Shaky Knees Festival Interview with The Whigs
It’s always rewarding to catch a band in their hometown state of mind – anticipation is always a little higher, everything’s cranked up a little louder, and the fans always dance a little harder. Athens’ The Whigs, fresh off their fifth album Modern Creation, put on a hometown rock n’ roll clinic this past weekend at the 2014 Shaky Knees Festival.
We caught up with lead singer and guitarist Parker Gispert after their impressive show at Atlantic Station:
Blue Indian: I’m sitting here with Parker from The Whigs, and just want to start by saying
rockin’ show. It was the perfect environment — lots of concrete, the entire Atlantic Station
Parker: Thanks. Hell yeah, I really appreciate it. Indeed. The rock was resonating off the asphalt. It was nice.
Blue Indian: How does it feel to be back home performing before family and friends?
Parker: So incredibly good. Lot of familiar faces in the crowd and got to hang out before and
after the show with old friends, so Shaky Knees is definitely a nice homecoming.
Blue Indian: And your new-ish home Nashville, it’s treating you guys well?
Parker: It’s been really good. We’ve been living up there for a little over 2.5 years and it’s really
laid back, pretty small vibe. It’s been a nice place to come relax and make music. We’re getting
a little more gel in our hair since we’ve moved there… no, no just kidding. It hasn’t changed our
style, but I’ve definitely been influenced by some of the country, you know I didn’t deal with a
lot of country growing up, so it’s been really cool for me to be able to dive in to checking out a
lot of the old school country artists. It’s been inspiring musically.
Blue Indian: Let’s talk about your new album, Modern Creation. Tell me about the recording
process on the fifth album.
Parker: We knew before we started writing the record, we wanted to record quickly. We didn’t want the end result to sound over thought or to sound super processed. We knew we wanted to make a raw record and the only way to do that was to set the process up so that we we’re going to have to do it quickly. We were going to have to do the preparation before we hit the
studio, we were going to have to be well rehearsed so that we could roll the tape, and how we performed in that small snapshot of time, was going to be the document and the record. I think it turned out fantastic and how we wanted it to turn out. It was a success for us.
Blue Indian: So, is it one big live take?
Parker: We’d get in the studio and track it as a band, make sure we liked the instrumental take,
then I would sing it, and then we would mix it. All in one day. And then print it. Go home that
night with a new song done, everyday. It took us 14 days total, but the album was done in 12.
Just cranking it out!
Blue Indian: How was it working with producer Jim Scott (Tom Petty, Wilco & more)?
Parker: So awesome working with Jim. We’ve worked with someone different on every record. You know, in a longer session maybe there’s more of a time that you’re sorta feeling each other out or getting to know the producer, with Jim we just felt an immediate connection to him. He had come to Nashville before we started tracking and I just felt like we were in super good experienced hands and that allows you to focus on doing your job which is performing. It was great.
Blue Indian: What was your lyrical process?
Parker: I try to write lyrics first, but it normally doesn’t resort to a song. So on this particular
record, the title track “Modern Creation” and the last song “The Difference Between One and
Two,” I had lyrics first. Which is rare. Then the rest of them, it started on the guitar, a riff, a
melody, and from that point I was writing lyrics to fit a preexisting melody.
Blue Indian: Talk about your most recent Late Show with David Letterman gig. You guys have
been on there a lot, right?
Parker: Yes, it was our fourth time on the show. Such a fun experience. You know, every time
feels like the first time. Such a special place and theatre. With so much history with The Beatles
and the Ed Sullivan Show, it’s really just a huge honor to play on that show and work with that
crew. From the ground level to Dave, it’s just such a quality operation and such a legit group of
people. It’s definitely been a fun musical and life experience.
Blue Indian: Last question, on a scale from 1 to Blondie’s wig, how likely are you to end up at Clermont Lounge this weekend?
Parker: (Long pause, then laughs) 1.
Blue Indian: Good answer. Thanks so much for chatting with us.
Parker: Thank you! Rock on.