Debt Neglector - Sound In The Signals Interview

I recently had the opportunity to interview Alex Goldfarb of Debt Neglector. We discussed the unique experience of recording their new album, ‘Dirty Water’, themes behind the album, lyrical inspiration, what he hopes listeners take away from the album, a favorite musical moment from “Nothing Works”, why they are donating a portion of the profits to Flint Kids Fund and Sylvester Broome Empowerment Village, and more. Check it out below.

First, thanks for the interview.

Absolutely! Thanks for wanting to write about us! 

Your album ‘Dirty Water’ comes out November 5th. What was the studio experience and recording process like for the album?

It was probably the most unique recording experience I've ever had. We were scheduled to record in April of 2020, but COVID was raging and the lockdowns went into place in Florida so we quit practicing for a while and put everything on hold. Then as things got a little bit better we started cautiously playing again and rebooked our studio time. Honestly, it feels like a blessing that it was delayed. In those months in between I ended up writing some of my favorite songs on the record that wouldn't have been there if we recorded it in April. It also really let us take our time to fine tune things a bit. It didn't feel like there was a real deadline because there were no shows happening, and we weren't sure how long it was going to take for things to get back to semi-normal. 

This really helped us to not rush things. We got all the drums and bass done in a day, but other than that we really dragged out the process over the course of a couple months. We'd just stop in the studio after work for a few hours and track some things on guitar or vocals. It also let us try some things we might not have under normal circumstances like the acoustic version of "Least I Could Do" which ended up on the Bad Faith EP. And it gave us the opportunity to do some stuff with extra percussion, organ, and horns which we had never really tried before. 

What are some of the themes that you explore on the new album? 

I always have political things to say in my songs. There's just so much going on in this country right now that is infuriating like wealth inequality, our refusal to do anything about global warming, and how our two party system just feels kinda broken. But there's a lot of personal themes too. I delve a bit into my depression and how therapy really helped me, how my anxiety keeps me up at night, I talk about the loss of a pet, and I also wrote a song about dealing with my mom's Parkinson's diagnosis and how difficult it was for both of us to come to terms with it. I tried to be more open about my personal life than I ever had before which is admittedly a little bit scary! It's easy to say f*ck the government (which I often do because of all the blatant corruption), but it's hard to look at yourself under a microscope and bare your flaws and insecurities to the world. 

What do you hope listeners get or take away from the album when they hear it?

I'd like people to think the songs are cool! I'd also hope that people who may be struggling with some of the mental health issues I've experienced find some inspiration in how therapy helped me get my life heading in a better direction. And I guess I'd hope that people who are feeling angry, or have experienced a loss, or are having a hard time can see that they're not alone out there. 

Do you have a favorite lyrical or musical moment from the album?

There's this song "Nothing Works" that our guitar player Pfister wrote. It's got the weirdest Stephen Egerton/Greg Ginn solo after the bridge and then it drops into just drums and bass and gets real quiet and small sounding, and then kicks right back up into the last chorus. I just think it's arranged really well musically and is super interesting. I feel like he approaches music from a different, more technical and theoretical place than me. That's why I always find his songs to be some of my favorites. 

You’re donating a portion of the profits to Flint Kids Fund and Sylvester Broome Empowerment Village. Can you tell me more about that?

Yeah, so the album is called "Dirty Water" and one of the songs is also called "Dirty Water." The song is about the Flint Water Crisis. For those that don't know, the city of Flint, Michigan switched water sources at some point and the pipes they switched to were contaminated with lead and other cancer (and other disease causing) elements. The city leadership found out about it and basically tried to cover things up instead of immediately fixing things. So the population there are dealing with tons of health problems as a result and there is a serious distrust built up for the government in that community. 

The two organizations we picked are helping some of the children in Flint who were affected and doing some amazing work. I grew up in a punk scene in Orlando that did Food Not Bombs and were always having benefit shows for different organizations. I've always loved the idea of using music to spread important messages and raise money for good causes. So we try to keep an element of that in most things we do. 

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

I'd just like to say thanks for reading and hopefully you give the album a listen! We worked really hard on it and are really proud. The layout that Eric Baskauskas (Wall of Youth) did on the vinyl is really incredible too so if you like it maybe buy a copy of the record for your vinyl collection! 

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