SCAD Radio recently had the opportunity to get on the phone with Californian rock band In Urgency.
The band has released their first full length, Painting Parallels, the highly energetic follow up to their 2015 EP, The Vice Volumes. In Urgency plays driving and emotionally powerful music that playfully mixes pop punk and post hardcore to bring something truly fresh to the scene.
Here’s a look at SCAD Radio’s interview with Sam Mountain and Javier Caudillo of In Urgency.
Kush with SCAD Radio: For those who haven’t heard of In Urgency, what would be a good song to serve as a starting point into your music?
Sam Mountain from In Urgency: It’s hard to choose one. Especially now, with having 16 songs to chose from instead of just 6.
Javier Caudillo from In Urgency: I would say that a good one is “Angel,” the third track from our new album, and “All You Need,” the second track. I think both of these songs are a good representation of our current sound.
Sam Mountain: “Dear Lovely” as well.
Javier Caudillo: Those three if you asked us to choose our top three. And of course The Holy Ghost, the one we did the music video for. It’s kind of hard when we have all this stuff, we’re really excited for the record as a whole. I would say if you needed to pick one, then it’d be “All You Need” or “Angel,” the second and third tracks on the album.
Kush: How would you describe the experience of releasing your first full length, Painting Parallels?
JC: Oh man, it’s a long story. But to sum it up, it’s the most exhilarating and stressful thing to happen all at the same time.
SM: It’s amazing.
JC: I had a question asked that was asking what the most difficult thing we had gone through as a band and that in and of itself is releasing an album as a whole independently. Making sure all the aspects of the album and making sure it gets out there and that people see it are the most difficult aspect for sure. You know, like reaching the outlets, press, media, and video and this and that and it’s just all over the place when you’re really just trying to play music. We’re starting to get back home and perform live.
SM: Unfortunately, we did postpone our CD release show because Chris (Anderson) had to have an emergency due to his appendix. We haven’t really had the opportunity to experience the fruits of our labor in playing most of these songs yet but we will soon — hopefully by the end of the summer.
JC: We’re set to be scheduled in the middle of August, so this is a very exciting opportunity that we have coming up. Hopefully we get to share it soon.
K: Is there anything else that was different for you guys in recording this album?
SM: The whole process. So this time around we had Daniel Wonacott from Finch come out and take the lead as producer. We worked with Daniel before on our EP but he just did a little bit of co-production but he wasn’t the upfront guy. So this time around he was the only producer working and we got to make the record the real way. The way the real professionals do it as far as pre-production, and getting the good working relationships together and getting the songs really together before we ever set foot in the studio. Daniel literally came out every writing session and rehearsal.
JC: For 6 to 8 weeks — at the least — he would sit with us for 3 to 4 hours. We’d tear through the songs and rip them apart and build them back up and all that in between. Like who does that before they even get paid? I guess it’s a matter of him really believing in what we’re doing. It was a really cool experience from start to finish.
K: So would you say that working with Daniel Wonacott was more of a hands on experience than working with other producers?
SM: Oh, it couldn’t have been more that way. Specifically, he plays it himself a little bit. Like, he’ll hop on bass or decide to do vocals himself or play guitar for a bit. Because he lent his universal knowledge from top to bottom to us he was able to communicate every change and every idea he suggested very well. And us, as a band, were able to take it in the right direction. So, very hands on but not controlling. At all. He was always like, “Here’s what I think is a good idea, what do you guys think?”
JC: Right. For the most part, he left it up to us for what ideas to go with and what not to. And for the ideas that he insisted on, I was like “F—k yeah!” They were some of my favorite parts of the record. He’d be like, “You’ve gotta try this,” and we’d try it out and it’d come out better than we expected.
K: What kind of message are you trying to send through this latest record?
JC: I think Chris has a heavy hand in the writing along with Sam, with them both being vocals and guitar. It’s a lot of introspection and self-evaluation. It’s kind of taking a step back from where you’re at and identifying what’s going on and digging up some stuff that isn’t the easiest to dig up from the past and facing it in real time. He wrote a song about his little sister and he wrote a song about his mom and his hometown. It’s all this really, really inner personal stuff that I’m proud of him for pulling out and not being superficial about anything and putting everything on the table. And Sam, of course, his his own touch on things with bridges and things like that as well as other things that are personal to him. It’s not all just, “Oh, be positive.” This is the real s—t. The real deal.
K: When you guys write do you tend to focus on lyrics first or do you tend to set out the framework through your music first?
SM: It’s different for every song. I’d say lyrics usually come afterwords, at least for me.
JC: The thing that happened this time around is that I think Chris had a ton of material ready to go for the writing process. He was laying things on top of each other and we didn’t realize it until the end of it. I think he does it as he goes. Sam does it in a slightly different sense, but it all worked out. To me it was a nice surprise to hear it all at once. It was really fun to feel it out and jam it out with Daniel who was really hands on with the drums, bass, and guitar. So I had a really fun time writing and getting down and sweaty and getting into the nooks and crannies of the writing process. It came out a lot better and I’m really grateful for everyone pushing themselves.
SM: I think vocals are the one thing we focused on more in the studio. Pre-production was more on instrumentals and the arrangements. There’s a lot of stuff we didn’t hear until we got in the studio and put it together.
K: One of my favorite parts of your music is how emotionally intense it can be. Can you tell me a little bit about what you do in order to preserve the emotional intensity?
SM: Just be real. I feel like on all the songs, the lyrics really come from the heart. Like in terms of Chris’s writing, he delves really deep on this record. There’s no way for it not to come across as super emotional and super gritty. I think this is an issue that some bands have in expressing their vocals. If they’re not singing from the heart and it’s not real, then it doesn’t come across that way. One of the things that Daniel really stressed was the fact that if it’s hard to talk about then it’s probably one of the better topics to write about. I think Chris really took that to heart. In the moment, watching Chris through the booth it was intense. There is just no other word to describe it. It was just intensity. If you take some time to listen to some different songs like “Dear Lovely” and “The Holy Ghost”, he’s really up there in terms of vocal register and something he didn’t do in quite the same way on the previous record. It just translated perfectly. The intensity of the overall record captivates, like you said. It just came out the way we wanted it to.
K: You guys recently released a video for “The Holy Ghost.” Can you tell me a little bit about your experience in recording this video?
JC: It was fun! This is probably one of the most fun shoots we’ve done being that this is probably the third or fourth shoot that we’ve done with the same crew. We started off a long, long time ago with a good friend of Chris’s, a childhood friend. His name is Aaron Alps, he does a lot of crazy stuff. So those guys grew up together and went into different careers and linked up one day. So we started off with a video three years ago and since then we’ve done a video just about every year. Each time it’s gotten more and more smooth. We know how each person works and we know what to do and the shots that he likes to get. So this was the shortest shoot that we’ve done due to the fluidity, but it still took like 12 or 16 hours straight to shoot.
SM: This time we started in the morning and ended in the night, rather than the other way around. The thing that was cool as well was that we just built that entire set in our practice space. Our practice space looked nothing like it does on a daily basis and became a soundstage with all the wood pallets and lights and some of that stuff still hasn’t been taken home. [laughs]
JC: We made a little mini-set, after the fact, to keep the vibe and it’s really cool. It was a really intense backdrop, as you can see in the video. We built it really fast as well. We did the same thing for our very first video, which I mentioned, “Stitches”. We built that set ourselves, and I love the way we do things. It’s really, really rewarding. So yeah, built up from the ground up and you shoot on it and it just looks epic.
K: Why did you choose “The Holy Ghost” as the song for the first music video?
JC: I think it was a preference of Chris’s, in terms of just song. It was the first song off the album and it was just fitting and was the perfect way of opening up the way we wanted to come across in terms of new sound. It’s definitely a different representation than our first record and we thought it was be a good song for the first video.
SM: Obviously, there’s more to come but I think this is a nice transitional song. It keeps the vibes that people are used to but also introduces new elements that were incorporated with the album.
K: What’s next for In Urgency?
SM: Playing a show. [laughs]
JC: We’re really excited to get into the performance aspect because we’ve had people that are waiting nice and patiently for that show we were supposed to have and we’ve rescheduled it. So, that’s looking like the middle of August and we’re going to hit the major venues in our area soon after that. Definitely big fans of playing the Glass House. We’ve played the Rocks a few times in the LA area. It’s always a good time. It’s just the concert experience that we want to bring to everyone. We’re excited to play a nice, long 9 or 10 song set that we were just supporting an EP. I think we’ve gelled together more than we have before so that’s going to be an exciting thing to bring to the stage. It’ll be a more cohesive set of songs rather than just bam, bam, bam. I think this is where we can come into our own sound.
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