Interview || The One with Russ from Good Riddance

Santa Cruz, California veterans Good Riddance recently released their ninth studio album, "Thoughts And Prayers". We had a brief discussion with vocalist Russ Rankin, who detailed the creation of the album and being politically/socially woke in this day and age.

U: What is the preparation process for the band when sitting down and creating a record? Is everything pre-recorded in a pre-production type of fashion or are there maybe some stripped down demo versions of the songs in your deeply personal files?
Russ Rankin: Typically I will write a more or less complete song, and then record it in Logic Pro or Garageband on my computer. Then I will send it to the other guys and see if they like it. If they do, I will refine it and usually work on it more, and then we will rehearse it. There are also a lot of Good Riddance songs where Luke (Pabich, guitar) writes the music, and then I come up with lyrics and vocal melody for them.

U: "Thoughts and Prayers" is a great record. What is new for the band itself on this record and what is different – if anything – than on the previous record specifically?
R.R.: We kept the same approach to the creative process that I described above. Due to our schedules, we didn’t have as much time in the practice room as we would have liked, but we all worked really hard on our own time to get comfortable with the material, and Bill Stevenson (producer/engineer) was great in the studio at keeping us motivated and expedient.

U: What was the inspiration lyrically on "Thoughts and Prayers"?
R.R.: As with most of our stuff, it’s reflecting on the current state of our world, socially, politically, etc. It’s about taking a critical look at where we are, and what, if anything, we can do to improve anything. 

U: How is it working with Bill Stevenson and the entire Blasting Room crew after all these years? Has the band ever thought about making a record with a different producer on any level (tracking, mixing, mastering)? 
R. R.: Since we started with Bill, we have never wanted to work with anybody else. He’s the best! He knows us so well, and he was a major player in the era of music which directly inspires us.

U: What is the process of preparing for the actual recording? How do you approach finding “sounds” for each part of the music (guitars, bass, drums) and what is the general outline of how you wish for each record to sound? How heavily do you weigh in on mixing the record? Do you use any references for example? 
R. R.: We come in with examples of other bands, albums, instruments, that we all like. We typically study our last release, and talk about the things we really like about it, as well as opportunities to improve things. Sometimes we don’t all agree, other times we do. Bill is a huge resource for this stage of production. We generally all defer to him. 

U: What is different in the punk/hardcore landscape between the two periods when Good Riddance went on hiatus? Have you noticed any changes for better or for worse in addressing politics and social issues within the scene from bands, promoters and fans?  - What live show - and for what reason - has impressed you recently? 
R. R.: I think there are still plenty of bands, and fans, who care deeply about social and political issues, and the music remains a direct source of inspiration for them. I always think punk and hardcore has a massive ability, though as yet largely unrealized, to affect social change. 

U: When touring with a new record in the bag, what goes into preparing the playlist? Do you change things slightly or heavily from night to night? Do you take any requests?
R. R.: Given how little time each of us has these days to devote to music, we usually come up with a set list a few weeks out from tour. We all chime in on suggestions or changes, and then we each rehearse on our own. If we’re lucky, we can sneak a full band rehearsal in a few times before the tour starts. We also see how the set is flowing after a few shows, which songs are going over better than others, and then we can bring a new song in, practice it at sound checks, etc.

U: Good Riddance is one of few punk/hardcore bands which openly and practically support socially aware groups of many kinds, with parts of proceeds of each released record being donated to such groups. What goes into selecting each group and how do you think the punk/hardcore scene in general – given its theoretical “popularity” in recent years – has handled addressing and openly supporting social and political issues?
R. R.: I remain convinced that punk and hardcore music has a tremendous capacity to affect social change, it just depends on how willing people are to take that approach. For many people, this music is merely entertainment, a release. It would take an as yet unseen confluence of people from all genres, disparate groups and factions, coming together to press a collective set of demands. 

U: How much positive change can come on any scale for bands and their members addressing these issues given their platforms of communication?
R. R.: I think the possibilities are endless. I think that the required amount of organization and unification are, unfortunately counter to the way most people operate. 

U: Good Riddance has done an array of great split seven inches with other bands. Any plans on collaborating with another band for that purpose? Any band of the past or present you would love to have worked with or would love to make a split record now? 
R. R.: We have no plans currently to do this. I would love to do something with Iron Chic or The Menzingers, two current bands I really like.

Share on Google Plus

0 σχόλια :

Post a Comment