Wednesday, July 1


It's been a while since I've er... blogged. Dunno why. Actually, I suppose I do. I started a new day job and it's pretty intense at the moment. But the lack of communication does not signify inactivity. Far from it! Why just this very day we received the first pass at the mastered tracks for Mantoloking, our soon-to-be-released third studio album produced by Steve Fisk! It's incredibly awesome and I couldn't be more excited about it.

I was explaining to Steph the other day that this album really marks the end of a 12-year journey for me. I can honestly say that this is the first time I've made something that's truly excellent. It's a phenomenal album. The songs are great. The performances are great. The production is great. So much of that is due to Steve. Due, in fact, to one specific thing about Steve: he is uncompromising. He explained exactly what it took to make a great album, in terms of time, effort and approach, and he made it very clear that he had no interest in doing anything that wasn't great. So in effect, he raised our game. When we realized the level of investment in time, money and energy that we were going to put into this thing (and when we saw the level of investment Steve was going to be making and the faith he was putting in us [flying across the country to record a band on the basis of some Youtube clips]), we worked our assess off. Rehearsal after rehearsal after rehearsal, as a band, individually and even in sections. We played tons of shows. We refined the arrangements to the 9s. And I went from having 6, maybe 7 keeper songs to having the complete set of 11 that we recorded. The best songs I've ever written, bar none. In short, we made it happen because we had to. We got it done.

I'm going to write a piece on the story behind the songs: the story of the album as it were. I'm going to try to reconstruct the chronology of what I wrote when, and to the extent I can (to the extent I'm comfortable with), I'll talk about what went into each tune. How they came about. Where they came from. But that's for another night.

For now, I'm writing to label peeps and publicists trying to figure out how we're going to get this thing out there. We're trying to decide what makes the most sense and what's in line with our objectives. This isn't the end of anything, at all. The album being done is a starter pistol going off. The race starts NOW. Now we push and push, in every way we can, for people to hear this thing. We'll work as hard as we can, but more importantly, we have to work smart. We all have jobs and commitments. Chad and I have kids. We're not spring chickens compared to some. But there are advantages to that. We know what we're about, and what we're not, and we have experience to go along with our enthusiasm. You can hear it in the songs, and you're going to see it in the plays we make.

Anyway, I couldn't be more excited. This is a great time for the band. We've made an amazing work of art. It's truly the most immense and impressive thing I've ever been involved with. Everyone played their part perfectly. And soon it'll be time to reveal it to the world. In the meanwhile we'll play some shows, bring back some old tunes and do a whole lot of scheming.

Until next time!

- Jesse Kates / Download Kinda Like Fireworks for FREE