Wednesday, July 8, 2015

My Interview with Jessy Ribordy about Falling Up's upcoming new Album (2015)

Here's the interview I just conducted via email with Jessy Ribordy about the upcoming Falling Up album. Some nice info about it stylistically and conceptually, how it compares to the rest of the Falling Up records, etc. I must admit, from Jessy's description, I am rather curious how it could be a blend of their more recent heavily layered records, and the more raw work of their further past.

Also of course this upcoming album will in fact be the last Falling Up album; why that is and how it is both similar and different in approach from even the more recent releases. The fact Jessy and the band are spending the extra amount of time in perfecting it has me intrigued per I often find when a lot of time and thought is made with something, it often does show in the quality.

I of course plan to post more specifics about this album when it is made available. And I have embedded the new House Full of Caverns EP below which is available to download. I also have some other stuff to share soon, namely a documentary about Falling Up I saw posted on Facebook the other day with Jessy. And some stuff about interviews, doing them, etc (why I have not really done them in the past? and doing more in the future, among other thoughts about them that are related).

But here's the interview below, and as I also posted below, I want to thank Jessy Ribordy and Nick Lambert again for allowing me to do this interview.

          First off, I want to thank you and Nick for getting in touch with me as I have been a big fan of yours (Falling Up and your other projects too like The River Empires, The Gloomcatcher and Northern Abbey). I try and do everything I can to help support and promote them

Please tell me about this upcoming album from Falling Up:  When is it anticipated to be released?

Jessy: During the Fall. We don’t have a specific date yet, but the goal is during the Fall. Originally we were hoping for Summer but we’re just really trying to get this thing perfect. 

ALLMR: Is there a title (maybe even a working title?) or even a theme that you could share about the album?

Jessy: It’s most likely going to be self-titled, since this whole thing kind of represents all that our journey as a band has led up to. The entire theme is a secret as of now, but I can mention a major element within the album a few questions down!

ALLMR: What format will it be released on? Digital, CD and Vinyl? and if it does get released on Vinyl, might that influence the chance of some of the previous Falling Up albums to be released on Vinyl as well? (Fangs would be one I would personally love to own on Vinyl)

Jessy: Digital and CD for sure. We are printing Vinyls for Kickstarter, and hope to print another order just to sell in general. They are just so spendy! But yes, hopefully we can get the new record printed to Vinyl. And I’d really love Hours and YSDC too. Fangs would be rad except it’s difficult to get the master from our old label. If everyone came together and bugged them though I’m sure we could get the master to print! 

ALLMR: How does it differ from even the most recent Falling Up records like Hours, Midnight on Earthship and Your Sparkling Death Cometh, and how is it similar? 

Jessy: Well I’ve taken a lot more time to write this album than the others. YSDC I wrote in about three weeks ha! This one I took three months to really get the songs the way I wanted them. Not to say that the songs lacked anything on those older records. In fact normally I write better under pressure and in a shorter amount of time. Sometimes when I have too much time I second guess myself way too much. But it was different with this album. Time was a good thing. I needed to be in the space that my life was in at the time to really absorb inspiration. But it’s similar in ways of recording. Since we’ve become independent we’ve lived by the standard of not holding back with our albums. We let the songs be the songs that they are meant to be instead of trying to form them into anything for any other purpose than just being music.

ALLMR: Is there a lot of use of synthesizers and layers?

Jessy: Layers yes, synths are a little more sparse this time around. There is programming on this album but we’ve sampled a lot of organic layers and have been manipulating them with fx; basically making our own synths. And there are more pianos on this album. But that’s not to say there are more soft songs. Most of the heavier tracks have piano in them. I’m also still in the middle of keys/synths so there could be a lot more than I’m thinking by the end of it ha!  

ALLMR: Is it, or could it be considered a concept album? If so, what about?

Jessy: Alright so here we go— yes and no. I’ve realized that pretty much every album we’ve done is a concept album. Fangs was the only one self proclaimed as a concept and Hours was the only one based off an actual story I penned. But with all that being said, I feel that concepts are just kind a part of what we do. Most other bands will do regular records and then have one concept album that sticks out. Since concept has a been the major role in all albums, I can’t really say this a concept album, it’s just a Falling Up album, and it comes with the territory. That’s another reason we are excited about having this album as our last. It really does show everyone who we’ve truly been this whole time. We are Falling Up; we don’t write songs, we write musical stories. And with that being said I’ll mention a fun thing about this new album that I promised a few questions above— the whole album takes place inside a house.  

ALLMR: Does the new album have any influence from your recently published writing (Hours?)

Jessy: Influence with certain parts of the universe that Hours is set in, yes. But as far as the story, no. The story of this album is very different than anything I’ve written in our other albums. I hesitated with this story at first because I was hoping to tie together everything, so that Fangs was completed and Hours was completed, but it’s too special for that. I wanted to open up a world and then leave all of you there at the beginning of it as we leave it. This album shows all of you through the doorway (literally and metaphorically) while we exit. 

ALLMR: It sounds like there was a lot of music written and recorded for this album (per the extra Pre-Album EP House Full of Caverns), how long is the album? How many songs do you anticipate to be included?

Jessy: So far it’s looking like 12 tracks, but there will probably be closer to 14 with transitions and what not. Once I’m in the creative atmosphere I usually just go for it and it’s hard to stop ha. 

ALLMR: As for the House Full of Caverns EP, it is an almost all-instrumental EP, with a lot of chamber-music kinds of instrumentation from what I can tell. Does the upcoming full-length album have much of that?

Jessy: There are many transitions on the new album that have some flavor of House Full of Caverns, but I think to a lot of people’s surprise, there will be just a lot more whole tracks than even YSDC. It’s hard to explain but we have been playing with a new approach of doing an album chronologically rather than transitioning throughout the songs like YSDC. I always hesitate to describe the instrumentation because it changes as the recording process progresses, especially near the end. But so far we have been trying to keep things pretty “band” oriented— guitar, bass, drums, vocals and piano. Trying to touch back into our garage roots. 

ALLMR: The music on House Full of Caverns EP sounds like it could be on a soundtrack to something. Was there anything cinematic in mind with it and with some of the music on the new full-length album?

Jessy: I can’t say for the new album yet! But yes with the EP. I wrote a little story that will most likely be published per the kickstarter short story reward tier and it’s what the EP revolves around. It has a lot to do with blanket forts. Sounds silly, I know, but it’s neat. There are two characters in House Full of Caverns, Aron is one of them. When he arrives at the house, he rides in on the wind. I know that’s all very ambiguous but it will be revealed a bit later. Not with the new album though— thematically and conceptually the EP and LP are completely there own things. I guess the only common trait is that there is a house in both. But the house in the LP is cooler than the one in the EP. 

ALLMR: Does Falling Up look to tour to support the new album, and if so, where may the tours come? I live in Minnesota and would love to see Falling Up play live sometime, so I guess I'm biased to hope for a concert in Minnesota or somewhere in the Upper Midwest if possible.

Jessy: We are planning to play around Portland a lot. I would love to do a national tour again, one last time, we just need to find the right amount of support to do it. Even if we tagged onto another tour that was happening, that’d be rad. Even if we could only play three or four tracks a night off this new album, it’d be worth it! We will see I suppose, like I said, we would absolutely love to but have no plans as of now. We will be doing some UStream shows though online. I think those will be pretty neat.

ALLMR: It has been mentioned on Social Media and with the successful Kickstarter Campaign, this will in fact be the final Falling Up album. If you feel it's okay to explain anything about that, what are the reasons for it being the last Falling Up album? Is it for artistic reasons, i.e the members of Falling Up just find they want to focus on other kinds of music now? Or could it be for time, money, family purposes?

Jessy: Well for the past four or five years, the band has become more of a side thing in everyone’s lives. Wives, kids, careers, etc., became the priorities. And I’ve been ready to write and record some music separately from Falling Up for a long period of time. I think I’ve just felt like I needed to be able to end one chapter in order to start a new one completely. I’ve always been the type of person who focuses on something completely and I can’t feel happy about it if it’s not 100%. I’ve been doing 100% Falling Up for over ten years and I just recently realized I wanted to focus that energy on something different. Even with The River Empires and The Gloomcatcher, they weren’t projects that I was able to really focus on. Falling Up was still my priority, and everything else sort of fell behind it. But I’m ready to end it. I’m really excited to have people experience a new musical project that I will be putting just as much attention into, if not more, than I did with Falling Up. 

ALLMR: Thanks again and have a great 4th of July weekend and Summer!

House Full Of Caverns cover art