Interview with The Posies

Photo by Julian Ochoa

With their first studio record in 5 years, ‘Blood/Candy,’ out now, and about to embark on a European tour, I caught up with The Posies’ Ken Stringfellow after a recent show in Brooklyn, NY.

State your name and position.

Well, my name is Ken, and I’m standing up.

Ken Stringfellow.

That is my name. That’s my full name. Kenneth Stewart Stringfellow. Scottish first name, English middle name.

So tell me about your seventh studio release ‘Blood/Candy.’

It’s our masterpiece. It really is. It’s the thing we’ve worked the hardest on; the thing we’ve worked the longest for; and I think we’ve done a great job on it.

And where was this record recorded?

In a number of places. We did most of the tracking in Spain, in a place called El Puerto de Santa Maria, which is near Cadiz. I worked on it at my home studio, in Paris. We worked on it in Seattle. I worked on it in Ecuador, when I was there working on another record. We had some special guests do their things in LA, and Canada, and Spain as well. So [there were] quite a lot of different elements that tied together. But that’s how records are done these days!

And was this over a period of about a year, maybe?

No, it was more like a couple of months, at the most! We had a big agenda to pull off, and we booked a short amount of time for it… we kind of underestimated how much time it would take to make this record, because we are used to making quick records nowadays — we used to make really indulgent, long ones — but, in this case, we said, “Ahh, we’ll just rehearse a lot and then blast it out in the studio!” But actually, even in the rehearsals, we were like, “Wow, this material’s kind of challenging.” So we suddenly found ourselves coming to the end of our originally set-aside recording period, and going “Wow, we’re not even close to done yet.” But we had already booked the European tour that’s starting next week, so we were like, “Well, we have to finish the record in a couple of weeks.” And that was kind of a nightmare. But we did it.

That sometimes is helpful to have a fire under your ass.

Yeah, we kind of have this thing about setting up conditions that have finite parameters and put a lot of pressure on us. I guess that’s a motivator for us. We’ve also been in situations where we’ve had all the time and money in the world, and made good records, but… I don’t know, I sort of prefer it this way. I like that, you know, “butterflies in your stomach” [feeling], like “Wow, we’re gonna fuck this one up, we don’t have enough time”, total panic feeling. I actually kind of like it. It’s exhilarating, in a strange way.

Even after all these years?

Maybe even more so!

Because you have all this pressure to put out something great?

Yeah, why would you want to be a complacent old dude, just resting on your laurels or whatever? Life’s over at that point.

Where did the ‘Blood/Candy’ name come from?

That came from a wonderful poem that was written by a wonderful poet named Thax Douglas, who is a well-known figure, especially in Chicago. He goes down to shows, and right before the main band plays, he introduces himself, and says, “Hey, can I write a poem about you guys, and introduce you?” And he does this for many bands and many artists. And he did that for us, and he wrote this wonderful poem, and it had this line that said “the blood candy.” And I thought, “Wow, that encapsulates so perfectly the two extremes that make this band go.” We are very intricate, and very composed and very structured, but at the same time we’re also very passionate, and very wild, and we utilize both of those things: the intellect, and the completely haywire side.

Great! I can’t wait to listen to the record in its entirety!

It comes out on September 28th.

Thank you!

Pick up The Posies’ new album Blood/Candy