'Songbirds - The Relations Story'
New York City's Relations revive the intense aesthetics of post-punk's heydays through an eclectic set of four tracks exploring the unsettling contradictions of the genre's heritage.
Only steps away from the explosive 1980s wave of uptempo self-loathing, old-time friends Terrence Murren and Michael Sanders build - upon head-bopping offbeat rhythms and rolling bass lines - a fast-paced narrative, tinted with nostalgia and that effervescent angst of young love.
And so, get ready for a disturbingly pleasant journey to the center of their minds as the duo celebrates the release of their eponymous debut EP this month.
Exclusive Magazine recently sat down with Mike Sanders and we chatted about how the duo first met, his favorites track of the new EP, how the band got their name, and yes ... even Penguins!
Let's begin with this newly-released EP ... why an EP of just 4 tracks ... and why self-title it? "We wanted to go for simplicity for the first release... the LP we are working on will have a ridiculously long and pretentious title!"
The songs are made up of snippets of hours and hours of jamming combined with fully formed ideas ... does this mean that there are musical scatterings still out there that could easily have been made into other tracks to plump this EP out more, perhaps? "Yeah we dropped a bunch of material/songs/parts ... we are pretty selective on what we put out as a finished song."
It is claimed that each of the four songs on this EP is a musical journey. So, please tell us a little bit about each track and the journey that was taken:
a) Take No Sides - "This song is about the book a Dry White Season ... and falling in love in a fascist/police state ... longing ... anxiety ... fear ..."
b) A Savage Way To Live - "This song is your typical going to work everyday existential crisis meditation."
c) Careless Days - "This song is also about going to work."
d) Songbirds - "This is about the first year when you move to a large city (NYC), all of the beautiful sites and sounds, the people - good and bad ... making bad decisions ... but accepting it ... making it a part of yourself."
Your musical sound ranges from loud indie rock to traditional jazz, and most everything in between ... but, if you were happier making just one musical genre yours, which would be your true comfort zone? "This it. When I write, I don't think about genres... I wait till it sounds right. Terence and I have different backgrounds in styles... but we are just making the music that comes out."
For the record, why did you name the band Relations? And around its time of conception, what other names were considered? "I don't think we seriously considered any other names.. maybe caterwauls? I like that relations can mean a bunch of different things - bangin', family, spacial relations ... and Terence and I get mistaken for brothers sometimes."
On your facebook page you are giving the EP away to anybody who asks for one ... just so we know, have you truly got enough for everybody, if suddenly the flood gates open? "We do! Let us know!"
You guys first met a decade ago in a New England high school, but (in truth) what was your very first impression of your soon-to-be musical partner at that time? "Well, he sold me my first bass and he was two years older, so I thought terence was pretty cool for a hippie. (Just kidding Terence!)"
Indeed, your first band together was Modern Lovers ... so, if I had a tape recording of a gig you did together as ML, if I put it on eBay how much do you think I'd be able to sell it for?!?!?! "I am going to guess $.75 plus shipping ... but if we had that it would be on youtube by now."
Do you have a favorite track from the EP, one that's more personal to you then the others, perhaps? "Probably 'Songbirds' ... captured a bittersweet time in my life pretty well."
If asked to record one for charity, what '80s pop/rock song would you love to cover today ... and why? "'Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now' by The Smiths."
Lastly, and throwing you a journalistic curve ball, Exclusive Magazine lovesPenguins (the bird) ... do you?! "I like a nice penguin ... but to be honest, I am more of an otter guy."
Interview: Russell A. Trunk
So, if you would like to win a SIGNED copy of Relations's new EP CD, just answer this easy question about Mike Saunders: When is his birthday? (FYI - date/month/year required!)
Send us your answers and if you're correct you'll be in the running to win one of these wonderful signed EP CDs! Just send us an e:mail here before November 1st with your answer and the subject title CONTEST: RELATIONS SIGNED CDs to: firstname.lastname@example.org