5 Questions With Weinland / We Like: La Lamentor

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Weinland’s La Lamentor is the second album from Badman Recording that we’ve fallen for this year. The first was Sweden sensations The Bell, whose Make Some Quiet still receives heavy play here at MoB HQ. While The Bell took us by surprise, La Lamentor came highly anticipated following up Demersville, the 2006 MoB favorite of the same band then known as John Weinland.

A shortened name does nothing to diminish the recorded output. In fact, La Lamentor follows and expands upon the warm, folky songs we’ve come to love and expect from this band. The sound expansion is especially evident during moments in “Gold” which envelope a hint of an electric direction (think Wilco’s A Ghost Is Born). The following track, “Curse of the Sea” bears a strong resemblance to fellow Portland resident Colin Meloy.

Heartbreak is debilitating, when captured in song, misery loves company and Weinland captures the very essence of love and relationships – those that last, could last, and those that have run their course.

We caught up with Adam Shearer of Weinland for our continuing 5 Questions of Muzzle of Bees feature. I sincerely hope you check these guys out, highly recommended!

Could you lend some information on the recording process of La Lamentor? Where and how was it recorded, and were there any lessons learned that you’ll apply towards future recording sessions?

La Lamentor was recorded over 4 sessions in 2007 at Type Foundry Recording Studios. We started in February with Adam Selzer, who also recorded our last record and has since become a good friend. In that first three days we recorded five songs, three of which made the record (“Gold”, “All To Yourself”, “Desiree”) and two of which we saved for special release (Europe or comps or something of the like).

The next session was with Dylan Magierek the owner of Badman Recording Co (My Morning Jacket, Hayden). We really wanted to work with Dylan and were familiar with his label and were very familiar with his recordings of Mark Kozelek, who I love. We asked Dylan specifically if he would record our acoustic songs for the record (WEINLAND makes efforts to have lots of dynamic variety in its records). We recorded three songs with Dylan, all three made the record (“God Here I Come”, “For Land For Love For Time”, “Curse of The Sea”). Dylan called me a few hours after the session and said he played a rough mix of “God Here I Come” for his wife who immediately demanded he sign us, which he offered to do at that time. Showing his faith in her opinion he offered this information, “She’s the one who got me to sign My Morning Jacket.” We signed a few weeks later.

We had another full band session with Selzer in September, completing four more songs (“La Lamentor”, “Sick As A Gun”, “The Devil In Me”, “In This The End”) and started one more, “With You, Without You”, which was originally recorded as guitar and vocals. In the final session with Dylan, we removed the guitar from “With You, Without You” and replaced it with piano.

The process was very different that what we’ve done in the past… many of the songs weren’t written before we entered the studio. I ended up writing a lot of lyrics and melodies as we went. For a lot of the songs I would sit down and record the guitar parts and then the vocals. Then as a band we would just start throwing instrumentation at the songs until they felt real. It was a great process and definitely a lesson teacher. Going forward, I think I would prefer to keep this method, verses doing everything as basic tracks (drums and bass). Not on all songs of course, but it makes a lot of sense to do it this way on songs in which the mood or feeling is more important than the production… which for us is the majority.

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We just wrapped up our favorite concerts and albums of 2007, do you have any shows or albums that stood out as favorites for you this past year?

My favorite show: M. Ward at The Crystal Ballroom, Portland, Oregon on October 7, 2007. Matt is consistently one of my favorite writer/performers. He has this very understated intensity about what he does… songs aren’t always immediate, but when they grow on you, they hold you tight. Not only that, but his band is chalk full of our friends (Adam, Rachel, Mike) and its always a blast to get to see them play at home.

Albums, we put together a list: •Weinland, indie-folksters + Dylan Magierek, Badman Records honcho. This is a combo list. We talked it out and picked our top 10 2007 records in no particular order:

The National – Boxer
Wilco – Sky Blue Sky
Glen Hansard and Marketa Iglova – The Swell Season
Spoon – Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga
Mbilly – Today
Jose Gonzales – In Our Nature
Arcade Fire – Neon Bible
The Shins – Wincing the Night Away
Band of Horses – Cease to Begin
The Boss – Magic

The internet has dramatically altered the way artists can reach an audience. With things like blogs/myspace/etc, what are your thoughts on the power of the internet in terms of helping (or hurting) your music?

We rely a lot on blogs, myspace, our website, etc to get the word out. There is no question that it has helped us immensely in booking and promotion.. I was actually having a conversation the other day with a friend about what it must have been like to book tours before everyone had email, google maps, and myspace!! I think I would have a heart attack if someone took those tools away from me. How could you see where you were going, where bands like yours had already played, figure out who would put you up for the night, who you could open for in a new town, or point promoters to your blog reviews as proof positive that you’re the shit! We’d be effed.

Portland seems to be a real hotbed of great music these days. We’ve especially been digging other great PDX acts like Norfolk & Western, Loch Lomond, Horse Feathers, and Norfolk & Western. Who else is out there that you can recommend we check out?

Well I love those guys and gals too, they’re all good friends of ours… Portland is a hotbed! Its the place where everyone’s a rock star and no one’s a rock star. A local band can sell out a 400 person room and Britt Daniel can be in front of you in the checkout line at Fred Meyer. Matt Ward may sit in with the opening band at your show or The Shins might take you on tour for a week (just ask The Shaky Hands!). One look through the credits on a Portland made CD is a clear demonstration of how community oriented this music scene is; everyone plays with everybody and and everyone plays everything (you’ll commonly see credits for cello, viola, violin, saw, theremin, mandolin, dobro, pedal steel, trumpet, trombone, accordion, vibes, etc…) To hear some unknowns and some major up-and-comers I recommend you check out Mbilly, Justin Power, John Vecchiarelli, Laura Gibson, The Shaky Hands, and Musee Mechanique. There are literally dozens of great bands here.

Will your touring plans behind La Lamentor bring you through Wisconsin at all this year?

Yes! I put it on the itinerary yesterday! Where do you recommend we play and who should we let know about the show? I’ll let you know the date, time, etc as soon as its confirmed.

Myspace: Weinland