With the release of their first album since 2009 and their second overall, it's safe to say that New York City's Freelance Whales are going to have a busy remainder of 2012. Currently on tour, the band will be playing at The Observatory on Wednesday night. Like most bands used to shitty east coast weather, they're taking some time in SoCal to enjoy some October weather that isn't totally fucked by the humidity. Just before they prepare for a day of hanging by the beach and chomping on In-N-Out burgers, we caught up with drummer Jake Hyman to hear about the new album, the tour and what he has in common with Justin Bieber.
OC Weekly (Daniel Kohn): How's the tour been so far?
Jake Hyman: It's been good. Geographer is awesome and they're a really fun band to be with. I think we're hitting our stride. We're getting up there every night and then piling in the van and heading to the next place.
OCW: How did you guys decided to settle on Diluvia as the album title?
JH: There's a couple of explanations for that. The first is that we like diluvia as a word. It's an old time Latin word, which people don't use anymore. It's a mixing of the old with the new, which is something we really like to do with in music and we thought a title that reflected that would be both fitting and interesting. It was a way to jump off from the first record to call this Diluvia.
OCW: What was it like working with producer Shane Stoneback (Vampire Weekend, Cults)?
JH: It was great. Shane gave his all to us and challenged us to come out of our comfort zone and achieve musical things that we didn't know were possible. Whether it's the technique that he used or asking you to record to nothing, at one point he asked us to record vocals without the rest of the music. Stuff like that is stuff we'd never think to do on our own and his experience really enabled us to expand our palate.
OCW: Even though in the end you realized that he was right, did you find his tactics to be frustrating at the time?
JH: I think there were certainly times for me where I had trouble coming up with a beat and I was getting very frustrated. His job as a producer is to wade through that frustration to get through the wall I'm putting up. For a song like "Emergence Exit" for example, it's a very delicate and many-layered song, and I wasn't really sure what kind of beat we wanted. We tried a bunch of different things and it wasn't really working and he took the rest of the music out and just left the banjo part. That ended up being the beat that we used. I think his techniques saved a lot of frustration instead of creating any.
OCW: Even though the tour just started, what's been the strangest thing to happen so far?
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JH: Before our show in Dallas, I was feeling really ill. When we got on-stage, I was really trying to push through and about halfway through the set, I felt I wasn't going to make it without getting sick. I got Judah's (singer Judah Dadone) attention and told him I was going to cut a song. During the last song of the set, I caught a whiff of cigarette smoke and I got really sick and I finished the chorus early and ran and puked all over the place.
OCW: So you were channeling your inner Justin Bieber or Lady Gaga?
JH: Ha exactly! Doris (bassist Doris Cellar) was worried so she mentioned to the crowd that I was sick upstairs and when I came back, people either thought I was a badass or a liar, I'm not sure.