Every Monday through Friday, we deliver a different song as part our Song of the Day podcast subscription. This podcast features exclusive KEXP in-studio performances, unreleased songs, and recordings from independent artists that our DJs think you should hear. Each and every Friday we offer songs by local artists. Today’s selection, featured on the Afternoon Show with Kevin Cole, is “We Are Lights on the Way Out” by The Animals at Night from their self-released album Cut to Chase, Chorus and Fade.
Graig Markel of The Animals at Night just may be one of the busiest local musicians in the business. Between a complete overhaul of his recording studio, his thriving custom pedal business, and at least two full-time bands, he found the time to release AAN’s third effort (but first proper release according to Markel) along with long-time band mate and multi-instrumentalist Joe Patterson (CMYK). Cut to Chase, Chorus and Fade is a collection of down tempo, synthy compositions that feature a whole host of contributors including Jeremiah Green (Modest Mouse), Larry Knetchel who was one of the original members of The Wrecking Crew (check out this documentary which was a SIFF favorite of mine), along with local musicians like his wife Zera Marvel, Daniel G. Harmann, and Dave & Trent from Head Like a Kite. In fact you may have caught AAN at a Head Like a Kite show as they share not only regular contributors but a penchant for showmanship and creating an exciting party-like atmosphere at their shows that even gets the notoriously anti-boogey audiences in Seattle moving.
I recently caught up with Graig & Joe who took strong stances on everything from self recording to local politics.
What is the story behind “We Are Lights on the Way Out?”
“We Are Lights on the Way Out” is one of the first songs we did for the record. It was also one of the most enjoyable to record, because of the great guests who contributed on it- Zera Marvel, Alexis Robinson, and Jeffrey McCallum, all of whom play with us live from time to time. It was great to work with them in the studio and have them be part of the finished album.
Graig-you’re the brains (and most importantly ears) behind the Recovery Room Studios (who has worked with Band of Horses, Stone Gossard, Arthur & Yu, Tiny Vipers, Head Like a Kite, Dyme Def, etc.) how does being on both sides of the sound board affect your music?
I feel that being a great musician should be more than playing a guitar and singing. I think that becoming familiar with and learning how to use tools for recording is not just a creative advantage, but a required skill to help sculpt your artistic landscape. And that doesn’t necessarily have to be computers- There’s some great old tape recorders out there on craigslist, there’s circuits to be bent, there’s books to be read, and rules to be broken.
The Woodland Park Zoo is talking about shutting down its famed Nocturnal House, as Animals at Night what are your thoughts on that?
We think that sucks. We also think that anyone interested should make a donation to the Woodland Park Zoo and state that it is for saving the Nocturnal House. We also think it’s a shame that in such a great, liberal, artistic city, we can afford brand new sports stadiums and a fleet of new Segways for traffic police but can’t seem to figure out how to keep our zoo and animal shelter open.
You can catch Animals at Night January 15th at The Comet with CMYK (featuring Joe from AAN and Sylvia from Vellela Vellela), the Mayors & Warriors (featuring Trent Moorman), and NRDLNGR. For more info and future dates check out their MySpace page.
In the meantime, here’s some video from their recent CD Release Party at The Crocodile. It’s a live remix of Brent Amaker & the Rodeo’s “Electro Hillbilly”: