« Song Exploder

Khruangbin - So We Won't Forget

2020-07-15 | 🔗

Khruangbin is a band from Houston, Texas, who first formed in 2010. NME called them the "low key superstars" of psychedelic music. They’ve released three albums. The most recent, which came out in June 2020, is called Mordechai.

In the past, most of Khruangbin’s songs have been instrumental, or if they did have vocals, they'd be minimal. Their new album is different. It features vocals prominently, and in this episode, the three of them explain their philosophy on vocals and their process on writing lyrics. I spoke to each of them to get their perspective on how they made the song "So We Won’t Forget."


This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
You're listening to song exploder, where musicians take apart their songs and piece by piece tell the story of how they were made. My name, his appreciation, song exploder is brought to you by progressive Have you tried the name, your price tool, yet it works just the way it sounds. You tell progressive how much you want to pay for car insurance and I'll show you coverage options that fit your budget. It's easy to start a quote and you'll be defined, find a rate that works for you is just one of the many ways you can save with progressive, get your quote today and progressive dot com and see why, for five new, auto customers recommend progressive, progressive casualty, insurance company and affiliates price and coverage match limited by state law. This episode is sponsored by indeed, indeed makes it easy. Hire great talent, and you can do it all. In one place, which is why more than three million businesses worldwide use, indeed to hire great talent fast.
Start hiring now, with a seventy five dollars sponsor job credit to upgrade your job post at indeed, dot com, slash song, explode, This offer is valid through March thirty, first good, indeed, dot com, slash song, explode, to claim your seventy five dollar credit before March thirty, first, indeed, dot com, slash song. The terms and conditions apply need to hire. You need indeed crumble is a band from Houston Texas, who first formed in two thousand and ten enemy called them. The low key superstars of psychedelic music. They released three albums. The most recent is called Mordecai came out in June, two thousand and twenty in the past most have crumble, songs have been instrumental or if they did have locals, they'd be minimal. Their new album is different. features, vocals and lyrics prominently, and in this episode the three of them explain their philosophy on vocals and the process. The writing. Lyrics I spoke to each of them to get their perspective on how they moved the song. So we won't forget.
The this is Lorelei. My name is Mark Speer and I play guitar my name is DJ and I play drums for Congress. everything music leading in terms of Qatar base and drums. We rode at the farm and Burden Texas, we ve always route for it. There are since beginning for us, is the the place to right, because minimal distractions out there. It's very quiet, no wifi on the property wide open Texas, Landscapes, cows, lots, grass. Trees are really good They stood center yourself. It's where vast majority of of our songs were written, but I dont My best work in a sword like a jack me situation, I, like
My own time I like to be in my own head with each song I was listening to this song called Coochie by pakistani singer, Nausea Hassan It was really funky on the bottom, but the vocals are really sweeping and pretty and like a light, a to have a song that made me feel the way that some did so The song started with bass, kind of stuff off back and forth, and so everybody
Band has their own time with each song, I went in Just- b. Okay, this is what she's doing this is where I want to be. This is the space that I need to take up to support that baseline and I tried this thing with those notes with some drags on the snare and create a field. What you learn, something it sounds different, then, when you're trying to figure it out, you know that search sound that The process is actually what we capture when we record the instrumental part in the barn. We want to sound unsure you want the raw like. This is just me coming up with this. In the moment, sound, I remember plugging the guitar in and just trying to print stuff cuz like the bass and drums already sounded really good to me, but I
no idea melodically what I wanted to do so I just kind of start off playing this kind of fingerstyle guitar part directly, bye, bye, western central african guitar players. I love that kind of was polyphonic music. but he gets the most beautiful in the world. I kind of wanted to do something like that. So I wanted to like have that sort of melancholy, guitar melody. On top of this, like disco, minimal five, that's how it started. There's a really nice balance between us of now.
IVIS and expert mark and dj are both very, ants players. They will play professionally for a long time and a lot of that profession All time was in church and the guys that play gospel does guys have stops when the three of us first started hanging out, Laura, wasn't even playing bass yet, which is so weird, if even when I about it. To be really insecure about not being as good as they were technically. But I've learned that my naivety is actually a strength play surprised at what Laura comes up with, because it's just a different approach. tube, melody and rhythms. We'll, go in and we'll learn a song and then our engineer, Steve hits record. Usually the magic is around. Take two or take three
bass, guitar and drums are all recorded, live in the barn. For this whole album, because that's how you can the feeling or the groove, there's some that you miss when you're tracking things individually, and I totally understand that if you track a guitar in an isolated place that you're going to get cleaner, more edit Well but then there's a sort of magic, that's lost and for my own creation, I just I want as much of the magic as I can get. Sometimes, when we record the things in the barn, we leave it's a complete song, it doesn't need anything else, but we, is recording. We knew that still something missing. It wasn't complete be like you know. The song needs something else on top, so we take a guitar bass and drums in May and then didn't. Back to this album until November during
in a break. We try I had not to listen to what we made because we all understand how important it can be to take a break from your work so we kind of just put it on back burner and one of our lives I needed a little bit of nurturing last summer before we went back into the studio, the turing lifestyle in general, a kind of caught up with me. We pretty much been on the road nonstop for three and a half years, and you get lost in it. And I missed weddings and birthdays and babies being born the little girl I wanted to be a writer. At some point in my life. I realize that if I wanted to make stories I had to go out and collect them so you know I went on this hike in California, with some I just met- who is
so kind to me. They saw that I needed a friend and took me on this beautiful hike and after that day I I realized that I had a lot of stories in my back pocket to tell I was saying you know what actually in my life, I've lived a life of adventure, and I have all of these stories that I've collected- and I should say im down so I remember them, so after my hide, I came to Houston and the day of silence. I didn't listen to anything. I tried to not even talk to myself in my own head be in silence with a pen and a notebook, and I just wrote everything I could. and while I was writing, I would think about. stories that came up, and I didn't want to forget any of them. So add all these posts states to remind me or to trigger different stories that were coming up in my mind and
just ended up being a story of its own, just writing about holding onto a memory whom we got back Laura all the stuff scruple in her journal and she in did a brilliant job of putting all that together and making beautiful lyrics out of these notes. I was I my notebook and look four stories or sentiments or words that sea to fit the tone of the song, and I'll, get a separate piece of paper those fragments on it in hand to mouth dj and see which lines or words resonate with them and so then I would start pulling sentences off the page. Putting them onto a new page, arrange them out like a lyric, it's important for us that the word speak true to all of us, because we all sing it together. I ran
so I yeah so wow ooh yeah. We do have a lead singer, all of us or none, that's just how it works. I don't think anyone in the band particularly likes to sing but we do enjoy the texture that a vocal bring to the music. But no no one in the ban will claim to be a vocalist. We much. birds, the sound of a singing together, We stand together, there's one MIKE and we all sing behind it. I like it, because you can't have melodies that are super super complex, because everyone has to save them and there's no. Space for like a bunch of like riffing, it's just here's! play. This is how you sing it.
call mariachi I watching the I have to say coming up. The church with DJ the quiet. Where is made up of a lot of people, and not all those people Our like train singers, and there be a few voices that are like just a little off and it's just often afterwards. I I feel so good, like I love that sound man, if you had like, if, the choir for the people that sang perfectly actually have that rich, full sound is everything so perfectly into, or so perfectly timed Gotta have a little bit of realness, also, usually trying to find words that sing pretty a sound nice to sing. There's a lyric, not enough paper, not enough letters, so we won't forget
I, I know I there's never enough to write down Everything you want to remember, and that was a sort of feeling I was trying to say. But the original statement was not enough paper, not enough words, so we won't forget. and it was a real point of contention and more it's totally right, not enough words doesn't sound very pretty but not enough- Letters- has a nicer cadence so because in history. We haven't had that many vocals, the key, which we write. Isn't such a big deal, but the original key that was in we we couldn't sing along to
have different ranges. So you have to write within that Venn diagram where they all can sing and sound good. and so in order to keep the integrity of the vocals. we all decided was important. We had to change the key of the song which we'd never done before so get down and what we did that Like sounds so much better. The vocals are singing a. It sounds more like us, change a mark and I, both re our parts in the studio, and that was a challenge for us, because it's always been part of our thing that the guitar, and drums were recorded together at the farm, we kind of had to come to terms with it and any we decided to, the drums from the farm, so that, The farm was still in the song and that mark- and I were
re record, our parts and a key that we could say. I was like okay well I'll practice tonight, I welcome in the morning and I'll do it, but I tend to get insecure when everybody's watching me play a part There's something comforting and when we're all playing together, because everybody's concentrating on their own thing, but if I'm playing by myself in the studio and everybody's listening to me play and I'm nervous about, messing up, because I know they're going to hear it the Christian soon is urging you D, J C were sitting right next to me in numbers even like, don't worry, dude we can do it's as many times as you need you gotta something again we can find something in and he press record It was a perfect take from To finish, I looking d, J really wide. I've been out o my god and it's like one, take Jake Jake
a huge moment for me as a player, because that just never happened. So if I was worried, I lost any magic from it, not being the recording at the farm. I gained it back in a way the mark for caution, parts and he's the site. And of crumbling percussion. We would spend time to develop a part that sounds good with everything playing. You know, I step on the base, can step on the drums can step on the vocals, also his approach, playing percussion parts is totally different than the approach I would take, which is great, because I think when he and I played again
there. He is able to fill in spots. That makes sense, Just two different sets of timing where things land one made lean back a little bit. One may be a little bit ahead and you know when they come together. It's better to sound like two people versus one person, doing everything I think my favorite part- is the scenario So a scenario is this: like Synth drum from the late seventies, early eighties, especially you've got a synthesizer built into a drum, and it's like this sounded like woo. We could do all these kind of crazy, like like almost like spaceship, sounds
To me it added so much like bounce. I love that apartment. That's that's my favorite part of this. All honestly. We got to the end of the recording session and keyboards were the last thing that went on and for Mark's birthday bunch of his friends, we all pitched in and get this huge birthday this is a move, wager so he's really excited to get it in and play it on this record the and especially fond of the last lyric, which pretty sure was marks doing because he loves the twist, though
it's kind of repeat themselves throughout the song and the only time they change at the end, which is say you remember, for I think I've lost it It. And not just felt like a dagger to the heart, because the whole thing is. while all holding on holding on holding on like oh no, it's gone. And I felt like a sad but beautifully way to end, I haven't seen it since I was a little kid but in the never ending story too. Remember which character it was, but basically every time they made a wish They lost a memory
She only had so many wishes left, but every time she wished she would also lose something, and that was the sort of payment for getting whatever she for what most valuable things we have is our collection of memories are things that have happened to us. I'm always writing things in my notes in my phone because super forgetful, in the process of making this album, we were doing a lot of touring years. Worth of just traveling around the world playing shows and nights A lot of times it ends up just kind of all running together and it's really important to keep us diary to remember the little moments that happened along the way that you don't want to forget. The best one in the band at doing that is probably Loreley, because she's always telling us about
oh. This is what we were doing a year ago and it'll be something, albeit small, just like wow. I remember that happening. You know I forgotten about that. I'm glad you wrote it down, so in a sense the song is his about that. It's about capturing all these things in writing down before they It's. And now here, so we won't forget by Krung in its entirety,
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Transcript generated on 2022-03-27.