Just last week on June 13th, DJ SNL had a chance to interview the Song Preservation Society. Here is a transcript of their live interview as well as some adorable pictures of the band!
snl: They’re an acoustic trio best known for their melodic guitar playing accomplished by stirring—not accomplished, accompanied—by stirring vocal harmonies.
E: We are very accomplished.
snl: They’re also very accomplished. So, hi! Thanks for being here!
E: Hi SNL.
D: Thanks for having us.
snl: You guys are awesome! Would you like to introduce yourselves and what you do in this great band?
D: Yes, my name is Daniel Wright and I play acoustic guitar and sing.
T: My name is Trevor Bahnson and I play acoustic guitar and sing.
E: My name’s Ethan Glazer, and unlike the other two, I play acoustic guitar and I sing. … And we are Song Preservation Society!
snl: That’s wonderful! So, I wanted to ask you guys about your name and where it comes from.
E: Well, we were in a band before this. We were in a rock band and we were the 3 singers and songwriters of the group. We had a lot of songs that maybe weren’t right for the band at the time. So, we wanted to keep the songs alive, so we would get together and meet up on our own with just our acoustic guitars and just play—play our songs to keep them sort of breathing and moving and evolving. The name kinda started out as a joke, a little bit, but became very fitting.
snl: So why did you decide to go from rock to acoustic, fully?
T: It was kinda natural. I mean, we had the rock band before this and I think we actually got a gig that the rock band couldn’t do, and so we did it as a trio. And it just really worked real well. It just felt a little more natural. I guess, it’s a little easier to write and work with 3 guys rather than 5.
E: Also Daniel and I don’t have any tattoos. Trevor has a couple. It’s just… we weren’t willing to go through with that painful procedure.
snl: Do you ever miss playing rock songs? Do you sometimes just jam out together? Pick up some electric guitars?
T: I recently, actually last night, I was listening to some old recordings of the band and I got real nostalgic and I wanted to play rock again.
E: We’re right there with ya, man.
T: Yeah, maybe some day.
E: We do still jam out a lot. We all play other instruments too. You know, Daniel plays drums and Trevor and I, we both play keys and you know, bass. We do still jam out. But as far as Song Preservation Society’s concerned, we haven’t really felt the need to add anything instrumentation-wise to the group. Especially to the live performance. Just because it feels very complete as it is.
T: However, we have a new EP coming out called Ready Room where we do play all the instruments so we have bass and drums and guitar and keyboards and B3 and Rhodes and all that stuff.
E: I have a question for you Daniel, can people get that CD? When it comes out?
T: It will be unavailable to the public.
D: Absolutely, I’m not tellin’ you what to buy, but if you like our music today, we have a website, that’s songpreservationsociety.com, and we will be updating it frequently to tell you when the album is coming out. It should be about a month.
snl: and hopefully we get that album in kspc and we can play it all the time.
D: Absolutely, well, you’ll be the first.
snl: *laugh. Thanks. So, you briefly mentioned working with 3 people instead of 5—how is the songwriting process with 3 of you? Do you all write it? Do you all bounce ideas off each other? How does that work?
D: Umm, well, we love writing songs very much, and we love each other’s songs and we tend to go about it a lot of different ways, and the more time that goes by, the more we find ways to write together and stimulate our writing. So sometimes it’ll be pretty typical, the way you’d expect, where someone brings a song and we all workshop it, but sometimes we’ll have like, a piece of a song, or a little seed or an idea, and then we’ll pass it around and learn it before it’s done and then everyone can contribute. Most recently, we’ve been sitting down and actually trying to write together. And that’s our newest thing, which is by far the hardest. And then we also have gone through stuff of just trying random experiments. We did this one thing where we turned a song around backwards and then wrote to that song and, we actually started with our own song and then turned it around backwards and then used the sound of the backwards song to write a new song, that was forwards.
E: With the backwards sounds, what words they sounded like. We formed the lyrics.
snl: Did it make sense?
T: Yeah, it actually did.
E: Pretty surprising how it worked out.
T: It’s almost like the backwards song sends you subliminal messages and you can write from those. So it’s not exact, but it really worked.
D: Some of your best lyrics.
T: Yeah, they really were. They’re kinda abstract but still make sense. It was pretty cool.
E: Like not grammatically correct at all.
D: Trevor also writes a ton of poetry and sometimes Ethan or I will use his words that he’s written and write songs from that. So, all different ways.
snl: That’s very cool. You guys seem like you get along pretty well, so…
T: It’s a total front.
E: Looks can be deceiving.
D: You shoulda seen us on the way over here.
E: Fists flying everywhere.
snl: Well thank you for making it in, it looks like, one piece.
snl: I have a lot of questions for you, but here’s one—what do you hope people will get out of your music?
D: ooh. That’s a great question.
E: I hope that people really get the lyrics. I feel like lyrics are something that’s overlooked nowadays especially in like, modern indie music too. It’s like, the lyrics are really good, you know, when I do the research and find out what they’re saying, but a lot of times it’s a little difficult to hear them and I really feel like it’s essential, so I hope that people get into the content of the meaning of the song itself rather than, you know—obviously the music is important—but I intend to not let that fall by the wayside.
T: Whoof. There’s that word again.
E: That’s a term. That I like to use a lot.
T: Ethan only does that on the radio.
E: That’s right. Never get to say it in real life.
snl: Because this isn’t real life. At all.
T: it’s true. Only fake, only fake life on the radio.
snl: No, never! It’s just so awesome it seems like a dream, that you guys are here, because it’s incredible.
snl: If you could open or tour with any band, what band would you pick? And you all don’t have to have the same band, you can have a different opinion.
E: Do they have to be real or alive?
T: Real? *laughs.
snl: Well, real might be necessary so the listeners can relate, but alive doesn’t have to be true.
E: A band of dinosaurs, I’d like to do that.
T: Ethan would like to do a band of dinosaurs.
E: I would say a band of dinosaurs if we’re going fake, but if we’re going real, I’d like to open for Paul Simon or Paul McCartney. Anybody named Paul.
snl: So my uncle?
E: Yeah, your Uncle Paul? Sure.
T: Is he on tour?
E: Does he need an opening act?
T: We got him.
snl: He doesn’t really have a band…
E: Doesn’t matter.
snl:…but he has a stand up bass that he plays sometimes.
T: We’re there. We’ll start.
E: We’re hired.
T: Those are both really good. I’d say, as far as modern bands, maybe like, Dirty Projectors or some funky weird band. Like that. I love them a lot. Or the Beach Boys.
snl: Would you pick the Dirty Projectors because you like them or because you think you could have fun with your music in opening for them?
T: I think probably, I mean, ‘cause I like them, but I think it would also be a good experience musically just to spend time with a band that you’re very interested in and maybe not necessarily the same style, but something that you respect and like a lot—you know, change your music up a little bit.
D: Yeah, I’m with you guys. I used to kinda feel like I’d rather open for one of the old guys that really inspired me, but, lately, I for some reason feel more like if we could open for Fleet Foxes or Grizzly Bear, it’d be kinda, I don’t know, somethin’ more in the present, you know, more in our time. And also the audience would probably be a little younger.
T: They’re all alive, as well, which makes it easy.
E: Yeah, if you could see us right now, we are so close to each other, we’re all huddled around one mic, it’s so intimate in this little room. Actually, we’re taking pictures. And we will post that, on our website, songpreservationsociety.com if anybody wants to see what this looks like.
snl: Someone should probably keep a tally of how man times we say songpreservationsociety.com on this show.
E: We’re shooting for 300. We’ll see if we get there.
T: We have a bet going.
E: We’ll also tweet this picture. We’ll also have it on facebook. If you like us, you can see it.
D: It will be available.
snl: So, you briefly mentioned favorite old bands—what’s your favorite band (you don’t have to answer both of these because it might take too much thinking, but) your favorite band EVER and then your favorite band of the moment, like, now?
E: My favorite band ever is the Beatles.
E: Yeah, don’t really have to think about it. And then what was the second half of that question?
T: Favorite band now.
E: Uhh, now. Beatles. They’re still doing their thing. But, I’d say, I think Fleet Foxes would be my favorite band now. Fleet Foxes or Radiohead—right in there, right in that spectrum.
T: I’d say The Beatles probably as far as of all time, and then maybe Dirty Projectors or yeah, something like that.
D: The Beach Boys are the closest to me, I’d say. As much as I love The Beatles, I just grew up with them more and they hit home, a little bit closer to my heart. And right now, I would definitely say the band, LMNOP, *bandmate laughter* who we saw the other night, late at night, at a bar in Silverlake and they did a full Beastie Boys set.
T: It’s a duo.
D: Yeah, it’s a rock duo. Rock duo that is unknown but they are just incredible.
T: They’re amazing.
D: Fell in love with the drummer. Wanted to marry him. So that’s where I’m at.
T: Dan was weeping over the drummer by the end of the night. We almost had to leave him.
snl: Sounds like a pretty great musical experience.
T: It was amazing.
snl: So, what’s the most amazing/craziest or unbelievable thing that has happened to you as a band?
E: One time we all kissed.
E: And here’s the interesting part, we’re all straight, just as a disclaimer, but we really, it was totally by choice.
D: I’d say we did not have a choice.
T: It was more like…
E: Well, I mean, nobody dared us to. Nobody told us to, we were just really proud of it.
T: There was nobody else in the room.
E: It was just a quick one. It was just a one second kiss, but it was like, sort of a test of, uhh…
E: Yeah, brethrenhood. It was right before a show. Actually, we’ll probably do it before our show on Friday night, at Hotel Café.
T: Oh my god…
E: It really pumps us up.
snl: I was definitely not expecting that answer.
snl: But thank you for that. Thank you for sharing that with us. Speaking of rituals before shows, do you have any other ones? Because I noticed someone doing some pushups out there…
E: That’s Trevor’s move.
T: Yeah, I do at least 400 pushups before every show.
E: Yeah, I do like 4000.
T: just roughly. Just to try and get my blood flowing. We do roughly kinda boring stuff. Warm ups, vocal warm ups, try to get the vocals in effect.
D: Yeah, we always make sure that we have a moment to get with each other to make sure we’re all there and present and warm up our voices.
E: But a ritual would be nice. Maybe we should start like, doing a little séance.
D: Drinking some warm milk.
E: Yeah, warm milk. Gargling and singing scales. *laughs.
D: Sounds terrible.
E: Think that’s what we’ll do on Friday night before our show at… where are we playing? Hotel Café. 9 o’clock. This Friday. That’s in Hollywood. We’ll be there.
snl: And if listeners stay tuned, we have a pair of tickets to give away to that too, so you could also be there. Later on in my show, we’ll giveaway those tickets.
snl: Ok, this question’s from my sister, she asks, “Why are your vocal harmonies so amazing?”
E: uhh, well, the answer to that is a very long recipe that involves a lot of interesting foods.
D: 1 cayenne pepper.
T: a lemon.
E: We spend a lot of time together. We’ve known each other for about 5 years. Dan and I have known each other for a little bit longer than that.
D: Like 12 years.
E: But as far as playing music together and singing together, we’ve been doing it for awhile and we’ve lived together for a very long time as well. So we pretty much are together everyday, singing, at some point. It has come with time and also being a fan of each other’s music. I’m a huge fan of the songs that Daniel and Trevor bring in so I have a real desire to figure out a way that I can fit into the song and I think that desire makes us just sort of blend with each other. It’s sort of a natural thing that happens.
D: And, thank you to your sister for the lovely compliment. Yeah, there’s also something with me and Trevor’s voices. They have a pretty similar timbre.
T: *parroting. Pretty similar timbre.
D: See? That was Trevor, believe it or not.
E: T-I-M-B-R-E. timber.
D: This is Daniel. Ethan usually takes the high parts, so there’s something kinda natural that always fit, but definitely, we work a lot at it. It really happened over time.
T: Yeah, totally. We used to suck. We used to be bad.
E: That’s not true. Gems from the start.
snl: Well, I know that our listeners, and I, and maybe you guys, want you to start playing so we can hear your beautiful music.
D: We’d love to.
snl: So, I am going to ask you one last question and then we’ll have you guys play. My show’s called “The Pursuit of Happiness” and I talk about what makes people happy and I ask random people, “What makes you happy?” So now, it’s your chance to contribute, to the archives, “What makes you happy?”
E: Can we each answer individually?
snl: Yes. Definitely.
E: Ok, go ahead Dan. What makes you happy? *laugh.
D: What makes me happy?
snl: It can also be super random and light-hearted, or it can be deep, it doesn’t matter. And don’t feel bad if you go one way or the other…
D: I don’t feel bad. Yet. It’s pretty simple for me, I think. I really love good, fresh food, and family and friends, and when they are all in one place that’s probably my happiest, you know. And of course, singing together is really, the greatest thing, you know, in my life. But that’s also such a mainstay, it’s all the time, so it kinda has its up and downs, it kinda has a life of its own, but the food and the family is always amazing.
T: That’s where you’re at, for sure. I’d say, actually most recently, kinda just remembering that music is the thing that makes me happy, because we do it so much. Like you said, that it’s kinda like, no matter what happens in life, you have this one thing that you can do that’s always going to make you happy. Definitely music, and just recently, rediscovering that that’s the thing that’s the most happy for me.
E: I would say my family, my friends, and Kaylin, my girl. That’s what makes me happy. I’m happy right now. *laughter. Being on the radio makes me happy.
D: Good combo.
snl: You guys being on the radio makes me happy too.
E: Oh! And playing shows makes me happy. Actually, I love playing in front of an audience. It’s just, I’m addicted to it. It’s a pretty dangerous addiction that I have, so don’t try and take that away from me.
snl: I wasn’t planning on trying…
E: Because I’ll get crazy!
snl: So, thank you so much, guys.
All: Thank you!
snl: This is Song Preservation Society. I’m gonna let them go set up now so that they can play.