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An interview with Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin

January 31, 2010

Friday night, after yet another rousing performance at the Courtyard Café in Champaign, Ill. Phil Dickey, drummer, guitarist and singer for SSLYBY, was nice enough to sit down for a few good minutes with Skinny Ankles’ Chris Davies.

The interview covered the album the band has been working on for the past few months, offering some good insight as to what fans can expect from their third full length album. The full interview can be read after the jump, but for those impatient souls who want to hear some new material right away enjoy this live footage of a brand new song, “All Hail Dracula.”

CD: I want to talk about the new album. You recorded with Chris Walla (Death Cab for Cutie [guitarist], The Decemberists, The Thermals), did you spend time at his studio in the Pacific Northwest?

PD: Yeah, but we actually started out in Madison, Wisconsin at this studio called Smart Studios. Which is amazing for us, we don’t know too much about recording studios – we’re not studio nerds, but we all heard of Smart because Nirvana, the Smashing Pumpkins and a lot of awesome bands have recorded there. So we kind of knew the history, and when Chris said he wanted to meet us there it was awesome. The sad thing is that Smart is closing now. It’s really depressing because it’s such a nice place with nice people. But we started there and tracked for three weeks then went home and took a break, then went to Chris’s house in Oregon, his home studio there. That was awesome because our first two [albums] are recorded at a house. At his house we were recording in a bedroom. I think that gave us the best of both worlds. You know, nice studio recording and a nice bedroom recording.

CD: Was it intimidating working with Chris Walla? He’s been a part of some amazing projects like Transatlanticism.

PD: Yeah, well, he was so nice. I don’t know. The main thing is that we were really nervous going in to it. We didn’t know what it was going to be like. We had dreams that he would say, ‘Okay, we’re going to do this guitar part,’ and I would play and he would realize that I suck at guitar. But he was so nice and it made is so easy. It was really one of the funnest things we’ve ever done, ever. I’m so happy we got to do it with him. It’s the greatest thing that has ever happened to our band. We just hope everyone will like it, and I think everyone will.

CD: You said that you were about 92 percent done with the album?

PD: Yeah, but that’s weird because last night [John] said we were about 87 percent done. So, probably 90 percent is where we’re at. [Laughs]

CD: Is there still instrumentation to be done or does it just need mastering?

PD: When we got back home to Springfield we did some overdubs. We’ve been working on it for so long, since September, so it’s like scary to say we’re done…but we might be, you know? Basically, it’s getting mixed on February 18th no matter what. Then we’ll get it finalized as soon as we can and put it out and go on tour and all that stuff.

CD: Do you have a tentative release date?

PD: I wish I did. Sometime this year, I promise. That I can make sure of.

CD: How many tracks will be on the album?

PD: Over ten…thirteen. That’s my guess, thirteen.

CD: Thirteen will be the final number then?

PD: Yeah, unless for some reason everybody decides they hate a song, which could happen. [Laughs] But I think it’s going to be thirteen. We probably have some extras songs as bonus if you buy it instead of steal it. [Laughs] I’m kidding, I’m kidding, you can do whatever you want.

CD: Any of the songs that came out just after Pershing like “Same Speed” or “Cardinal Rules” going to be on this album?

PD: No. “Same Speed” got kind of close but we just didn’t play it while we were there. We had talked about it. Those are just kind of fun songs that happened. I worked for the Cardinals, I was a janitor for them one summer, and I’ve loved baseball since I was kid, actually I wanted to be a baseball player but I sucked. This is [a combination of] two things that I love, and it was fun. But I’m afraid some people think that it’s embarrassing that we wrote a song about baseball, [Laughs] whatever.

CD: What is the impression that you are getting from this album? Is it going to be a lot different or have that same Boris Yeltsin?

PD: I was thinking about that while we were driving here today and I finally could put it in to words, but now I can’t remember…I think I remember. It’s an album that people who’ve liked us since Broom can play for anyone. We wanted to make an album that you could play for anyone, but that people who are more picky and want something more personal, or whatever, it will make more sense to them. If that makes sense. For everyone, but it makes sense to the good people who read blogs and stuff.

CD: You always have a good mix of slower and faster songs. For each “Oregon Girl” there is a “House Fire” and so on. Is the new album going to be constructed in the same fashion?

PD: Sometimes. I think we kind of lost the plot on that. We have more fast songs now. There is a song that I think is the prettiest song Will [Knauer, guitarist] has ever written, and he writes a lot of pretty stuff. We’ve been playing it since he was like sixteen. It will come back every few months but we’ve never figured it out until this one day at the studio. Will had mono and could only work for a few hours each day. One morning he was playing guitar and I was playing piano and we didn’t even know anyone was there, like Chris or anyone. Chris came in, pushed record and played drums on it and it’s on the album. It’s really pretty, I think it’s the prettiest thing we’ve ever done…I hope.

CD: What’s that song called?

PD: That’s a song that, to be honest, we’re kind of debating on what to call it. It’s been called this one thing since we were sixteen and that title doesn’t really match what it sounds like.

A special thanks to Phil Dickey for entertaining my questions, he was extremely kind and gracious during the interview. Come back later this week for another video from SSLYBY’s set on Friday night.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. SarahW permalink
    February 2, 2010 3:53 am

    A big thumbs up on this interview. Thanks for asking such great questions!

    • Chris Davies permalink*
      February 2, 2010 12:55 pm

      Thanks for the kind words Sarah.

  2. February 6, 2010 2:36 pm

    I second SarahW’s comment, Chris. I’m a big SSLYBY fan, and this interview was great, I’m really ready for the album now!

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