Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club. Because No News is Bad News.

Friday, May 8, 2020

Veteran Local Drummer Helped Shape the Songs on the New You’re Among Friends Album

Posted By on Fri, May 8, 2020 at 1:57 PM

click to enlarge COURTESY OF YOU'RE AMONG FRIENDS
  • Courtesy of You're Among Friends
Friends from the local music scene, singer-guitarist Anthony Doran and bassist Kevin Trask formed the indie rock act You’re Among Friends in 2007, and while the group took some time off in the early 2010s, it returned to recording and playing live in time to celebrate its tenth anniversary in 2017.

Since celebrating that milestone, the band has added new drummer Mike Janowitz (Blue Lunch, Mr. Downchild), and just this week, it released Start Making Sense, the first album to feature him on drums.



“It’s been a huge change to have Mike,” says Doran in a recent Zoom call with Trask and Janowitz. “He’s our seventh or eighth drummer. Mike is great. We have had some drummers who are great technical drummers and skilled, but they often treat us like we’re a stepping stone to the next gig. And then, we’ve had some cool, nice guy drummers, who aren’t that great at drumming. Mike is the best of both worlds. He’s the best drummer we’ve ever played with.”

Doran and Trask say Janowitz helped shape the songs on Start Making Sense.

“He improves our songs,” says Trask. “These songs came out a billion times better because of his input.”

Last year, Doran and Trask started assembling the songs for the album.

“As we worked through the songs, we wanted to make each arrangement different,” says Doran. “We didn’t want anything too similar in terms of rhythms and tempos. Having the input of the full group really helped.”

The group recorded at Trask’s house in Mentor prior to the COVID-19 shutdown.

“It was different in that it was a routine this time around,” says Doran when asked about the recording sessions. “On our previous releases, we would just record whenever we had time between gigs and record maybe once or twice a month. This time, every Sunday, we got together at Kevin’s house and started rehearsing. We would learn a couple of new songs each time. That was nice to have that routine worked out.”

The album begins with the punchy “Take It All In,” a track that draws from the Grateful Dead’s poppier side (think “Touch of Grey”). Another highlight, the quirky “Once the Toothpaste Is Out of Its Tube,” features lurching guitars and off-kilter tempo changes.

“There’s a lot of negativity going around right now,” says Doran. “You get mixed messages. I think a little kindness goes a long way right now. I have a 6-year-old son in kindergarten and 17-month old daughter. It might seem childish, but that kind of message needs to get out there with these kids.”

“Hills You’re Willing to Die On,” a song that begins with a thick bass riff, offers a change of pace as it has a jazzy feel, albeit with sneering vocals.

“It was during the impeachment hearings that the lyrics came to me,” says Doran of the track. “We’re all divided, and we can’t communicate any more because we’re all set in our ways. The piece that made the song stand out was when Mike came up with that drumbeat.”

“It was the first thing we played together,” adds Janowitz. “We had never played together before. It was this organic flowing of ideas. It just clicked with all of us.”

Because of the COVID-19 shutdown, the band wasn’t able to schedule a release party for the album, but members say they're anxious to start playing the new songs live.

“We haven’t been in the same room since February,” says Doran. “It’s really weird, but we kept going with the album and let it happen naturally. I got my vocals done in early April. I was half-serious, but I told my wife that I wanted to get them done in case I got sick. I tried to do vocals after the kids went to bed. I finished them in early April and sent the files to Kevin for mixing. It’s been a long process getting it done, but now we’re here and we’re happy it’s out. We want to get together to start practicing as soon as we can to play all the songs. We might just have to practice on Zoom first.”

Sign up for Scene's weekly newsletters to get the latest on Cleveland news, things to do and places to eat delivered right to your inbox.

Tags: , , ,

Cleveland Scene works for you, and your support is essential.

Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of Cleveland and beyond.

Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.

Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep Cleveland's true free press free.

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Newsletters

Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

Calendar

© 2020 Cleveland Scene: 737 Bolivar Rd., Suite 4100, Cleveland, OH 44115, (216) 241-7550
Logos and trademarks on this site are property of their respective owners.


Website powered by Foundation