Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Interview: Film School's Greg Bertens on Fission and the Band's Ever-Changing Line-up

Posted By on Wed, Oct 6, 2010 at 12:00 PM

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Film School, "Sunny Day"

The people who cross your path at the time? Exactly. What confused everything is when Beggars (Banquet) put out the self-titled record in 2006, they sort of insisted on us calling it our first full-length release in order to gain momentum and come out as a fresh new band. But in actuality we had already released a lot of material before that and went through a lot of different incarnations.

But I think for most people like me who lived in the Midwest, that was when you kind of showed up on our radar. Yeah, we were a totally obscure band. Beggars was the one who introduced us to the world for sure. But the story they put out wasn't really true to what had happened up to that point. The band had been around in some form or another for 6 or 7 years before that.

So, getting back to the band as it exists today: How did you guys approach recording Fission? Every song was different. Lorelei brought in a song called "Sunny Day" with just bass and vocals and when she brought that in, each person just kind of added their own elements and I kind of had an idea for the general presentation of the song like to make it a faster, more energetic song. So, it just built from there. But a song like "When I'm Yours," I brought that in as pretty much a complete song and we wrote one change for it as a band. It just varies from song to song. Sometimes we're coming together to add parts and arrange and other times we're just coming together to learn a song that already exists.

A lot of the songs feel a bit brighter compared to other Film School material. Was that something you were going for? I think a lot of different elements came together to get to that point. For instance, Lorelei brought in some songs like "Sunny Day" that have more levity to them by their nature. Also, I've just been listening to more pop, traditionally structured songs recently. It's just kind of what I've been gravitating towards as a music listener, so I'm not surprised that it's also showing up in the music that I'm writing.

It does in a way but I wouldn't really call Fission a pop album. Yeah, I don't think we'll ever be able to write a pure pop song that has no darker tension in it. I think that will always be an element in the music we write. It's ironic because I've seen a couple reviews where people are describing it as super-bright and commercial music and I'm wondering what they're hearing in order to gather that assessment. I think that Film School songs will always have some element of tension in it that focuses around a melancholic or dark element.

I can hear that and I always enjoy the combination of those two elements. I enjoy that too, and I feel like these songs are more complex because of it.

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