The Districts discuss their new album Popular Manipulations...
Fuzzed up rockers The Districts are back with new album Popular Manipulations and we spoke to their frontman Robby Grote about how they put the LP together...
How did you want Popular Manipulations to move on from what you did on A Flourish And A Spoil?
"There was no real intention of moving on I guess. More just we wrote what we thought was a natural progression as a band."
You’ve said you had over 50 songs to choose from, how did you find the process of cutting so many of them for the album?
"I doubt we had 50 fully fleshed out songs but at least the basic ideas were there. But it was mostly a process of trying to see which songs fit best together. It's nice to have the rest of those songs on the back burner though!"
You worked with John Congleton for four songs, what did he give you as a producer?
"We actually recorded around 10 songs with him but only four made it to the album. It felt really natural going back into the studio again with him. We had a lot more musical equipment to work with, and he had some really cool ideas of where we could take the direction of songs to!"
Why did you decide to do the bulk of the producing yourselves? How did you find self-producing? Was it a challenge?
"We initially wanted to finish the record with John but it was mostly just scheduling from us touring and stuff that prevented it. So we decided to do some demos with our friend Keith Abrams from the band Pine Barons engineering at the studio Headroom in Philly. After we recorded them we thought they sounded great so we booked more time at Headroom to finish up the album. But self-producing was great!"
Which song on the album took the longest to get right?
"Probably 'Rattling of the Heart'. We had a bunch of different versions before going into the studio. It just took a while to feel which one felt right."
And which came together most quickly?
"Probably 'Why Would I Wanna Be'. We felt we needed a song help break up the album a bit and that song felt perfect. In the studio, we re-recorded it and made it sound fuller and added a bass drop thang to it to spice it up!"
What kind of album is this in lyrical terms? Is there a theme to the songs?
"Pretty much that people in whatever relationship end up manipulating each other at some point. It could be either for good reasons or bad, intentionally or unintentionally, but it's an extremely human thing to do that is unavoidable I guess!"
When did you settle on the title of Popular Manipulations?
"It's the name of one of the songs that didn't make the album and we thought it was fitting as a title."
Were there any other titles in contention?
"Honestly none of us can really remember! Probably because they didn't feel right!"
What are your plans to take the album out live? How is your live set coming together?
"We've been peppering in the new songs live for the past year so we've worked out a lot of the kinks and stuff a while ago. It's been great though being able to play them live and see people singing the lyrics already!"