Chris Forsyth :: The Aquarium Drunkard Interview

Chris Forsyth & The Solar Motel Band’s new double album, The Rarity of Experience, is out Friday via the increasingly trustworthy No Quarter Records. No surprise from Forsyth at this point: it’s a fantastic record, and to boot, his most daring yet. We recently caught up with the Philadelphia man to discuss the album, the deviation in tone between the two discs, his many musical influences and what, in fact, 'the rarity of experience' means.

Chris Forsyth & The Solar Motel Band :: The First Ten Minutes of Cocksucker Blues

Aquarium Drunkard: Your new record very much feels like one of two halves. The first half being inhabited by crunchier, straightforward rock songs, and the second slipping into a much slower, vibier tone. They’re even marked by different album covers and technically different titles (The Rarity of Experience I and II, respectively). What inspired this shift in direction halfway through, or sort-of double album approach, and what does it mean to you musically?

Chris Forsyth: Well, I didn’t want to make the same record again, and the last couple records [Solar Motel and Intensity Ghost] were pretty distinct from each other. Solar Motel was the album that spawned the band and then that band recorded Intensity Ghost. So, the thought of going into another recording was that I want to keep moving and keep changing and also keep challenging the band. So, I spoke to Mike Quinn, who runs No Quarter, and we talked about shooting for a double record, just trying to do something bigger. And we thought maybe we could do some stuff that’s a little more experimental. And through the course of recording we kept going back and forth, saying, “Maybe we should boil it down” and “No, let’s go big,” but eventually I sat down to listen to all the material and I called up Mike and was like, “Uh-oh, we didn’t make one record, we made two separate albums.” And so I was having a bit of an artistic freak-out but Mike said, “Oh, well, perfect, we’ll just put both out at the same time.” And that made sense to me; it’s like the first two Syd Barrett records. And, ultimately, I do think it hangs together as a piece. There’s definitely not one long whole vibe, it definitely has these distinct parts, but it holds together.

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