Thursday, March 13, 2014

Riffy Rendezvous

Photo by Ed Battes
After their first album careened onto the scene last year, Cleveland rockers So Long, Albatross are finally working on new things, bringing their riffy stoner rock sound out of the basement and into a professional recording studio, literally. But before they start work on their latest album, they’ll be taking the stage at the Beachland Ballroom and Tavern for Cellar Door Rendezvous, along with label-mates Seafair, Ohio Sky and The Commonwealth. The two-day get-together (March 14-15) will feature 17 other bands, with full access passes going for $20.

This will be So Long, Albatross' first appearance in the big room together, though they’ve all played there at one point or another in different bands. “We’ve played the tavern quite a few times in the last couple of years and it’s always fun,” says vocalist and guitarist Keith Vance. “But it’s just cool to do something else.”

We spoke to Vance about the finer points of writing lyrics and what's on the horizon for the Cleveland-based trio.

CM: What was the recording process for your first album like, and where do you want to go next?

KV: Well, we’ve written a bunch of songs recently. We’ve taken a break from playing shows, since we played a bunch after the first album. We’ll be working with Jim Stewart, who’s one of the sponsors for the show, and is a really great guy. He’s worked with a bunch of people I know and everyone has awesome things to say about him.

CM: Though you started out as three-person group have you thought about adding a fourth?

KV: The three of us have been playing together for so long now. The drummer and I especially have been playing in bands since we were 14, so 16 years ago. ... It’s hard enough for the three of us to get together, let alone another person. We’re just so locked into each other, we know what we’re going to do before we do it, and to add somebody new would be difficult.

CM: Lyrically, where do you want to take things?

KV: That’s something that’s probably my biggest struggle. The music comes really easy to us, generally, and the lyrics get filled in in the end. I want to get a little bit better at trying to tell a story or get my point across in ways that aren’t so vague. Sometimes I feel like I’m a little vague or cryptic and I don’t mean to be. I want to get a little more open, maybe a little bit more vulnerable with some of the things that I write.

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