Pete Yorn, who will be kicking off his latest tour this Valentine's Day at the Marquee Theatre along with Ben Kweller, also talked about his latest self-titled record, working with the Pixies Frank Black as producer of the album and we also got his thoughts on the 10th anniversary of his debut musicforthemorningafter.
Up On The Sun: This new record is a lot more rock 'n roll than your previous efforts. What was your inspiration to do a heavier record than before?
Pete Yorn: I just needed to get it out of my system, I think. If I go back and listen to my other records there is definitely rock moments on all of them, just not as consistently throughout I think. It wasn't like I went into it thinking it was going to be a big rock record or anything like that, it's just kind of the way it unfolded as we got into the studio and started tracking stuff. There's just kind of an energy to it that has forward propulsive energy that makes me feel good. I had made a couple somber records so I just needed to cut loose from that a bit. Looking back on it it feels that was what I needed to do.
UOTS: Frank Black of the Pixies produced this record. How did you get hooked up with Frank and what was it like working with him?
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PY: It was a mutual friend, [Frank] wasn't really on my radar to work with or anything like that, the opportunity just kind of fell into my lap, it's just one of those things like "oh my god, I've got to see this through." This girl that I ran into, I hadn't seen her in like eight years, she use to be one of my A&R people at Columbia Records, back on my first album and then she left the company, but we bumped into each other and she suggested it and I was like that would be an interesting experiment. And then I kind of forgot about it and a couple of weeks later I got an e-mail from Frank saying, "hey man, we should hook up and record some music." And it was just something that as an artist I knew I had to do. I went in with no expectations, I didn't know what would've come of it. It totally could've sucked, we could've hated each other, but we ended up clicking and getting along and made something I enjoy and that I enjoy playing live.
Pete Yorn and Scarlett Johansson performing the song "Relator" off of their album Break Up:
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UOTS: The song "Paradise Cove" appears on this record and it also appears on your previous release Back & Fourth. What is it about that song that made you want to do a second take of it?
PY: The version on this record is the original version, this record was made before Back & Fourth, and when I just finished working with Frank, when I went to Omaha to start working on Back & Fourth I was all excited about the record and I spoke with Mike Mogis, who produced Back & Fourth, and I was like check out some of this stuff I did with Frank Black and I played him "Paradise Cove" and he loved the song so much. He was like, "aw man, we gotta record that here." He totally broke me down and before I knew it we had another version of it and I didn't mind it because it felt really different. It was almost a different exploration on the same themes. To me the song is about this constant chronic dissatisfaction within culture today with people who always want more, they need more, and they think they want one thing and they get it and they want more and they want something else. I've seen it in myself, I've seen it in my friends, I see it in people around me. It's something as we as humans fight against so I thought it was kind of a big theme, looking back at it that's not why we recorded it twice but I think Mike just liked the song and wanted to hit it again.
UOTS: It's the 10 year anniversary of your debut album musicforthemorningafter, and you're planning on releasing an anniversary edition of the record and playing the album in full at a couple of upcoming gigs. What are your thoughts when looking back on that album?
PY: For me I feel like I was just all in my muse, I was just making music that I love, which is something that I always try to do, but, you know things get in the way sometimes. I hooked up with a great partner, Walt [Vincent] who produced it with me. It was tons of effort, looking back on it we worked really hard on it but it was almost effortless in that it was just fun, it was like two kids in a mad scientist's studio just experimenting with different things. We didn't have much to work with, we were just working in Walt's garage on some of the computers that he had and just making due with what we had and being creative with that stuff. Just a really fun time and then to get success for that and we had opportunities once we got signed about half way through making the record I got signed to Columbia we had this opportunity to go work with all this producers and go record in a big studio and do it all that way and we just liked what we were doing. We were willing to stick to our guns on that. That was hard because for the longest time the label they liked the music but they didn't know what do with it. It wasn't until a year later when they decided to put it out and they started sending it out people really started responding favorably to it that they got really behind it.