rothers MARK and MATT NAWARA are veterans of the Chicago rock scene having recorded and written endless hours of original music over the years with this band and that band. Their latest venture - THE OUTFIT - is one that plays to their strengths as music makers. Straight ahead rock n roll with clever hooks marks the band's sound on their self-titled debut LP with such tracks as LIAR, SOLDIER BOY and LUCKY ONE providing the rah rah rah on this raucous debut. Of course, the band's flawless rock n roll execution - done with the assist of prodicer MATT MERCADO - was never in question given the resumes of the men who round out the line up of THE OUTFIT. MIKE GORMAN hails from the legendary Chicago bands PEZBAND and OFFBROADWAY and front mand and rhythm guitarist ANDY MITCHELL whose past bands include DISH, VERONA and 9 VOLT. ROCKWIRED had a chance to speak with ANDY MITCHELL regarding THE OUTFIT's self-titled release. Here is how the interview went.
It looks all of the members of THE OUTFIT are all Chicagoans.
Not me. MATT, MIKE and MARK are born and raised in Chicago. I'm from Arizona. I met MARK quite a few years back and we've remained friends. He's always been involved with the bands that I've played with and we just kind of kept in contact as musician and maintained a friendship through FACEBOOK and all that goodstuff. So those guys are from Chicago. I'm from Arizona.
Now that the debut album from THE OUTFIT is about to drop, how do you feel about the finished work?
We're just super-excited. Watching these songs kind of come together and to have the release date coming we're, just really excited right now. The reactions that we're getting from friends and family and some of the pre-orders have been great and we think that it's a pretty strong record. We think that it can stand up to the other records that are out there. We're just super excited and curious to see how this record is going ot be accepted by the public.
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So with you being based in Arizona and the rest of the members being based in Chicago wht were the logistics like in getting this album finished? Who helped behind the recording console?
This was a very interesting project. I had never done it this way. MATT, MARK and MIKE recorded all of the music at SONIC PALACE in Chicago. It was a different expereince for me. MATT is the guitar player and he and I shared files. I've got a little recorder here and he and I would email ideas back and forth and doing a lot of stuff on phone. We did a lot of filesharing to put this record together. The guys in Chicago recorded the music at SONIC PALACE with MATT MERCADO - a producer based out of Oak Park, Illinois. He is a slave driver. He made sure that everything was super tight. They did the music there and they would send the files to me and I would do all of the vocals and the backing and I came up with some production ideas of my own here at MIND'S EYE DIGITAL RECORDING in Glendale Arizona.
CHECK OUT THE MUSiC ViDEO FOR SOLDiER BOY
It sounds like it's worlds away from simply getting in a room with a band and jamming out.
It was very different. I am a guitar player and I was sending them full songs that I had demoed. They would learn the songs there and would send a video of them playing the song and ask me how I felt about the drum parts or the guitar parts. It was different because I'm so used to being in bands just hammering songs out for three months and getting ready to go into the studio with all of the pre-production and making a record all together. This was very different. With them doing the music several States away, all I could say was, I hope it turns out great. I wasn't there to turn a knob or to help them with the music. Despite all of that it seemed to worked out great. It was fantastic to get those recordings fromt eh guys. They really killed it.
And what are the roll out plans for this album?
I know that we've got radio folks and we've got someone else working in LA for us on a big radio push. Currently we are on about 25 radio stations and most of those are secondary markets but we really want to get get on those bigger markets. We're on WILL ROCK in Chicago but making a big push for radio is what we're looking to do and we're about to go and make a video together in Chicago. Eventually we'll be putting some kind of tour together. We've got some shows booked right now with another PAVEMENT artist called SOIL. We're doing some shows with them in April in Wisconsin and Chicago. We really want to get out there and hammer these songs out for folks that want to see us.
And what was your musical background before this band?
I've been playing in Arizona for quite a while for about twenty-one plus years. My latest band was called THE ANDYS. It was a three-piece band and we were all named ANDY. We were an original rock band very similar to what we're doing now. I had been in that band for about eight years and five years before that I was in a band called 9 VOLT. I sang and played guitar in that band which was signed to PAVEMENT RECORDS back in 1997. So that's kind of my background there.
Describe the writing pocess in this band.
That was different in this band as well. I ussually do all of the writing. I write all of the music and I write the lyrics. When we started this band I got a phone call form MARK NAWARA telling me that he and MATT were working on this song and that they were going into the studio next week and that they wanted me to put some vocals down on the track. They thought that my style would be perfect for it. So they recorded the song and that was how it all started. They sent me the song and I went into MIND'S EYE RECORDING, laid down the vocal tracks, sent it back to them and they said they loved the verses but they wanted to change the chorus because they had a different melody in mind for the chorus. So they sent me new words. MATT literally sang them to me on his iphone. So I went back into the studio and recut the chorus vocals. A lot of these songs on this album like LUCKY ONE and TKO - those were songs that I had written previously. MATT wrote the lyrics for the song JUST AS ONE and most of the lyrics in NO LIGHTS ON. We have shared some duties there in the lyric writing. Despite the filesharing when it came tp the songwriting, it was a real band setting. I'm not sitting here going "I'm the songwriter and this is how it's going ot be played!" We're a real band and we have conversations about how we can make it better and how we can make the lyrics better. I'm pretty lucky in that aspect. These three other guys that I play with are just super-chill super-nice guys.
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What songs off of the album have you particularly excited to get people to hear and why?
The very first song was LIAR. When I first heard it I thought "Wow! This song might have some legs!" because it had that straight head rock riff coming into it and I thought that chorus was hooky as hell. On the flip side of that is LUCKY ONE which has more of a pop sensibility with a dance beat to it. I thought those songs would be the ones that we would be releasing first. It was kind of funny that once we finished the record we ended up releasing SOLDIER BOY first. I remember writing that song and thinking that I liked it. I sent it over to MATT and he put that riff on top of my rhythm and I felt like it made the whole song. So those were the three songs that I thought had some legs.
Have there been any opportunities to test the band and these new songs in front of a live audience?
We have not hit the stage yet. I have been going back and forth to Chicago to rehearse as a band and getting this thing together. We are so excited to hit the stage. Right now, the soonest that we're going to be hitting the stage is April. The album will be coming out in February and hopefully we'll be able to grab some more live dates in March.
What would you like for people to come away with after they hear this band's music?
I'd like for them to come away singing the songs. I really feel like a lot of these songs are super melodic. I'm hoping it's one of those situations where they walk away from the venue singing the songs. I think there are a lot of positive vibes coming from our songs. There are some happy lyrics and some real lyrics and I woul love for people to walk away with a song in their head and thinking "Man! That was a great show!"
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