Menomena :: The AD Interview

Coming off the heels of the much delayed, but well-received, Mines, Meonema's Danny Seim spoke with AD before their recent Los Angeles show. Touching on subjects from the band's rumored and documented tribulations to the pressure from within and the pressure from without, Seim spoke at length on the recording, touring, and all that pesky time in between the two.


Aquarium Drunkard: Can you describe the process of going from a disparate recording process to a live setting? You’re a band that works very differently from others in terms of recording — how do you prepare the material for it live?

Danny Seim: That’s been the bain of my existence for the past two months. It’s hard — we write and record simultaneously — there’s never any moment, until we have to prepare for the tour, where we have any idea how we’re going to pull these songs off. In the past, with the first few records, we had it more in mind that what we recorded we would have to pull off or redo on stage and try not to go to over the top. Plus, we didn’t feel very comfortable during the recording process itself, so we weren’t trying to go crazy with the layers, just keep it simple. We got more carried away, especially because of the uncomfortably of the recording and didn’t think about it at all. It’s a struggle — we added a fourth member to the band, Joe Haege, a dear friend, who is also opening this tour as Tu Fawning. We’ve known him for years and years, he’s one of my favorite singers and guitar players — it was kind of a no brainer to add him to the mix. Adding him helped the transition from the recording to the live thing; it’s an extra pair of hands and vocal chords on stage. Whereas before we were wondering if we’d get to the point where we’d have to play the tracks or do the karaoke thing. I don’t want to do that! Brent (Knopf) and Justin (Harris) are such multitaskers — trying to play bass pedals and sax and keyboards and sing simultaneously, having Joe involved takes away a little of that burden. This is the funny part of the process, we become a live band, we have to try to recreate these sounds, and I think most of the songs are at least recognizable — it’s always the hardest part of the process and also the most fun. After being in isolation with our headphones in front of the computer for years, as it became, to finally actually be playing for people again… it makes us feel validated again, as a band; we’re not just a bunch of studio nerds.

AD: As you alluded to, quite a bit has been made about the rough recording process — talk even of breakups and hostility. Do you feel that bringing this music to a live setting, having to work together, be together in a single instant in a way other than recording, has helped to alleviate that tension?

DS: Oh, totally. Once we get in this little van together, wake up at 8AM, drive six hours, it becomes more of a, to sound dorky, brotherhood kind of vibe where we realize that we’re not the same monsters that destroyed each others masterpieces six months ago. Once this record was finished it was a major sigh of relief, it just took so long. If you’d asked us six months ago when this record was going to come out, we had no idea, we had no deadlines. We didn’t have studio budgets or label pressure — this could have really never gotten finished. Once it was done, we could put that portion of our life behind us and get to know each other again, reconnecting as people who want to make the best live presentation of ourselves possible, which is much more of a communal effort.


Only the good shit. Aquarium Drunkard is powered by its patrons. Keep the servers humming and help us continue doing it by pledging your support.

To continue reading, become a member or log in.