They may be sneaking their debut full-length Trains and Aeroplanes quietly in during the last week of the year, but really, it’s just setting Modern Inventors up for a great 2013. The band had been plugging away this year, covering McCartney songs and appearing on the air with Helen Leicht, opening shows for Ben Solee at the TLA and Cliff Hills at World Cafe Live at the Queen, and sneaking up to Brooklyn for a Backyard Brunch session.With the album out, we get to hear the full range of a group that started out as a collaboration between singer-songwriters Matt Kass and Josh Benus. I caught up with Kass over e-mail today to get the details on Trains and Aeroplanes and more.
The Key: You perform often as an acoustic duo or trio, but the album has a lot of range – there’s big rock moments that might be unexpected, depending on how people were introduced to the Modern Inventors. Did you want the record to stretch your sound, or was the bigger rock-ness always in the cards?
Matt Kass: I think we’ve always wanted to have a full band, and the duo and trio thing is just a way for us to perform in situations where a band normally wouldn’t be appropriate. It’s great for support sets, because we can come in and play in whatever configuration the headliner wants. But ultimately, when we’re writing these songs, we’re thinking of the full band arrangement. I think as we play more and do more of our own shows, you’ll find us playing with a full band.
TK: You and Josh originally began working together because you were going to produce his solo record. How did it turn into a new band? Was there a moment in the studio where it “clicked?”
MK: Well, Josh and I have known each other for like 6 years now. He played in a band that used to open for my old band, The Brakes when we would play in New England. He came to a Brakes show at Mercury Lounge in 2008 and asked me to produce his solo record. I liked the idea, and I could tell my band was winding down, so I jumped at the chance to make his record.
We went into the studio under the assumption that this was going to be a solo record, but as we started writing and recording, it became clear to me that this could be more than just a producing thing. The songs that he was writing, and the direction we were taking the project became very similar to the sound I had in my head… Continue reading