Electric Forest Reflections with The String Cheese Incident
The new album, Song in My Head, is fantastic. How’s the response been?
Nershi: It’s been a pretty positive response. I’ve heard a lot of people say it’s their favorite String Cheese album yet, you know. So that’s cool to hear after making seven albums or something like that.
What was it like working with Jerry Harrison (of the Talking Heads)? Does he have his fingerprints all over the album? What does he bring to the table?
Kang: Well it’s a little different because Jerry stepped in once we’d already picked a lot of stuff, and he wasn’t there right from the beginning. Although him being there definitely—he put his fingerprints on it— but I think in some ways what made it successful was there was already a strong imprint of what we wanted to sound like beforehand. He didn’t really fuck with that too much, which is probably why we’re so happy with it. It was kind of organic. Sometimes a producer will get an idea of how they want the band to sound and the band’s just sitting there like, “We’re supposed to sound like what?” But it was cool, and he definitely had creative input.
Hann: The way him and his engineer, ET, work together, they just trust each other’s instincts. ET, I thought he had great ears on him. Like, “Yes, let’s keep that. No, we gotta do that over again.” But it really felt like he was honest about it, and when Jerry saw that he had an opinion about something, he would be like, “Yeah, go ET.”
You guys have been debuting a number of songs this summer and Kyle was also telling me the other day that you’ve got some new material. Is there another album in the works?
Kang: You know, we’ve never really been the kind of band that goes into the studio and writes a bunch of tunes. We tend to, for better or for worse, work it out on the road. So even the songs on the last album, most of them had been played out quite a bit first to work out the kinks. So, we’d like to record them, and maybe one of these days we’ll actually record songs before we play them live. But that doesn’t seem to be how we do it, we tend to work things out on the road and see how it works.
Nershi: We’re just so excited about when we have new material, that we wanna play it live pretty much as soon as we feel it’s up and running.. And the funny thing about making that album was, about a month after we had finished that album, or after the album came out, we had five new songs beyond what was on the album. Everybody was like “Oh, now I have all these other new ideas,” and really—making the album, getting that stuff down—I think it helped clear the table for more new material to come out.
Sam: Speaking of new material, I’ve noticed that Jason and Travis have been switching up on the drums for some of the new songs What’s up with that?
Nershi: Travis gets tired.
Kang: Now that he’s 68.
Hann: His hair’s so grey it’s turning black again.
Travis: I think, to address the original question, that Jason and I have both different styles on two different stations, and sometimes it just feels more appropriate to switch up to get a new flavor because we’re both versed at either. So it’s just fun to just give it a little kick in the pants.
So Suwannee Hulaween is returning this year. Is this shaping up to be something of a tradition from now on?
Moseley: Hope so, yeah. Worked so great last year. That’s the plan.
Nershi: Annual event!
Hann: The way that that place is set up, it like it could grow the same way Electric Forest has grown. It seems like it could really be that in Suwannee, with the way they treat the swamps down there and the amazing moss covered trees. The setting down there’s quite a bit different, but its just as lush, and has the same kind of potential as the forest.
I’ve also noticed there’s no Horning’s this year either. Is there a reason for that?
Moseley: Let’s just say we’re taking a break from it for now. Maybe we’ll go back. Who knows?