Emo veterans Time Spent Driving are back with their first album in eight years, Passed & Presence, released just last month on Cardigan Records. For the group, there wasn't really one defining moment to get back together or start writing music together again - it's something that just comes natural. Passed & Presence is the product of just that - an album that has been nearly a decade in the making, but doesn't sound out of place.
Interview by Dom Vigil
Passed & Presence marks your first full-length in eight years, so I’m sure it’s safe to say that you’re excited for people to finally hear it and have it?
You bet! It feels really good to finally get it out there after putting so much time and energy into it. We would have loved to have it out sooner but one thing led to another and the timing just wasn’t right until now.
When did the decision come to start writing and releasing new music?
I’ve always been writing, and I’ve still got plenty of material in my back pocket that we haven’t even been able to touch. So there was no decision in that respect, it’s just something that I feel like I have to do to feel like myself. But as far as getting Time Spent Driving back together—if I’m naturally writing that kind of music, it just makes sense to be with this band. There’s a certain energy between myself and the other members that makes it what it is, and we’d like to keep on doing it when we can and while we can. When Gentlemen of Japan was fizzling, it just made sense to direct focus back to this instead of starting from scratch on something new. If I have my way we’ll keep playing for years to come.
Were there any goals in mind for Passed & Presence when you began the writing process? Was there anything you really wanted to accomplish with these songs?
There were no premeditated goals, but one thing I didn’t want to do is be up at the microphone the whole time. I wanted to be okay with more music, more time to breath, more time to build. We may have gone a little overboard with that though because there are several songs on the record that are at least 5-6 minutes long! I used to try to cram more into a shorter song, but I guess I’m more patient than I used to be with that kind of thing. What’s the hurry? I will say though that on the next record we may do all short songs as a contrast—you never know!
Is there anything that you’d really like listeners to be able to take away from Passed & Presence?
Nothing specific, but one thing we’ve heard quite a bit since we’ve been getting it out there is stuff like “music doesn’t sound like this anymore” and that it’s “refreshing” and “honest.” I guess if people could come away with a feeling in that direction, that’d be good by me. I of course don’t expect everyone to like it, but if they can recognize it’s coming from a raw and real place regardless, that’d be cool.
The first song you released from Passed & Presence was “Skin And Knees” - can you tell us a little bit about this track? What made you choose it as the first song for listeners to hear from the new album?
It’s actually “Skins And Knees” - there was a typo. I wrote the bones of that song years ago, probably after or around the time we released “I’m Your Stab in the Back” in 2007. It was laying around as a rough writing demo for quite a while, and once we got the band back going again I decided to dust it off and fix it up. I ended up finishing/rewriting some of the lyrics, and working out new details with the rest of the band. Our drummer Kem laid down a cool piano part over the chorus that he more or less came up with in the studio which added a lot to it. We didn’t actually choose that as the first song—we let Cardigan Records handle that. A tooth can’t bite itself, so I just let them do their thing and went with it. It was an interesting choice though because I think there are some things about it that might sound out of character for listeners familiar with the band. It’s not often we have straight forward open chords so bare and up front on an acoustic guitar like that—and it’s overall a lot more poppy than most of our stuff.
Passed & Presence also marks your first release with Cardigan Records - how has that experience been so far?
We love it so far. We feel very fortunate to have hooked up with them, and to be working with people that are fully supportive of the band and the music. They’re super on top of it over there!
Now that the album is out, do you have any other big plans for 2015? Any touring plans?
No but sounds like I should because it’s a recurring theme in all interviews come to find out! Our plan is to put together some shows and get out there as much as we can, but we don’t have any major touring plans at this time. We’re not ruling anything out though.
Thanks for taking the time to chat with us! Is there anything else you’d like to add?
That’s about it! If anyone wants to keep up to date, just make sure to join all of our spam buckets (facebook, instagram, twitter, etc) and we’ll make sure you’re in the know. Thanks!