Cutting Capers

The EP. Released July 2019.

cutting-capers-album-art-hank-and-brendan

Overview by Hank:

This EP is a collection of four songs, written by two different people individually. They existed before they entered the studio. However, they found themselves transformed by the echo chamber/vacuum to create a sonic narrative which indulged my current fascination with “desert lore.”

The first two songs (mine) are confrontational, coming from a compressed, frustrated place. So if you’ll indulge me, picture yourself boarding a train, headed to the frontier, with the tempo change in “Just Another 145” signifying a train embarking. “Gawker” chafes during the ride from the close quarters and stuffy clientele.

With the second half (Brendan’s), the disembarkation. By “Midnight,” you have arrived in the desert, disoriented, but in awe. Sparseness gives way to open space and endless possibilities, which come to a head. It’s only fitting that the last track is “Where Can I Go,” as you ride your horse into the horizon, the sun sending a mirage of ripples across the top of the sand.

Just Another 145

H: This song came to me in the aftermath of a bender and a “social rejection.” Make of that what you will (I probably shouldn’t go into details; all is good now). I kinda fused the petty resentment/righteous anger I was feeling with my own sense of coming up short, and juiced it all up with that mother of false virtues, ill-conceived confidence. Certain lines in this song make me cringe, but I kept them in the interest of creating a certain narrator, a fully formed scoundrel.

B: On tracking day we managed to record the whole EP in a few hours with about an hour or two of studio time still leftover, so we just spent that remaining time throwing a bunch of wild ideas at the end of this song to make it a cacophonic mess. I must’ve looked like a madman running around yelling, “We need more feedback and shredding here! Ryan! Tambourine here! Chris! Play some bad piano here!” I remember Bullock slamming away on the keys and at the end of his take saying, “That was Godawful and I hope it was everything you wanted.” Yes, Chris. I’m VERY happy with the controlled crash we made out of this song!

Gawker Blues

H: Both songs I wrote on this one are about Chapel Hill. This song goes back to when I first moved here. I ripped off one of my own songs, Dis. Nothing wrong with bringing your music to where it’s been before. I like to think of how John Lennon called “Paperback Writer” “Son of Daytripper,” as an inspiration for this approach. Of course Paul wrote PW, so in true John form, his remark is acidic.

The lyrics recall my inability to relate to Chapel Hill/UNC nightlife. Being new in town, and having minimal friends, the scene I was looking for seemed poised to let me down. This did not turn out to be the case, thank goodness.

B: Yeah, I think it’s pretty common for your head to kinda stay in a similar place for a while but still analyze that feeling in a different light. Either way, I figured I’d give a different banjo treatment so that it wouldn’t just be a “Dis” carbon copy. Following the vocal melody was a pretty fun way to handle that, I think. I wanna say AIC’s “Rooster” was my reference in handling the harmonies?

Midnight

B: I wrote this late one night in Pittsboro. I was listening to a lot of AC/DC at the time so it was most likely inspired by their song “Night Prowler.” I have a lot of recurring dreams that feel like they last for years. Sometimes I see the Earth from space during the ice age and then end up in some abandoned neighborhood or town, not knowing how I got there. Somehow all of that (and some pseudo Black Keys choruses with pseudo Zeppelin jams) manifested itself into this tune.

H: You know who else was inspired by AC/DC’s “Night Prowler?” Richard Ramirez!

Alright seriously, this was a fun one for me because where I started out being really sparse with the lead guitar ended up being this epic freak out. I’m really happy with some of the country style licks I came up with, [it’s] almost as if I didn’t write them. But this is not country music, for the record! I’ve always took the “Western” portion of Country & Western to not actually mean anything. So I think of this as a “Western” record.

Where Can I Go

B: The only thing I remember about writing this song was how naturally it all came together. Some songs you really have to work at before they click, and some just kind of seem to write themselves. This one was of the latter variety. Fun fact, it was actually written BEFORE I started listening to Alice in Chains, so when people say they can hear Jerry Cantrell’s influence in this song, I can honestly say it actually wasn’t there when I wrote it!

H: It’s Brendan’s song, but it was my idea to include this one in the EP. It took on a life of its own in the studio. The sparse lead guitar approach I initially used for “Midnight” held up in the end.

My main contribution however is the outro. I had recently acquired a Spanish Flamenco guitar when we were in talks for the ep and I suddenly got the random ass idea of adding a psychedelic afterthought to “Where Can I Go.” So I strummed in the rasgueado technique and put high and low backwards guitar on it. This is also one of two times (the other being the opening of Gawker blues) we simulated a gong using a hanging crash symbol, which you can see on social media.