Silversun Pickups' Nikki Monninger Learns How to Be Spontaneous
Autumn De Wilde

Silversun Pickups' Nikki Monninger Learns How to Be Spontaneous

See also: Our review of KROQ Weenie Roast y Fiesta

Since forming in 2002, the Silversun Pickups have spread their catchy indie/alt rock from Silver Lake across the globe. Today, their third full-length, Neck of the Woods, will be released via Dangerbird Records. Recorded in Topanga Canyon under the watchful eye of producer Jacknife Lee, the group mixed things up a bit, adding more electronica to their trademark distorted guitar sound.

We caught up with bassist Nikki Monninger ahead of their performance at the KROQ Weenie Roast and tonight's performance on Jimmy Kimmel Live to find out more about the new album, their plans for 2012 and whether or not they actually serve hot dogs at the Weenie Roast.

What were some of the differences between the recording this album and your earlier work?

We worked with a new producer and he came from more of an electronic background, but we didn't necessarily want to make an electronic album. We liked some of the ideas he threw around and what he was able to contribute to it in a different way that we had worked previously.

What elements were added to your sound based on working with Jacknife Lee?

Normally when we go through the recording process, we go through pre-production for about a month or two. Usually, we as the band would work on the songs for six months or so on our own. Then at the end of it, (producer) Dave Cooley and would give his input. This time, we worked for several months going over the songs as we saw them.

Jacknife's way of doing things is not to have pre-pro and just to dive right in. Everything felt more spontaneous. We would move forward with things in a certain way and he would introduce new ideas or subtle changes. Working spontaneously was definitely a new thing since I'm the type of person that likes to take things home, take notes and study what we've done and he literally threw my notes on the ground on the first or second day and said let's try it more from instinct. And I liked that change.

So it stretched the way you record and write in a roundabout way.

Yeah. It kept us on our toes. He didn't change the core of what we do, but rather enhanced it. We didn't want to sound more electronic, but sound like we always had but more of an evolution.

What or who inspired the title Neck of the Woods for the record?

That was something that Brian came up with. We recorded the album in Topanga Canyon just a mile from where he grew up. The name started coming together when we were looking at album art. Then we saw the image we ended up choosing and it kind of all came together. It really came back to where Brian grew up and I think that had a good effect on him during the recording process. It's not that far from where we live, but he hadn't been back to that area in a long time. I think things just started coming back to him.

Do they actually serve weenies and/or barbecue at the KROQ Weenie Roast?

I don't think I've ever had a weenie there, but I'm sure they're somewhere. They make it real nice for the guests and they have an outdoor lounge area for everyone to hangout at. Long and short? I'm not sure either way.

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