Drift Division - Sound In The Signals Interview

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Your new EP for DriftDivision came out this week and people really seem to like it. You talk about on your site the time you spent on this EP. How does it feel finally having the project out and what all went into recording this EP and writing it to finally get it out?

Andrew Jordan: It's a great accomplishment. But, its two faced. In the years that followed Matchbook Romance's breakup, I just kept compiling more and more songs. I wasn't sure I wanted to release more music at any given point in the future. So I kind of struggled with that for a long time. Now that I finally pulled the trigger, I'm pumped, but I'm juggling all it takes to release something on your own. That's the other half of the battle.

You chose to release the new EP independently and kind of put it in the fans hand to help you succeed. Why did you decide to go the DIY route? A lot of artists seem to be doing this lately. Do you feel like labels are kind of becoming more irrelevant these days?

I think it really depends on the band. For years I had worked to create a fan base for MR. I just figured that there was a good possibility that those fans might back another album of mine. If you can get your record to float, there's a lot more to offer on the indie side of things. When bands that are on labels sell records in stores, you've got to pay the store, your distributor, your label, and you hope you've cleared your red balance with your label by that point because if you haven't, your not really going to see any of that sale. In releasing it independently, I'm in control of everything and I'm face to face with my fans. When I sell a record for $5, I pretty much get $5. It beats the hell out of a label. At that rate, I could sell 10% of what a label could do for me and get quite a return on my investment. Thats how it should be for an artist. In terms of the future of labels, they'll probably keep it together. Bands will always be enamored with the idea of signing to a label. No matter how shitty the deal is. So I think that will keep the labels in business for a long time. Labels will just need to downsize and control their spending. You don't have to spend a million dollars to make a record.

This is your first official release since Matchbook Romance. There are some similarities and some differences. What would you say sets this apart from your past work and what are some new things you tried in the studio that you didn’t have the chance to try with Matchbook Romance?

In Matchbook I was always experimenting with my songs. Its just what I do. So I'm still doing the same thing really. You can hear that on the new record. I really tried to strip the music down to allow for more space and ambiance whereas MR was an onslaught of sound with lots going on. I experimented with synth, and delays on this record to fill those spaces. I also brought back the guy who did Cello on VOICES' "Goody Like Two Shoes". Phil is sick! I've always envisioned releasing a record laden with strings but never had the chance to with MR for whatever reason. This time I went for it. This time I also feel I've really honed in my songwriting skills. I think the songs are stronger than VOICES. They're really beautiful.

The track “Hush” off the new EP really stands out to me and I really think vocally it’s one of your best performances to date. I’ve heard a lot of comments about how your vocals on the Drift Division EP are really impressive. As a vocalist how are you constantly improving? Also what is your favorite track off the EP and why?

Well that's amazing! Thank you! I'm so self-conscious about my voice. It's such a challenging instrument and I think as I'm getting older I'm gaining more control over it. The newer songs allow me to not have to yell. MR's Stories & Alibis was written damn near out of my range. Not intentionally. But because of it, it forced me to yell my way through it. A lot of kids liked it, but a couple years into touring on that record I really damaged my throat and could hardly talk. After a doctor shoved a tube up my nose and took a look at my vocal chords I knew I had to figure out a better way to hit those notes. Since then I've just really focused on it. VOICES was better, but DriftDivision is a better look at where its headed.

This is basically your solo project, but it very much has a full band sound. Who all played on the album and what kind of input did the studio musicians have on the EP?

Yes it does have a full band sound. That was my intention. I envisioned basically collaborating with different artists to make the music. After that I would create the lyrics and shape the overall song. Ryan Kienle(MR bassist) and I continued to jam after MR broke up. We kept stumbling across these amazing songs and just went with it. We kick ass when we write together. In-between working with Ryan I was writing on my own. So some songs are just me. Eventually we brought in Justin Meyer who is a local drummer in NY. He knows how to sit back in the mix and allow that space to exist. So he was perfect for what we were doing. After that, Amanda Rogers, singer-songwriter dropped in and laid some piano on The End. She is awesome! It was a challenge to put it all together. I was living in PA while everyone else was in NY. So to do anything someone had to drive 3 hours. It was exhausting.

The artwork for the EP is interesting. I was wondering if you could explain it a bit and let our readers know why you chose it to represent your first release?

My brother-in-law, Nathan Miner, is this amazing sculpter/painter based out of Boston. He showed me some of his work a while back and I loved them. He paints these super huge pieces that make you feel like your falling, floating, or being sucked into a black hole... haha! He basically takes photos of simple patterns around us, and extracts the lines that make the movement. Then he messes with it, and paints it. The album cover is actually a landing strip. You can see all the tire marks of where the plane's landed. It gives you this feeling like you're being sucked into it. A departure? An arrival? I thought it was appropriate.

Matchbook Romance were a part of the new Epitaph along with bands like The Matches and From First To Last. Those bands as well as Matchbook Romance released albums that people are still really connected to. What do you think has made the Matchbook Romance albums stay so relevant years after their release and are you surprised people still hold those albums so dear to their heart?

I am surprised actually. It's rewarding. We poured our hearts into those records and so did the other bands. I'm happy to see that it has left some sort of mark on the world. I will continue to write those records, so hopefully people will continue to hold my work up there with the rest.

I’m not sure where you stand on this but I know everyone is always interested to know. At this point do you ever see Matchbook Romance getting back together and recording anything else or is that chapter of your life over?

To do that would probably be pretty impossible. I think everyone's kind of got their own thing going on. I'm not opposed to it. Its crossed my mind before. Maybe it could happen... we'll see. The problem is that with all the time that has gone by, fans might not be pumped on the outcome. Everyone will have evolved as an artist so much by that point that I would be afraid of fans being turned off.

What is one thing you haven’t accomplished, but always wanted too, as a musician?

I always wanted to get one of songs on a football game and it happened on Madden 07'. I was pumped! Then we scored Guitar Hero III. I was even more pumped! Now I think I would like to have my songs in a movie. Some really dramatic scene. That would do it for me.

I guess that about wraps it up. Thanks for taking the time to answer the questions. Do you have any closing comments you’d like to make?

Thank you for the interview and feature. For the people out there reading this, please check out http://driftdivision.bandcamp.com to hear the new record. If you enjoy a song, please purchase one. Its the only way us indies can keep making music. Thanks!!

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