Brooklyn’s The National Reserve just cut a new EP, Trouble In Mind with producer Joel Hamilton (Blackroc, Matisyahu). The band premiered the EP live at the Knitting Factory last week. Paste caught this brief interview with front man Sean Walsh after the set.
Paste: How would you describe the new album?
Walsh: This time around was more of a band effort. To me, it feels like more of an organic experience than the other records. It sounds like me having a great time with my friends. It’s a bit bluesy, it has some of the country vibe from our live shows. At the end of the day, it’s just good-time rock ‘n’ roll.
Paste: Was last night the first time you premiered the new songs?
Walsh: Last night was the first time we had played the EP in its order. We’ve actually run very few band rehearsals this year – maybe actually only three for the record – and tried to rely more on playing long, three to four hour sets a few times a week and letting the songs come together in a live setting. I think that is a big part why this record feels so comfortable to all of us.
Paste: What was your recording process like??
Walsh: Well, we talked to Joel Hamilton about a month beforehand and told him we would buy some tape and show up. So we did, set up in one room and just played the record. Very minimal overdubs. Mostly live to two-inch tape. We tracked the seven songs in about 10 hours total and then mixed for two days and that was it. It was unbelievably natural… There are some definite mistakes in there, but I personally love those mistakes. Wouldn’t change them for anything.
Paste:Has your sound changed or evolved at all since the last album? How and why?
Walsh: Absolutely. Our last record came out almost three years ago. First, the line up has changed. Mario, our old organist, left to play beautiful music with his wife in Omme Weiss. Our old drummer moved to San Francisco. It took me a while to piece a new thing together, but when I did it slowly became more of a family. The last record was for sure a solo record of mine with my friends behind me, but now this… We are a band. That has always been the goal for me, never liked the songwriter vibe. So for the first time it’s starting to feel like a communal thought, like we all own it. Makes me very proud.