05th Apr2013

Allah-Las: The Interview

by Todd
Allah-Las

photo by Nick Walker

In the sea of brilliant bands, the Allah-Las are the lighthouse that guides the way for all to follow. Their self-titled first album was on virtually everyone’s top ten list. After a busy South By Southwest schedule, the band is currently on tour before joining The Black Angels on a tour to die for. The band consists of Matthew Correia (percussion), Spencer Dunham (bass), Miles Michaud (vocals, guitar), and Pedrum Siadatian (lead guitar. When the band got together, three of them – Correia, Dunham and Siadatian – were working at Amoeba Music. That reverential love of music consumes their music and contributes to that sense of deja vu, when listening to their music. Essentially they are the distillation of the sound produced by spending years in your favorite record store, listening to the greatest music ever made. Todd and Sania interviewed one of their favorite bands about the new album and the chaos of South By Southwest.

Sania: Everywhere I looked at SXSW, it seemed your name was on the lineup. It was great finally catching you guys there, your sound translates beautifully live. How was that experience for you?

Allah-Las: It was kind of hectic cause we played 14 or 15 shows in 6 days, but it felt good keeping busy. Wish we had more time to eat BBQ and take a dip in Barton springs

Sania: You worked with Nick Waterhouse on your record. Why did you feel he was right for your sound, and how was it in the studio with him?

Allah-Las: Recording was fun and took place sporadically over the course of 6 months or so. Nick’s a good friend and we felt he was a kindred spirit musically, so when he offered to produce us we knew it was a good move

Sania: The track ‘Long Journey’ stands on its own a bit in that it has a gritty, dirty, bluesy funk vibe to it. Tell us a little bit about it.

Allah-Las: It’s a song originally done by a band called the Roots in the mid 60′s. We slowed it down and Matt changed some of the lyrics to make it our own

Sania: I love how your record sounds effortlessly lo-fi, though I’m sure it was a meticulously purposeful excursion. Just the right amount of clicks, pops, and echos. It seems that a lot of the time, that sound concept is used in excess to make some sort of standing statement, which is fine, but t’s nice to hear it melted to the fabric of a song with you guys. What did you use to get that sound?

Allah-Las: We actually weren’t aiming to make it lo-fi or 60′s per say. We were mostly concerned with making a record that aged well. There was equipment used that wasn’t intended for musical use. A lot of the sound can be attributed to the efforts of Mike McHugh, who owns the Distillery and engineered the record.

Sania: The cover art for the album is pretty, and it fits perfectly with what’s presented inside. What’s the story for the art?

Allah-Las: Matt has a book of David Hamilton photos that’s really rad and he pushed to have that particular photo as the cover of the record.

Todd: You occasionally shift vocal duties on your songs. How do you work out the internal politics of those kinds of decisions?

Allah-Las: Whoever writes the lyrics sings the song

Todd: To that end, has the songwriting process changed for you since you first started out?

Allah-Las: Not really, it’s all very casual still. For the most part, someone brings an idea to practice and it’s either built upon or left behind

Sania: Are you working on any new material these days?

Allah-Las: Yeah, whenever we’re home from tour we try to work on new songs. We just finished recording a new single last week.

Sania: You’re heading out on tour with The Black Angels. That’s a really great fit. Listening to them is like listening to the city of Austin present/past, and listening to you guys is like listening to LA present/past. Are you excited?

Allah-Las: Yeah it’s almost a yin yang kind of fit. We’re really looking forward to it

Sania: I would ask what are you listening to, but you already spilled that on the regular, via awesome Reverberation Radio playlists.Tell us about that.

Allah-Las: It’s our weekly podcast that features a mix made by us and a few close friends. We each take turns making them and they’re a reflection of stuff we’ve been listening to, old and new. People can listen at reverberationradio.com

Sania What’s next for The Allah-Las?

Allah-Las: After the tour with Black Angels we’re home for a couple weeks and then we go to Europe for a month or so. We’ll begin work on LP number 2 when we get back

To purchase tickets to see them at Austin Psych Fest 2013, click here!

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