Monday, October 22, 2007
Getting dumped ain't half bad when you can get in the car and listen to The Fairer Sex on your way out of town. Headed up by the songwriting duo of Zack Hart and David Wetzel, the Lawrence band dwells in the same summery stratosphere as Belle and Sebastian, The Lucksmiths and The Old 97s. Songs built on acoustic guitars and keen lyrics take on richer hues in the group's home studio, where the group cut most of its new record "Two Can Win." Released via Cincinnati's Ionik Recordings, the album will be toasted Oct. 24 at the Eighth Street Tap Room. Hart (and guitarist Tim Schapker) visited our podcast studio to share primo cuts from "Two Can Win" and uncover The Fairer Sex.
Getting dumped ain't half bad when you can get in the car and listen to The Fairer Sex on your way out of town. Headed up by the songwriting duo of Zack Hart and David Wetzel, the Lawrence band dwells in the same summery stratosphere as Belle and Sebastian, The ...
lawrence.com: Your new record came out the same week as Radiohead's "In Rainbows," so you have some work to do.
Zack: Yeah, that's the phrase we're tossing around.
It's a five-piece group, right?
Zack: It is. We also have David Wetzel who plays keyboards and sings. Ed Epps played the drums and Charlie Naramore plays bass. Ed is actually in the Peace Corps now, so we have a new drummer.
Tell us a bit about making this record.
Zack: It started out with a bunch of songs that Dave and I had been playing around with, and we made an EP for our friends. We sent it to some labels just kind of for the fun of it, and we got a response from Ionik so we decided to go ahead and make a CD. We went to Black Lodge and recorded drums there with Nick Day and did a lot of recording at home too. It took about a year and a half, and here we have it.
Where is Ionik Recordings?
Zack: They're from Cincinnati.
Are there any other bands that we might know of on the label?
Zack: Ooh, I don't know, um:
You didn't really look into it?
Zack: We just kind of took whoever would take us.
Turns out they have Creed on their label. Just kidding. So Zack you've been performing for awhile now. Before the band started you played a lot on Wednesdays at the Jazzhaus open mics. Is that kind of where you found your footing as a songwriter?
Zack: I was writing songs for about seven or eight months before I ever did anything live. It took awhile to get the confidence up to go in front of people and sing. I've been doing the solo open mics for a couple years and I've done a few solo shows, but mostly it's been with the band.
Do you guys like The Lucksmiths?
Zack: Yeah, I do actually, a lot : There's definitely a conscious effort on my part to channel bands that I like.
What are some other bands that really do it for you?
Zack: Oh, Old 97s. That's about it, I'd say.
You must like the Old 97s, because there are three female names in the song titles ("Nadine," "Penny" and "Isabelle Flowers"). Do you use the real names of the girls you're writing about?
Zack: I will not reveal that. Uh, no, I don't.
Did the process of making this record help the band come together?
Zack: That's pretty much the only time we've all been together.
What are plans now that you got this record out?
Zack: We'll definitely be playing in Lawrence more and we'll try to play in Kansas City. We played in Nebraska once, with mixed results. We went up to play a bar in Omaha and this guy claimed that he came from Chicago to see us, and we knew that wasn't true. He said, "I'll tell you what if you play early so I can go to bed, I'll pay you $500." We still didn't believe him, so were just bumming around the bar. Then he pulled out five $100 bills and put 'em in Tim's hand, so we said, "OK, let's play." He disappeared halfway through the set I guess he didn't even like it that much. But we were grateful : It paid for this record.