Q&A with The Narrative: "I Want to Give People the Same Feeling That Music Gives to Me"
Golden Silence, the newest release from The Narrative may have just dropped on December 2nd, but it has been a long time in the making. With four years between the new album and their last EP, the band had plenty of time to carefully craft their new release (even renting a barn in the woods for the writing and recording process), and it has been well worth the wait. With a new year ahead of them, songwriters Jesse Gabriel and Suzie Zeldin are eager to give back to their patient fans, and with plans to release more material more often, we're excited to see what's next!
Interview by Shannon Shumaker
You guys ended 2016 with the release of your new album, Golden Silence. Can you tell us a little bit about the album? Was there anything in particular that inspired it?
Golden Silence may have been released at the end of 2016, but it was a long time in the making. The album is a collection of songs that we started writing not too long after releasing and touring to support our first full length album, and we took a longer time to workshop them sonically than we have with songs in the past. With two songwriters in the band, each song had it's own inspiration, but the collection of songs together touches on everything from personal relationships to our own reflections of the people and the world around us.
It being your first release in four years, what did you want to be able to give your listeners with Golden Silence?
Suzie Zeldin: We wanted to give listeners songs that are influenced by genuine feeling and experiences without conscientiously catering to a common denominator and trying to hit too hard on the idea of mass appeal. The things that we really like about music are the same things that we try and work into our own music: interesting stories, meaningful lyrics, memorable parts or melodies, etc.
Jesse Gabriel: Honestly I just wanted to release the album. I think we had done a disservice to our fans by not getting it out sooner. We put a lot of ourselves into these songs and I hope we put our something that at least feels remotely worth the wait.
I know the creation of the album had quite a few ups and downs, so what would you say was the most important lesson you learned while creating it?
Suzie: The creation of the album was actually one of our favorite experiences. We rented a barn in the woods and tucked ourselves away from all our everyday distractions. I think most of our troubles came once we found ourselves back in the grind of our daily lives - I think we started to overthink things to the point where we were afraid to take any action, and the next thing you know, everything is an obstacle for no real reason. I learned that sometimes when the answer isn't obvious, it's better to try something and see where it takes you, rather than waiting for some epiphany to come along and light the way for you.
Jesse: I think the most important lesson I learned is that releasing music is better than not releasing it. Second most important: making music in a cozy space feels amazing.
What was the most difficult part about the writing and recording process? What was the most rewarding part?
Jesse: On the recording side the most difficult thing was probably just actually finding the time and space to lay everything down that we wanted. We worked with a lot of great musicians, but coordinating all of that was challenging. The most rewarding part for me is always definitely when you first start to feel like "oh, this is a real song now... it makes me feel something and I think other people will experience that too."
Suzie: I think the writing process came pretty naturally, as did the arrangements for this album. There were a handful of songs that we were playing with that didn't end up coming together the way we wanted to, so working through those songs was definitely the most challenging. Maybe we'll release them as B-Sides someday.
How do you feel you’ve grown or evolved with Golden Silence?
Suzie: We were much more attentive to how we were crafting the sound of the song, rather than just communicating the song itself as chords and lyrics. In the past, we've allowed the song to dictate the production, and I think that works well in certain cases, but I think it was much more interesting to spend the time imagining the production earlier on and incorporating new sounds and programmed loops into the writing process.
Jesse: I think with every album we make strides in terms of our song writing prowess, and this is only an exception in that we've probably made bigger strides on this than anything we've done previously. We've started to appreciate a more cohesive approach to forming sounds, and have gotten better at separating the ideas of "what we think is expected of us" and "what we expect of ourselves."
What would you like listeners to be able to take away from the album?
Suzie: I think just a personal connection to the experiences we've had. Even though we're all so different, we have so many similarities and go through so many similar emotions. It's nice to connect with people on such a personal level through a song.
Jesse: With everything I write, I want to give people the same feeling that music gives to me. The inspiration to create, to do, to change. A deep connection with oneself and their emotions, and the power to associate that connection with a story that isn't exactly their own.
With a whole year ahead of you, what is 2017 looking like for The Narrative? Do you have any big goals or plans for this year?
Suzie: Right now, our goals are actually to write more and hopefully spend the year getting in the habit of releasing more material and being a little less quiet and a little less precious about every tiny decision. We've relocated to Nashville so we're enjoying exploring this town and finding our place in the music seen.
Jesse: Yep, I just want to make sure we're writing and recording more frequently.