Mark: There are a lot of Patrick’s involved with your band, do a lot of people get them mixed up?
Alaina: (laughs) Our producer goes by Carney, my husband goes by Rick and our drummer goes by Patrick.
M: Patrick Carney, the legendary drummer for the four-time Grammy award winning Black Keys helped produce your new album, “Ritual In Repeat.” How did Carney get involved with the project?
A: We knew Carney through a mutual friend at Fat Possum Records. The Black Keys recorded with the label earlier in their career. To our great surprise, Carney was game and receptive to helping us with the project.
M: What was it like to work with Carney on the your new album?
We’ve known Carney for a long time, we have a long term, substantial relationship. He’s an incredible producer with great instincts. I can bring a song to him with potential and he knows how to bring all the elements together into completion. He also helps me to look at my own work more objectively.
M: Was working with Jim Eno (drummer, Spoon), and Richard Swift (keyboardist, The Shins) dramatically different from working with Carney?
A: Each person was unique unto themselves, we sought out each of these incredibly talented individuals. There was a lot of overlap-like Carney, Eno and Swift brought an objective lens with which to examine my own songs. In addition, each brought all their years of experience, no influence was diametrically opposed.
M: What is your relationship with the Living Vintage fashion blog? You were featured in a post “Bad Girls: the girls of Tennis”.
A: Whoever curated the blog decided to feature us,we didn’t know about it until one of our fans re-tweeted it. It was really sweet, I’m flattered.
M: You mentioned on your Twitter there was an article published recently in a woman’s magazine, “26 Boots you have to have for fall.”
A: 26 must-have boots- that article shows everything that is wrong with humanity. I love fashion and boots immensely. Yet it is ridiculous to assert women need that many pairs of boots. Fashion is an extremely high form of art. Might as well be functional and beautiful. Absurd “fast-fashion” trends are an extremely terrible development. They’re bad for women psychologically and dilute one’s taste from buying footwear that are works of art in which you can invest in. People are unwilling to invest in one pair of boots because they are quickly perceived as archaic. We need to start being more responsible and think about the greater impact of our consumption.
M: You mentioned on your Twitter that your tour “was sponsored by Dayquil.” Were you sick?
A: We experienced the dreaded thing-getting ill on the road.
M: What was the hardest part of touring?
A: The most challenging aspect-the schedule of the sleepless nights, packing up and getting to the hotel at 1am or 2am, waking up at 8am, doing radio shows in the mornings, then sound-check. Weeks and weeks of not enough sleep to heal coupled with insane physical demands. By the end of the tour, I had lost most of my voice.
M: What is most rewarding about touring?
A: I love being with my band-mates and seeing how my songs connected with people.
M: Where do you most like to listen to music?
A: Richard Swift has an amazing studio where he uses monitors for playback. I love listening there. It shows it is not necessary to have a super ostentatious listening space with the most expensive things.
M: What was one of your most memorable listening experiences?
A: Jim Eno played some stuff for us-we listened to Radiohead like we’ve never heard before-instruments and parts.
M: People don’t seem to value quality playback gear today or are unwilling to shell out for it. Any thoughts?
A: Consumers are listening to degraded digital versions of most music. My parents listen via Bluetooth on a battery operated speaker the size of a fist. You are not supposed to hear it like that!
M: How do you make your recordings sound so good?
A: We record digitally without viewing it as punching in, we conceive of it as we were recording to tape. Then we use tape pre-amps to give it that warmth.
M: Do you have any experience with tape?
A: We like to demo and have recorded some things to tape. We aren’t precious about it. We are pragmatic in our approach to recording.
M: Pure Bathing Culture performed with you on your tour. How did you get linked up with them?
A: Pure Bathing Culture record with Richard Swift. Our sound engineer is good friends, there’s a shared community. We are so lucky to have them. We are all in this together to develop support and intimacy.