Email interview with Matt Thiessen of Relient K. We discuss the new album, the new label, and more.
Let’s jump right into the new album… When writing for the new album you locked yourself away in a cabin for a few months. Was this something you wanted to do or felt that you needed to? Can you share with us what it was like during that time period?
I write best when no one is in ear shot of me. Even an audience of one can make me really self conscious when I want to try new things. The idea of writing in a cabin at a lake in the winter was very appealing to me. Joey Elwood and Toby McKeehan handed me the keys to an amazing little place they’ve got two hours southeast of Nashville. I set up shop, and Hoopes, Ethan, and Schneck came out a few times to validate what I was doing. Life in solitude was really refreshing.
How many songs did you end up writing while there? What will happen with the songs that didn’t make the cut for your new album?
I just wrote the songs on the record and a B side called Terminals that Adam Young from Owl City produced.
Were you able to share ideas and songs through the internet back and forth? How do you feel the overall process went?
I usually wait until the song is almost done before I show it to the guys. I really like Hoopes’ taste in music, so I usually bounce everything off of him. If he’s okay with the tune, we’ll rehearse, refine, and record it.
You recorded with both Mark Lee Townsend and John Feldmann this time around. Why not just stick with one producer? Obviously you’ve worked with Townsend before but what drew you to Feldmann?
We decided to do the whole thing with MLT for convenience sake.
Where did the album title come from? Is there any special significance to it?
Lamenting can slow down the potential flourishing of a life. If a lot of time is spent being sad, things don’t move forward.
How does Forget and Not Slow Down differ from your recent albums? What can we expect from it?
Its a rock record. Still melodic but not a “pop punk” record. The lyrics are probably the most honest I’ve written.
There are a bunch of guest spots on the record including Aaron Gillespie, Tim Skipper, Matt MacDonald, and Brian McSweeney. Had you planned on featuring a number of guest vocals on the album or did it just work out that way?
Gillespie and McSweeney were serendipitous same place/same time situations. Gillespie was in Nashville recording for a while, so I actually wrote his part with him in mind. MacDonald and I became friends on Warped Tour, and I’ve always been a fan of the breakage in his voice. He and Skipper were definitely in my head during the writing process.
Which tracks do the various vocalists appear on?
Mostly a song called Sahara, but MacDonald and John Warne both supply a huge chunk of the lead on If You Believe Me. My father and my brother are in the Oasis intro, and if you rewind the disc a minute or so you can hear my pops singing a really creepy line of Sahara.
You’ve spoken in the past about using side projects to release material that didn’t fit RK’s original style but things have obviously changed. Do you ever plan on doing another side project or reviving one of the previous ones?
Yeah. Hoopes is probably craving a solo record for one of these years so he can have some time off of the road. We’ve been going for 10 years. I probably have 15 side projects cooked up in my head. We’ll see which actually happen. The most likely is a collaboration with Adam Young of Owl City. We’re calling it Goodbye Dubai.
Do any of the other members have any side projects in the works?
I’m sure they will. We’re all pretty focused on RK at the moment, but everyone in the band is a talented song writer. I could see all of them releasing other projects.
So you guys fulfilled your contract with Gotee and then signed with Mono Vs. Stereo. How did that all come about? I take it that there must be a good relationship with the folks at Gotee since MVS was started by them.
The Bird And The Bee Sides got us out of our deal, and we asked to have our own label/partnership with Gotee and MVS. We’re gonna sign a few bands and make some cool records. Gotee believed in us from the start and they’ve always let us do our thing. Gotee is about as close to family as you can get in this business.
Both Matt’s are now A&R at your current label home. In a blog posting you said you planned on signing a few bands a year so will we see any signings in 2009? Are there any bands you are currently pursuing bands for the label or is RK the main project right now?
Deas Vail are an excellent band from Arkansas that we just signed. I believe their second record (MVS’ first release from us) is coming out a few weeks after ours.
I would assume that you guys will be on the road for some time in support of the new album. You’ve already confirmed the 3 Hour Tour but are there any other scheduled tours lined up?
Toby Mac in the winter. Should be fun.
Anything you’d like to leave us with?
Make sure to check out the bands upcoming album Forget And Not Slow Down, in stores on October 6th. Click here to enter our contest for a chance to win a copy of the new album as well!