Austin’s award-winning Quiet Company releases its much anticipated follow-up to We Are All Where We Belong. Transgressor comes out Tuesday, February 24, and should be well-received by the band’s many fans. The process of making the new album diverges from the normal process. Singer and songwriter Taylor Muse explains.
“How we’ve done things before, I would just kind of make a demo that had the entire song with all the instruments being played. We would just play it more or less as it was. Things would change subtly through the process of just playing live together, but for the most part, all the broad strokes were there….With this new one, we wanted it to be a lot more collaborative, so I brought in a demo that had just acoustic guitar and vocals. Everything else was something we came up with together. A lot of the songs turned out how I thought they were going to, and then a lot turned out really different from how I originally might have seen those.”
Audio engineer and music producer, Tim Palmer opts to mix Quiet Company‘s latest release. But, how does a semi-known band from Austin, Texas acquire such a powerhouse of an audio engineer?
Taylor recalls, “When we made We Are All Where We Belong, we all just really felt good about that record, and at that point, we felt like it was our masterpiece and we thought it just deserved better treatment” than the self-recorded version the band did. The group decided to start seeking a professional mixer to provide this better treatment. “We started looking around at what kind of dream mixers we could find, and which ones would be anywhere close to anything we could afford or would even want to do the job. Somebody, I forgot who, brought up Tim and said this guy lives in Austin and he makes all these records that we all love.”
The band reached out to Tim and sent a copy of the demo. He loved it and wanted to do it. After time, the band became kind of friends with him so it was a no-brainer to acquire his talents for Transgressor. “He seems to really believe in us and appreciate what we do, and he’s just a good guy to have in your camp.” From the great praise Taylor expresses regarding working with him and getting to know him, it is clear that the appreciation goes both ways.
Taylor writes pretty constantly utilizing the memo application on his phone to add “ideas and stuff that may or may not ever get turned into finished songs.” When it comes to actual songwriting, Taylor tackles melody and chord structure before lyrics. “I kind of procrastinate over completing lyrics to sometimes almost the last possible minute, which is weird because I’m kind of the lyrics guy, and that’s a really important part of songwriting to me. But it’s just the part I always put off for so long. I guess because it might be a little bit intimidating because I feel like they have to be really good.”
With nearly 30 tracks from which to choose to put on Transgressor, Taylor reveals how the guys “made a Google doc, and listed the tracks in order of priority to us and kind of compared notes. We noticed what songs were ending up on everybody’s list and which ones weren’t.” “A Year in Decline” on the new release is one of Taylor’s favorites and it almost gets cut. When Taylor approaches the band to express that “I really feel like the song could be cool,” everybody else states the same thing, leading to the question: Why was it cut? While that song makes it back on the album, several others do not. Taylor hopes the band will self-record those and release them via EP or some other format. “I don’t want to save them for another record because I feel like they’re songs that are kind of tied to this time period. I’m going to want to write all new songs when we get ready to make a new record. But I would like to put them out because a lot of my personal favorites got cut….But I guess that’s just part of the game.”
Taylor also discusses the challenges of being in a band long term. “I think the biggest obstacle is just the passage of time and feeling like we’ve done enough to justify our own existence as a band. When you feel like you’re banging your head against the wall for no reason, just kind of motiving yourself to stay positive and stay in the game, and remembering that what you do actually does have value [is difficult sometimes].” This latest endeavor, Transgressor, proves that Quiet Company‘s music does have value. It’s distinct, has something to say, and provides a stylistic rise and fall in intensity that leaves me hoping for many more years of songs. For more information or to make a purchase, please go to Transgressor