We moved our stuff into drummer Chris Pagnani’s basement in January 2016. We hadn’t been in a space writing music together since January 2014. We got right to work recording demos.
A friend once said he’d love to hear what a Mutts pop record would sound like. In all of our driving over the previous 5 years, I found myself turning to pop and hip hop on late night drives to stay awake. A song is magic when you haven’t heard it in 20 years but you can remember all the words – and the feeling you had when it was new. And it’s amazing when you hear a new song that sounds instantly familiar, yet you dig in and find new things to latch onto with each listen.
So part of the mentality in these writing sessions, at least on my end, was to try my hand at making a Mutts pop record.
We started tracking in May 2016. We went to Rick Fritz because we had enjoyed working with him so much on our Audiotree sessions. He gets things set up and sounding good so fast that you feel like you’re just there hanging out, and suddenly you have a record.
At that time, it was just Let’s Go and Neighbor. We hadn’t put out new original music in so long, we just wanted to get a couple singles done and make some music videos.
In 2016 I played regularly at the High Hat Club, winner of the inaugural Best Malort Bar in Chicago competition. My night was called “Collab/Corrupt.” I played a set on piano, a friend played a set, and then we would close the night out playing a few of each other’s songs.
In the spirit of collaboration, we also wanted to feature some pals on these new Mutts tracks, so we called up Archie Powell and Jennifer Hall.
We put the singles out, and then tracked three more songs, including Chris’ first writing contribution, Don’t Touch It.
Then, a bunch of things happened. Chris decided to leave the band. The High Hat Club closed. We played Hemmingbirds’ last show – the latest of so many great bands we came up with to throw in the towel. Then our tour van died. It was a lot to process, and we weren’t sure we were going to be able to be a band anymore, much less put out this new music.
Enter Ian Tsan. We met Ian through mutual friend Phillip-Michael Scales, and he filled Chris 2.0’s giant shoes really well. He learned 30 of our songs overnight, and we did a bunch of cool shows.
We called the EP “Stick Together” and finally released it in September 2017.
It felt like there was more to be said on that topic, so we got to work on another group of the songs, back at Audiotree Studios with Rick Fritz, this time with Ian on drums. Those songs plus Stick Together will be called Stuck Together, and we’ll tell you all about it when we fund this Kickstarter with your help!
Thank you for listening and reading. Your support is everything to us.