When Chicago's Touch and Go Records stopped releasing new music in February of 2009, it dealt a major blow to underground rock the world over. And no one felt it more than Atlanta's All the Saints. The fiery psych/noise trio featuring Matt Lambert (guitar/vocals), Titus Brown (bass), and Jim Crook (drums) was next in line on the T&G roster, which resulted in a major speed bump in the group's catalog. Three years later, the band's second full-length, Intro to Fractions, has been released quietly in Europe via Souterrain Transmissions, with no physical distribution on the horizon for the U.S. As the group prepares to play its first of only two scheduled shows this year, all three members weigh in on the virtues of moving forward at their own pace and why it's never a good idea to book a show on Mother's Day.
Was it difficult to recover from Touch and Go folding before your record was released?
Matt Lambert: I like saying that we're the band that put Touch and Go out of business. That's not true, but we were next in line.
Titus Brown: A friend who worked at Touch and Go started working with Souterrain Transmissions under City Slang. They released Intro to Fractions in Europe, but it's not available in the States, although there are other ways to hear it, some of which are even legal. I believe iTunes has it.
What's the benefit of only playing two shows per year?
ML: Me and Jim both have families and work full-time jobs. Also, I don't see any point in playing every week.
Jim Crook: The more you play the less of an event it becomes. You want people to crave it, but if you play every week they'll get sick of it. So it's a way to keep things fresh. When we practice, we'll play the same thing a million different ways and never decide on what's right, so it's a lot of work getting things down to a refined piece. We record every practice and listen to it throughout the week. Every practice has a different version of one particular song — it's kind of annoying, but it's also beautiful.
A lot of bands can't operate like that.
ML: We want to do something different, though. We started recording our music because there wasn't anything like it that we could already put into our CD player. Why else would you make music? There's so much music out there that's already amazing. It's all derived from something, but we're trying to carve out a place for ourselves. And with how fast everything moves now, it's better to show some restraint when making music, because I feel like people put out a lot of shit these days that could have been better.
Is it difficult keeping the public's interest?
JC: When you don't care about that sort of thing, there's no disappointment. We're doing this for ourselves — and certainly for the interest of other people — but we never expected to garner much interest, so we're never disappointed.
ML: We booked a Mother's Day show once and brought out smoke machines, lights — the place was decked out! Maybe three people showed up. We had more amps than people in the room, so we learned to keep expectations low.
Will there be another All the Saints record?
JC: Yeah, we've got five or six songs in the can.
ML: In my mind we have 12 songs, which means we have four, and we're playing three or four of them at the show.
You've been pushing the two-band lineup pretty hard. Why only two bands?
ML: Titus does all of our brilliant booking, including Mother's Day. Since we haven't been playing a lot, he's decided that we need to be hanging out with people more. So with just two bands, we can play longer sets, open it up and let it get a little weirder. When we're finished we can hang out with all the people who came to see us. It's going to be awesome because Titus told me it would be awesome.
TB: Yeah, it's going to be awesome.
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story misidentified All The Saints' debut record. The group's first LP was Fire On Corridor X.
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