Super American - Sound In The Signals Interview

Photo: Benjamin Lieber

I recently had the opportunity to interview Super American. We discussed the writing and recording process for new album, ‘SUP’, the best part of working together, their favorite part of the process, what fans can expect stylistically, lyrical inspiration, creating the album artwork and releasing it on vinyl via Wax Bodega, and more. Check it out below.

First, thanks for the interview.

pleasure is ours šŸ„¦

Your new album, ‘SUP’ will be out October 22nd. What was the writing and recording process like for the album?

I think we took another step towards honing in on our “sound”. The best part about working together is we get to continuously build on what we’ve already done, whether that’s a process or a theme or a style that “works”…it’s almost like we can resume where our story previously left off. Or we can reject that entirely and do something that contrasts against it. Both are super fun to explore. I think I can speak for both of us when I say writing / demoing process is our favorite.

At the time we were working in what amounts to an oversized closet at Matt’s 3rd floor apartment. The actual recording (Jay Zubricky, GCR audio) was done predominantly during covid 2020 and was not exactly fleetwood-mac-in-the-70s glamorous. Masks were on, no visitors allowed, overall weird vibe in the world at the time. We also tracked most of it months after the initial drum tracks (Sam Checkoway, massachusetts) were taken, which added a unique twist to the process. There was plenty of time to pre-meditate how we would attack it when we got back into the studio.

What can fans expect stylistically?

I’m interested to see how it comes across to those who listen but: I think we’ve tried to mix the raucous energy of punk/ pop-punk with the more rhythmic aspects of hip-hop and sometimes a more melancholy emotional/spiritual meandering. 

What was the easiest song to write on the album and what was the one that took you the longest? Why?

The more I think about it, the bulk of the songs that made the album were pretty much made within a day or two. I find that the longer you fiddle with an idea the more forced it becomes and the less immediate it sounds to the listener. That’s not to say lyrics can’t be tweaked or a bridge can’t be added and what have you. But the gist or majority of the song usually should explode in the first couple tries, and it should feel thrilling or almost scary. At least I think that’s when we have the most success. We ended up doing songs like “butter” and “fuck it!!!!!” in different styles than we originally demoed them. We tend to experiment with things like that over the course of time, when it’s called for, but usually the song is the song. 

“Free Bird” is an awesome song that has a great summer punk anthem kind of feel. Can you tell me about writing that song specifically? What was your lyrical influence?

Matt had much of the idea already fleshed out, which helped. The direct nature of the lyrics and the way he uses words to create images in the listener’s mind set the tone in terms of its intensity and how I felt the song should turn out. The demo was exciting to make because we were definitely trying to harness that energetic, anthemic vibe you speak of. I think the bridge was especially important, trying to make it the emotional peak for the listener both on record and live at a show. The influence that kept conjuring in my mind was the feeling of togetherness, of release, at a small club show or packed basement when the whole crowd is participating.

You’re releasing the album through Wax Bodega. What made you decide to go with them and how does it feel to have the album coming out on vinyl?

We really liked their vision for the label. We wanted to feel a sense of community — but the at the same time the “newness” was intriguing because we want to be a part of building that history. Since we’re a smaller act right now we felt it was best for us to stay flexible and do something short-term / artist friendly. It felt like a good fit for both sides and we felt really comfortable working with them. It goes without saying that Zack, Fred, and everyone at the label are extremely smart, experienced, and passionate about what they do, which is the most important part. It’s been a blessing so far.

The album artwork is really cool. The first 250 vinyl orders will receive a sticker sheet. Who came up with the concept for the artwork and what is the meaning behind it?

We couldn’t exactly put our finger on what we wanted right away. There are so many possibilities when trying to encapsulate a group of songs into one image… so, finding something that feels true and actually executing it can be a tough balance to strike. Eventually we looked inward and ended up compiling a bunch of “icons” or images that made us feel something, or that we felt were significant to our story. Matt and his friend Chuck drew/traced what is the central image on the cover and then a bunch of the scattered icons, one to represent each song on the album. Ben Lieber colored it in and helped us arrange the final product. He ended up finishing the whole vinyl layout to where it is now.

You’ve built up a lot of hype and interest for your band. It feels like this album could be a special one for the scene. What do you think it is about your band that appeals to people and what inspires you about the scene?

Jeez, that would be awesome. I’m not sure exactly what people like about what we do so I won’t speak for anyone else lol. I would be interested to find out! I think, generally speaking, the more transparent songs are, the more they connect with people. Good songwriters are very aware of what they have to offer, and don’t try to dilute it with anything else? We just try to put things out into the world that maybe don’t exist yet or could add value to someone’s life. That could be a simple little bit of joy, or pain, a lesson learned, or any feeling that others might relate to. Sometimes I think a good artist is just giving the audience something they didn’t know they needed, maybe something only they can see based on their specific set of life experiences, skills, passions. I hope that makes sense.

I love to see/ experience what other artists are doing and I guess that’s what I like best about the dynamic of a “scene”. A scene almost provides a context for everyone’s contributions, a social backdrop of sorts in which the music can exist.

Thanks for taking the time to answer the questions. Do you have anything else that you would like to add?

-thank you for your time
-but also, if anyone took the time to read this far, I’m sorry.
-pre order our album SUP on waxbodega.com

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