Reviews

Fall Back Open

Author: Carla Fredericks
07/14/2004 | Junkmedia.org | www.junkmedia.org | Album Review
In rock's history there have been side projects and vanity projects, perpetuated by all types of artists for any number of different reasons. Every now and then, however, these projects yield an artist motivated by the simple desire to live and breathe music and music alone. Andy LeMaster, the wunderkind behind Now It's Overhead, is exactly so consumed. LeMaster took a few minutes out of his crammed schedule to discuss his new record, Fall Back Open, and what it's like to singlehandedly juggle writing, engineering, mixing, producing, playing five instruments and singing all at the same time.

So your background is kind of as a behind-the-scenes guy. What made you decide to break into the spotlight with Now It's Overhead?
I've always written my own songs. Now It's Overhead began because the songs that eventually became the first album started piling up and seemed cohesive. So I formed the band around the songs. And it's become more and more of a priority ever since.

How did you first become involved with Saddle Creek Records?

I started playing and recording with Bright Eyes in 1997. I had known the Omaha crew a couple years by that point. We met when a band I was in at the time played a random show with Commander Venus and we all hit it off.

What is it like working on so many different projects? Do you feel like they are autonomous or do they feed off each other?

It's hard to completely separate them so they do tend to feed off each other. I walk away from other projects with any number of little random things that carry over into the next thing I work on.

There are a lot of cameos on Fall Back Open. Did you engage in songwriting for the record with people like Michael Stipe and Conor Oberst in mind? I didn't actually write the songs with them in mind. But they came to mind soon after the songs began to take shape in the studio. Since the band is such a bastardized solo project, it lends itself to guest musicians. I began picturing their voices on those particular songs and that's what got the ball rolling.

Fall Back Open tackles a broader array of themes than Now It's Overhead's first release. What prompted this change?

There is more of a vastness about this album. It's just the mindset I was in while writing the songs. They're unified by longing and uncertainty in a few different forms.

Tell me about Chase Park Transduction Studio.
It's been around since May of 1997. I jointly own and operate Chase Park with Dave Barbe and Andy Baker. We've amassed a hefty gear collection and I feel completely at home working there.

How has your music engineering and mixing background translated in your music?
The studio is a huge aspect of Now It's Overhead. Many of the songs are born there and all of them are arranged there. I strive for an emotive quality in the production of a song that compliments its subject matter as much as possible. I feel like my studio background is essential to my music.

Did you have assistance engineering Fall Back Open, or was it a one-man show? Who else was involved in making the record and what role did they play?
I did all the engineering and mixing by myself.

What's your favorite part of recording and why?
The moment where the complete picture of a song comes together for the first time... sometimes it happens right away and sometimes it doesn't happen until the final mix. And it's not really tangible. But it's so rewarding and the whole process is about chasing that moment.

How has being in Athens, GA influenced the record?
The southern gothic energy and the lushness of the southern landscape are definite influences. I directly visually connect some of the production with the overgrown green jungle of the summertime here.

Any further plans to tour? What can we expect from Now It's Overhead live?
We're doing some Florida and Georgia dates in July and some European shows in August. Also a big complete U.S. tour in September and October. All those dates will be on the Saddle Creek site as they are available. There's more energy in our live shows than on the recordings. It's a more visceral interpretation but there are still the lush ethereal elements as well.
Fall Back Open

Fall Back Open

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