Hidden away in a south city studio, the band has used the leave of absence to record two new albums. The first, to be released on iTunes on January 23, is entitled "Jungle's Going to Be on my Mind." No strangers to strange, single "Ninety-Eight" shrieks with off-kilter pop. I caught drummer Louis Wall (who also recorded the album) via the phone while he was enjoying a sunny Los Angeles morning to discuss the album's themes and the self-recording process.
Matt Stuttler: Who was involved in recording "Jungle's going to be on my Mind"?
Louis Wall: Josiah Deboer, Kyle Mcconaghy, Nate Drexler and myself.
What has Jumbling Towers been up to since your last show at LouFest in 2011?
We've been recording this album non-stop, and we've been recording a follow-up album as well. We've spent the last year and a half recording two albums, basically.
How did you decide what tracks would be on "Jungle's Going to Be on my Mind"?
We had a huge batch of songs, and then we found a few that worked really well. From there, we built the album around their style.
What was the recording process like? What did you do with this recording that you may not have done in the past?
We built a studio, which enabled us to record nonstop.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of self-recording an album?
The advantages are you learn a lot. I don't really see too many disadvantages. It just works out well. You get control, and you can just keep rolling. Then you can let people in to help flesh out the technical stuff. We had Jason McEntire at Sawhorse Studios [in St. Louis] mix most the album, except for "Ninety-Eight," which was mixed by Justin Gerrish.
So in October, you released "Ninety-Eight" as a single with "Our Rehab Neighborhood." Maybe it's just because I'm familiar with some of the local stomping grounds of St. Louis musicians, but the theme reminded me of a certain rehab neighborhood with a Native American tribe name...
I wish we had Josiah [Deboer, lyricist] on the line as well right now, but I'm almost positive the song isn't about a certain neighborhood. It's kind of a fictional place. But the fact that you have a reaction to it, and maybe are projecting a neighborhood onto the idea of the song, in my eyes means the song is successful.
Yeah, kind of like how Bob Dylan and all those great songwriters, when asked "Is this song about such and such?" they would just say "No, but if you want to think that it's about that, then great." That means its actually relatable. Any plans to perform the album live in the future?
Right now, I would say it's a studio album. That doesn't mean there won't be performances of it in the future though. We just don't have any plans to do it live right now.
How is this album different than your past releases? What makes it stand out from Jumbling Towers' back catalogue?
I think there's a little bit more of extremes to "Jungle's Going to Be on my Mind." There are some moments that are pretty fucking strange. Extremely atonal, extremely distorted. To contrast that, there are some moments that are absolutely gorgeous. This album feels a little more comfortable with the range.
Extreme, but of the same cut of Jumbling Towers, right?
Yeah! It's still us. There's still pop songs, for sure.
Does the album have a particular theme?
Josiah addresses occupational/societal issues. There's a lot of talk about economical topics on the album. Just from the song titles, you can differ a theme, like "My Country," "In a Recession" and "At the Cashier's Station." The first song on the album is "Alejandro Isn't Furious." It's about a team of landscapers, and has a lot to say about their issues.
What's coming up for Jumbling Towers?
After we release "Jungle's Going to Be on my Mind," we'll be consistently releasing singles all throughout the year. Hopefully, every couple months.
"Ninety-Eight" - Jumbling Towers