By Carolina de Busto
By Ben Westhoff and Sarah Purkrabek
By Steve Brennan
By Joseph Hess
By Allsion Babka
By Kelsey McClure
By RFT Music
By Christian Schaeffer
B-Sides: Your past two records have been a sharp turn away from the acoustic guitar and piano-based compositions of your earlier work. Are you trying to broaden the concept of the singer-songwriter to include more experimentation?
Michael Zapruder: I grew up liking Elvis Costello and the Talking Heads, where every record was really different. The 52 Songs project was me exploring every possible avenue that I might be interested in. After that, I was really focused on getting my hands on some good songs and simplifying the process. That was cool, but I've heard so much other music since then. I think the earnest singer-songwriter thing is played out; you have to do more. You have to write intense, cool songs, but if you focus too much on the words you miss out on the music. I didn't want to second-guess it – I wanted [the record] to be diverse.
The recording of the album was done in just two weeks, but certain songs have a dense, layered feel to them. What was that process like?
It was crazy and great. I've known Scott [Solter, producer ] a long time — he helped me mix my last record. I went in with more than twenty songs and we whittled them down. Scott knew I wanted to do this record all in one session, so we spent the last two days mixing the whole record. Essentially, we didn't sleep. It was pretty grueling, but we came up with some strategies at the beginning. Scott said, "Let's go with a compelling minimalism." We picked really good musicians and they did passes over the song. You may only hear them in little passages when they caught the wave. There's something cohesive — it's more like moments in the songs that tie the album together.—Christian Schaeffer
9 p.m. Wednesday, October 29. Cicero's, 6691 Delmar Boulevard, University City. $5 21-plus, $8 under 21. 314-862-0009.