Photo by Jason Arthurs
Hey Jon, what can you tell us about your new record?
It was recorded in Durham, NC by Scott Solter at Overdub Lane (where we did a lot of work in the past — ‘Laughter Guns’/’Indoor Living’ mix/parts of ‘Leaves in the Gutter’). We worked on it over the course of a year. Schedules were a little tough to sync up so we’d grab a few songs at a time. It was the first time we’d ever worked like this and I think it turned out really well.
Rightfully so, you guys take a lot of pride in the fact that you went your own route of releasing your albums without the help of a major label back in the 1990s. Would you do the same thing if you started today?
Sure. It’s a great position to be in. There is literally nobody to answer to but ourselves. I have no idea what it would be like to start a band nowadays. On the one hand, you can get your music out into the world in ways that didn’t exist when we started, but there are so many bands now that it seems like it would be a Herculean task to get something going and sustain any kind of momentum because…there are so many bands!
How would you compare ‘Majesty Shredding’ to your past albums?
I think it’s our best sounding record. It sounds the fullest, sonically, of all our albums — the most multi-dimensional. It was fairly effortless to make–probably because it wasn’t just one straight shot of recording and mixing. Although I did throw my sticks across the room and storm out because I kept forgetting a part when we did “Digging For Something.” In the past, we’d record and mix the records in ten days — too quickly for my tastes, but that’s what was required. You don’t always get the best performances that way because you’re under the gun to get it all done. We were able to take a little more time and get better, more cohesive takes this way. And a lot of that was down to Scott pushing us a little. And we needed that. Also, I think Mac really wrote a great bunch of songs for this album. It’s going to be fun playing them live.
What was the songwriting process like for ‘Majesty Shredding’?
Mac wrote the songs on his own and then recorded demos to send us. [Mac, Jim and Laura] got together and worked them up and then I’d come down from NYC or wherever and we’d play them for a couple days and then go in and record. I loved doing it that way because there wasn’t much time to think about it. Just do it.
What expectations do you have for this tour that differs from your past tours?
I’m treating this like any other tour. I’ve been on the road for the last several years straight (w/the Mountain Goats, Bob Mould, Jay Farrar and Ben Gibbard and AC Newman) so I’m kind of always in that mode. The new record seems to be getting a great response and it’s been so long since we toured that it does feel more like an “event.” And that’s a nice feeling.
You guys are going to be performing on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon only six days after your album is released. Any big plans for it? Feeling nervous?
We’re excited for it. Oddly, this will be my third time on Fallon in a year (once with Aimee Mann and once with the Mountain Goats) and I’m really looking forward to doing it with Superchunk. It will be our first network TV appearance since…the first season of Conan. It’s always a little scary!
You’ve been quoted as saying that you doubted the band would ever tour again. What sparked you to change your mind? Do you think Superchunk will tour again after this one?
I don’t remember ever saying we’d never tour again. I probably said we’d never tour the way we we used to. We used to tour about 5-6 months a year back in the early-mid-90s. I’m sure we’ll never do that again. The US legs we’re doing will just be a week or so each. And that is the sane way to do it at this point, for us anyway.
Are you planning to perform any old favorites on this tour?
I don’t think much will be off limits, song-wise. We’ve been rehearsing a lot for this tour and playing songs we’ve literally not played in 10-13 years. It’s funny, they’re still somewhere in the muscle memory.
Thanks for taking the time to chat with us!
Pick up Superchunk’s new album Majesty Shredding
Upcoming tour dates can be found at www.superchunk.com