Thanks to Toronto-based SPARROWS for taking a minute to pose for us back stage at The Masquerade in Atlanta on August 11, 2015.
Here at the RUST offices we’ve had Tomorrow Is Never, the new album from The Lovely Intangibles, playing virtually non-stop in our office and we like it a lot… in a creepy stalker kind of way. We’re already big fans of members Stephen Masucci, Tony Mann and Michael Williams from their previously excellent, visionary work in The Lost Patrol, and this fresh chapter in their collective efforts showcases a noir rock band fully embedded in their shared dream. The concept, the songwriting and the execution are pitch-perfect and Tomorrow Is Never delivers a fully realized mutual musical aspiration. We were curious about how the album came to be, so we reached out to vocalist Mary Ognibene to find out more of what The Lovely Intangibles are all about.
RUST: Mary, thanks so much for talking to us. We really appreciate the vision behind the album, it’s very unified in all it’s elements coming together. Was the recording process easy or was it a challenge to get things right?
MO: Thank you, RUST. Overall, the recording process was pretty straightforward, but we did cross a few bridges here and there. You’re right in that we had a unified theme, so that made the process more streamlined. We all love to work hard on this stuff and at this point have a well oiled method to our madness. Mostly, we kept the lines of communication strong to craft a large part of each song before we entered the studio so when it came time to record individual parts on top of the initial ideas, we were at the ready and had it down.
RUST: You had originally just planned to do a song or two, was there a particular moment or experience you had that made you think that there could be something more there?
MO: For me it was when we recorded “No Amends.” It was Thanksgiving weekend and our first time recording together with Larry Alexander. We recorded it that Saturday at Larry’s and when it was played back, I had an immediate and pretty strong sense that we shouldn’t stop. It just hit me, the sense that something was in that music that was worth pursuing. Stephen was there and felt the same – and Michael soon after, and it was the week after that, we very deliberately decided to work towards releasing a cd in the spring/summer. We had talked about it earlier in the fall, but I recall that it was around that time that a collective decision was made to put pen to paper and get moving on it in earnest.
RUST: The overall tone of the album is very consistent, you’ve created a real mood with the music. Did you find that the band as a whole shared the same concept for the vibe?
MO: Yes, absolutely. We were all going for something cinematic, expansive, dark and slightly unpredictable. We didn’t want this album to sound like anything any of us had really done before. That was one of the best parts – we were all stepping outside what we’d individually done before into something new, but we were at least on the same page with respect to a rough idea of what we wanted that “new” thing to sound like, or what we wanted it to evoke. Even down to the cd design.
RUST: Is there anybody that helped you all during the recording process that deserves a little credit or thanks?
MO: Oh absolutely – Larry Alexander, our sound engineer who handled a lot of the recording, mixing and mastering. Jon Camp, of “Renaissance” fame, who plays bass on “It’s Just Like You.” One of the top bassists in the world. Ed Colavito, who manages our publicity and is a really energetic force. All supremely talented and also humble people. Great people, who we are all looking forward to continuing to work with. They’re an equal part of this effort as Stephen, Michael, Tony and I are.
RUST: The noir sound you all have is very unique. What is it about the vintage period that inspires you? Do you think dreams are maybe more symbolic or memorable in black and white?
MO: Noir is elegant. It’s timeless. I think The Lovely Intangibles has and always will have a noir sense to it, even though we leave open the possibility of expanding and experimenting with other styles. But noir inspires our music by its stark contrast of black and white. Holding to the less is more concept. Being deliberate in the choice of chords, melodies, words, rhythms. Appealing to a high sensibility. Giving the music an intelligent, tight style. It’s got age and experience. It’s sexy. To your question whether dreams are more symbolic or memorable in black and white, I’d say probably not. I can’t remember if my dreams are in black/white or color, but I would think memorable dreams are memorable no matter the medium. That said, I do think black and white profiles throw everything into stark contrast. A story on the black and white screen feels more like a moving painting, if that makes sense. It’s definitely not reality TV! It’s art. It’s a separate time and place in the head, like a painting. It’s memorable in that timeless way. Again, going back to that clean, elegant concept.
RUST: There’s also a freshness and a modernity to what you all are doing, and a tangible futuristic aspect. Personally, were you thinking ahead in time or back… or both, when you first started building the song ideas?
MO: If I had to pick, I’d say we were thinking ahead on some songs, deliberately “launching them into space” to see how they’d sound up there. A fan called it “Neptunian hijinks,” which is a particular favorite expression now! Funny thing, however, the lyrics are often looking back, as lyrics often do. Some of the lyrics were inspired from either our own past experiences or our interpretations of another person’s past experience. The concept and lyrics to “Tomorrow Is Never” for example, came from our interpretation of a painting by the same name by the surrealist painter, Kay Sage. Her artistic story is inspiring, but she was no stranger to tragedy in her personal life. We tried to capture even a sliver of it in that tune. So, the exercise was to look back and draw from our common connection to personal experience already lived and apply that to what might’ve been going on in her head at the time.
RUST: Thanks so much, last question, is there another band or artist out there right now that people should know about and be listening to – other than you, of course!
MO: Um, well – oh god haha there’s always lots! I love singer/songwriter White Sea, who’s collaborated with the likes of M83 and now has a solo project out that I love. I’m also very much liking the UK trio, London Grammar. I love how their songs emotionally build. It’s all very dark, cinematic and BIG. Love it.
Thank you so much for your interest in and support for our music, RUST, and for the opportunity to chat.
Thanks again to you! Get more info at https://www.facebook.com/thelovelyintangibles
Steve Lewis will have a few things to say about his new album Creepers & Vines very soon. Stay tuned!
Get more info here http://stevelewismusic.com/
Last night at the Fox Theater in Atlanta, My Morning Jacket packed, and rocked the house! Our man-on-the-street Travis Blake was there to check it out and take a few photos. The band will be on national tour until late October, then there will be a series of dates in Boston in late November. If you can’t make one of their shows, be sure to listen to their latest album The Waterfall HERE
Recorded at Backstage Studios in Derbyshire, UK, the new album Battering Ram from legendary British heavy metal quintet SAXON will be released soon, with a US tour beginning in 2 weeks. Biff and the boys will join select dates with Motörhead, and others with Armored Saint and if this new video is any indication, this album is going to deliver fresh energy in classic SAXON style. Check it out here http://smarturl.it/SX_Batt_Ram_iTunes