Doublepluspop revisited a project that was supposed to be their debut album, a collection of tracks that has been sitting in a vault since 2002. Wanting to create a power pop band, frontman Paul Averitt formed Doublepluspop sometime between the late 90’s/early 00’s.
Last year there was a digital release of Too Loud + Too Fast + Too Much and now Kool Kat Musik is releasing the CD.
Sweet Sweet Music spoke to Paul Averitt about the challenge of getting the right take, the right feel, and the right (or at least interesting) arrangement.
What was the moment you knew you were on to something?
Recorded 20 years ago, released in 2020, CD release in 2021. What’s the story?
Lack of funding, general interest, and enthusiasm. Life gets busy when you’re not watching. Our sound engineer friend Coy Green had acquired a pair of Alesis digital recorders and wanted to get them spinning, so we set them up in the corner of our rehearsal space and did some live takes with overdubs after the fact. Things got less busy on the band front, and the project kind of lapsed.
When Covid-19 hit the planet like reverse-Beatlemania, Coy pulled the now antique recorders out of storage, and fortunately, the tapes still worked. He transferred the tracks into a format he could mix them in. He did a board mix of sorts, and there it is.
How did this record come together?
Slowly. Painfully. As all births.
When did you decide to start asking for opinions on the new songs?
That’s quite an assumption you’ve got there, sonny.
The meaning of success has changed over the years. What would success look like for the new record?
If someone hears it, or even a part of it, that’s success for me. I’m not concerned if they like it, hate it, indifferent, whatever. I’ve done the part I enjoy; writing, recording, and performing them. If someone hears the songs, that’s the most I can hope for lately. The “success” was getting the thing out at all.
Overcoming the odds of any of our music getting through the avalanche of music accessible via the internet now, it’s incredible anyone finds out about any particular album lately, much less ours.
How great is the urge to stay creative? To keep writing songs and lyrics?
Different for different people, but I am and have always been naturally drawn to and focused on the writing of a pop song. There are general rules to the power pop genre, and they make for an exciting challenge. You can’t just free-form it and hope it goes well. It takes thought. It’s an intellectual process just as much as an emotional one.
As an artist, you choose to show your emotions to the world. Is it always comfortable to do so?
It is never comfortable to do so. I’m a very private person, and I always bristle when my lyrics are too revealing. Unfortunately, this is often, especially in my early work, such as this album. Some lines make me cringe. Some because it could’ve been more artfully put from a composition point-of-view, but others for the emoting going down. I should’ve known better.
You can pick three co-writers to write new songs with. Who? … and Why?
I don’t compose well with others. I tried it a few times, and it didn’t really take. Not that some good things didn’t result; it’s just difficult for me. The Leo in me always wants to be in charge, get final edits, etc.
But if I COULD do so with any three? I’m at this moment going to go with John Davis of Superdrag, Steve Carter of Little Jack Melody (who produced our 1999 single), and Andy Partridge of XTC.
I’ve met all three of them, and that sways me a bit because I can see us getting along as writers, though I’m liable to be bowing to their whims in many ways.
But just as I’ve listed them, I feel bad that I didn’t mention Ron Sexsmith or Aimee Mann or Matthew Sweet or Andy Sturmer or a Beatle. But I take it their feelings won’t get hurt.
What’s the gig you will never forget? And why?
A Doublepluspop gig? There was one Thursday night in Dallas where it poured down rain all night, and not one person showed up. That was the only time that ever happened, thank God.
Lyrics are too often taken for granted. What is the line of text, or are the lines of text that you hope listeners will remember? And why?
I tend not to draw attention to certain lyrics so the listener can draw to the lyrics that resonate with them naturally.
I always did, however, like the bridge to “You Can’t Be Serious”:
You’ve been seen causing riots
All over the town
And though the mobs do the damage
You seem so proud that your words sound so faithful
To so many folk
I guess they just don’t get the joke
When was the last time you thought, ‘I just wrote a hit!’?
There hasn’t been a FIRST time. Not going for “hits.” Going for things I like.
Is recording a record easier than getting it heard nowadays?
Heavens yes. Do you have any idea how much music is “released” onto an unsuspecting internet every day? It is impossible to comprehend.
When the recording and manufacturing of music were more “cost-prohibitive,” you had an economic buffer that kept the glut of sub-standard products from the marketplace, more or less.
With the advent of CD manufacturing followed by digital music distribution and a recording studio in everyone’s laptop, we’re awash, nay, DROWNING in a melodramatic backwash. I’m not even discounting MYSELF in that. How’s that for self-reflection?
Cassettes are back. Which 5 five songs would make your first mixtape?
Hm. It would likely start with something peppy like an OK GO song followed close behind with a driving tune from OK GO. Then we’d slow things down with a little OK GO mid-tempo thing. Let’s bring it back up with a funky OK GO song and finish strong with some band covering another band’s classic song, say, OK GO doing “This Will Be Our Year.”
Recording music. What’s all the fun about?
It’s a challenge to get the right take, the right feel, the right (or at least interesting) arrangement. Getting a recording with a unique vibe is always the goal. Most music nowadays seems focused on getting the best “sounding” recording sonically. That is boring to me because it usually isn’t in service to the song; likely the reverse.
Some of the best recordings that I can think of have tracks that are what would be thought of as sub-standard or unusable by today’s standards.
Sorry, we were talking about ‘fun.” It is fun to try different recording techniques, sonic timbres, creative arrangements, or even old standard templates that serve the composition within their framework that might seem pointless in a “standard” reading. The possibilities are endless. How does it all fit together in a successful combination? It’s an adventure.
Playing music in front of a crowd. What’s all the fun about?
Playing music with people you love and respect is a rare thing and should be treated as such. It’s also about the connection between a receptive band and a receptive audience. See Pete Townshend for better words than mine on this subject.
But yeah, when it works, there’s no drug better than that. You never get enough.
You can’t control the way people ‘hear’ your music. But if you could make them aware of certain aspects, you think, set your songs apart. What would they be?
I wouldn’t. Let the songs stand in the listener’s ear however they will, all naked and trembling. It’s not up to me to assign categorization. That would be a disservice to the listener.
They expect ‘the roaring 20s v2.0’. What kind of party are you looking for?