker when I wasn’t actually doing something and as I understand it that was pretty annoying.
FF: What can people expect when they hear the record?
IP:We’ve never really been good at the genre thing or saying that we sound like Band X or whatever and stylistically I think it’s all over the place. Some of the songs have been around for like 10 years are so and some of them are pretty much brand new. Some of them are almost kind of textbook punk rock and some are pretty experimental. Regardless of where it’s placed stylistically I think it’s an extremely good recording and I’m damn proud that we made it. I hope that people don’t pre-judge the fact that we recorded it ourselves in a bedroom because I think the sound quality is better than a lot of things I’ve heard in the past year that were recorded under exponentially less humble circumstances by fairly successful bands (regardless of whether or not that success was actually deserved). You recently did an interview with Nate from Queen Beast about the record they did with Sanford Parker at Steve Albini’s studio in Chicago. Nate is my best friend and he said he was blown away when he first heard our record and that he thought out of all the bands in town we had the best chance of actually getting signed to a real label. I don’t know if I necessarily believe all of that and maybe the fact that he’s my best friend has something to do with it but it was a pretty big complement for me to hear that from a guy who just had a top notch pro recording experience. I hope his assessment of everything is correct. Regardless I think if you’re open-minded enough to give local music an honest listen and have ever really been into any form of post punk music you’ll probably at least think the record is alright… and hopefully you’ll think it’s amazing and feel it the way we do.
FF: How can people get it?
IP: We will be selling it for the low low price of $5 we would definitely love it if you came to our CD release show Monday night (January 5) at George’s with our swell friends Dreamfast and the Heat Machine, who are coming all the way from Lincoln, NE just to play with us again on this special night. Hopefully Beau Cousins from Queen Beast will have surrendered my bass synth pedal by then so I can get the right bass sound for songs like “Used Parts”. If you can’t make it out to that one we shold have it at all of our shows for the forseeable future. The next one is at the Gypsy on January 25 w/ Auger, the Bling Grenades, and Lethal Red. It’s the first show for both the Bling Grenades and Lethal Red in a very very long time and we’re very proud and excited to be playing with them because in addition to being our good friends they also kick ass. However, if you can’t make it out Monday and can’t stand to wait until a live show just send an email to [email protected] and we can make some sort of arrangements to mail it to you over Paypal or whatever. We did have a free download up for quite a while of a .zip file that had the EP, some more recent demos, and some acoustic versions of some of the songs on the EP but that gravy train is probably about at its end. We were really inspired by the way Trent Reznor handled the release of “The Slip” and I guess we were kind of trying to copy that a bit. We also figured it was more important for people to be able to hear our music and get into our band than for us to try to make $5 here and there. Now we’re hoping that there will be enough good word of mouth about the record for us to be able to sell it and start saving up to release another record with our newer songs. Between Keith and I (the two songwriters in the band) we probably have a whole career’s worth of material written already, it’s just a matter of deciding what’s good enough to play and release with this band and how each song would fit in on a full length, another E.P., a single, or a free download.
You can check out some of the Inner Party’s music at their myspace page, or you could show up Monday night, and get a live preview of some of it at their show.