Interview done by Jody Heavener of Doubledance.ca
A few days ago I had the opportunity to have a talk with Saosin’s front man Cove about their sophomore album, “In Search of Solid Ground”, which dropped September 8th from Virgin Records.
State who you are and what you do.
My name’s Cove Reber, and I sing in the band Soasin.
So let’s jump right in. You just released your latest album “In Search of Solid Ground”. What kinds of feelings or sounds or feelings were you trying to produce when you made this album?
I don’t think I don’t I was necessarily trying to do something, or say something. There wasn’t really a point I was trying to get across. I think, with this record, I kind of took the approach that the other guys took while writing the music, where we write the music first and the vocals second. So, you know, I think I kind of took the approach that they took, which was to just let it come from the heart, let it come natural, and let it come really organic, and just let the idea flow. And there was many things on this record, that were, in many ways, like a flow for me. It wasn’t like a flow for a rapper. It wasn’t well thought out. It was just like a flow, like on the spot, just winging it, and see what comes out. I think, at the very end of the day, when it’s back on the record, I’m proud of what we accomplished. I’m proud of what we did on this record with the band. Most bands go away for a month, after touring for a year, they go away for a month and then come back and tour again for another year off of another record. It’s like, they don’t really put a lot of effort in to the writing process; they just go in and record and they keep their fingers crossed that they’ve got a hit or that they’ve got a couple songs that can sustain them. But for us, we look at music as a, you know, something that can transcend time. Obviously the music we listen to; I personally think the music we listen to has transcended time, and it will always transcend time. I think that that’s the reason we take so long with writing and recording and that’s why, when we come out with something, all of us are extremely proud of it. And it’s not that we’re extremely cocky about it or anything, but it’s just more and more so that we’re extremely confident in ourselves as musicians, and it’s something that people can hear the growth in and appreciate where we are trying to take the band.
When you put this album together, what made you decide to to grab the three songs off of the “Grey” EP?
The “Grey” EP is just like the “Black” EP. On the first record, it had three songs [off of the “Black” EP] on it as well that we pulled off. The “Grey” EP had another couple songs that we pulled off and put on this record. And I think the reason we do that is, most bands – like I said earlier – they go away for a month in to the studio and they come back out and go straight in to touring and there’s no real shot to let the song develop. And what we like to do is give our fans the opportunity to hear the song in growth and development. It was purely an accident that it happened the first time. Like, back in 2005 I think, a ton of songs got leaked, and it was my fault. It ended up being, kind of – I don’t know if it was necessarily a blessing, when it happened and when everybody was like “Damn it Cove, how could you let that happen?” But, at the end of the day, when everybody saw what happened and we got the feedback from the fans it was nice to have that feedback, to hear what they were saying. Not that necessarily we write for the fans, because we never write for somebody, we always write for our selves and try and make something that we, alone, appreciate. But, you know, at the end of the day, we’re not going to survive unless our fans are happy and unless we’re happy. So it was kind of nice to get that feedback off the “Grey” EP on what the fans liked and what they didn’t like. And when we did the record Butch Walker really liked the “Grey” EP, he really liked “Love Maker” which is now entitled “The Worst of Me”, and Chris really felt like, “Secrets”. which is now called “I Keep my Secrets Safe”, Chris really felt that the verses could have been better, so he took it upon himself to make it better. And I think, all three songs from the “Grey” EP are kind of highlights on the record because of what we managed to do with the songs. If you listened to the “Grey” EP songs back-to-back, those three songs, back-to-back with the songs on the record, you do hear a lot of growth. It is very recognizable that the songs are, well, better. And that’s something we like to give our stance on; to hear our songs grow… if that all makes sense.
So, you worked with multiple producers, like Butch Walker and John Fieldman; how was that? Fun? Hectic?
Recording with this band is like such a different world. It’s difficult. Because of the amount of time and effort we invest in to each song, we become very attached to it. So we need somebody on the outside, and from the outside perspective, that’s going to be as attached to that song as we are. So, the songs that Butch Walker did; he was very fascinated when he heard them, at first listen, so if we hadn’t recorded in Malibu with Butch Walker and we recorded in Seattle with Butch Walker, I think we would’ve been a little more soft we would have recorded more songs with him. And it was hectic, and an absolute crazy time. We were living in a house in Malibu, one the most beautiful places in the world, and up on this hill there was this huge mansion where, like, the Dalai Lama lived, or whatever, some Sikh lived, you know? And he had a helicopter pad on his roof. This area that we were in was more like a crazy trip, and it was like a place that we couldn’t buckle down. I would sit on the balcony and you could see, legitimately, everything. It just stretched for miles. You could see Catalina, you could see the ocean. So you kind of lost the focus, but when we came out of there we re-grouped about a week later and we finished our record. But working with Butch was definitely a learning experience for us all and I think we kind of needed that in order for us to come together and really work as a team and make “In Search of Solid Ground” and when we were in the studio with Butch, for the individual effort we needed and that time to come together when we were still working on the record and build the relationships that needed to be built within our mess. So it was pretty awesome to work with all the producers on this record. And I think everyone who worked on this album got the best out of me. That’s one of the reasons we hire producers, is for me. The guys in the band are really confident that they could record the record themselves, like they could record the music themselves, they don’t need anybody’s help. But I need somebody to help me out and give me guidance.
What’s the deal with the album artwork? Why the change? What was the big commotion?
The big commotion over it was, basically the first time we, I know four of us, saw the artwork when it was on absolutepunk.net or .com or whatever. When we first saw it, it was like “That’s not what I expected… that’s not the idea. Why didn’t I see this before?”, and Chris started saying “I sent it to you all, I didn’t know they were doing this.” and all this stuff. And it’s like, “Well, we gotta fix this! It has to be better than that. That’s crap.” You know, like, who’s idea was it to put it out? Our label had given the permission to put it out without us even, really, seeing it. And I don’t think they knew we didn’t see it – or four or five members of the band hadn’t seen it. And we just thought, “That’s ugly. That’s an ugly cover.” And with the feedback we’d gotten from it, everyone was like “What? That’s your cover?” and we kind of said the same thing, being that we’d never seen it. It was a crappy cover. Chris had a back-up cover for us and presented it within two days. And with the way graphic artists are these days, they’ll come out looking really digital, but we really wanted to come out more looking like a picture, and it’s really come like that. When we saw the clock, it was something that was believable. It’s something that we were like, “That could easily be a photograph.” And I think that the way the broken clock looks with the numbers, I think it kind of really works with the record. I think it’s pretty cool, it’s pretty dope.
I want to thank Cove for taking time out of his busy life to have a chat with me