Teen Men is the self-titled debut album from the Delaware-based four piece audio/visual group. The album was recorded at The Garden Center and Paper Lab Recording studios in Delaware and engineered, mixed and produced by band member Nick Krill. It was released on CD and digitally June 9 and on LP vinyl July 14 on the Bar/None label, home to a long line of adventurous but melodically-obsessed artists.
Teen Men comprises two musicians Nick Krill and Joe Hobson (members of The Spinto Band) and two visual artists Albert Birney (creator of the Simply Sylvio series on Vine) and artist Catharine Maloney (who has exhibited internationally and has a Master of Fine Arts from Yale University). The resultant music is an ambitious blending of tunefully trippy melodies delivered via guitars, synthesizers, and vocals, with impertinent samples and haunting, atmospheric ambient electronics. These performances are audio/visual experiments; innovative, individualistic and concise, reflecting a love of the pop thrill and a dedication to classic song craft.
In concert Teen Men perform along to a home-made interactive video that is synchronized to the music. The video provides an interactive platform for the band members and audience.
The members of Teen Men didn’t start working together with the conscious goal of “making a band.” Longtime friends, Nick, Joe and Albert decided to collaborate on a quick and spontaneous one-off project involving music and video. The idea was an attempt to reawaken and become inspired after completing especially intense projects in their respective fields (a Spinto Band recording for Nick and Joe and a feature film titled The Beast Pageant for Albert).
After viewing what they created they decided to make more and invited friends to come participate. Catharine started showing up at sessions and then was assimilated into the project. After a few months, the four realized they’d created a body of work and that’s when the project was christened “Teen Men”. The term, taken from an advertisement in a 1960s Playboy, is a state of mind which anyone can imbibe in. To be a Teen Man involves taking risks, irrational self-confidence, and the search for new experiences.
Ghettoblaster recently caught up with Krill to discuss the endeavor. This is what he told us.
When did you begin writing the material for Teen Men?
A few songs were started way back in 2011. They were never intended to become songs by a real band. Then in the summer of 2013 we got together and recorded a few more songs and realized we had a body of work we wanted to share. That is when Teen Men became a real band.
What was the most difficult song to take from the initial writing stage through recording and mixing? Why was it so troublesome?
Maybe “René.” Originally we recorded it with all these distorted guitarlike a big alt-rock Toadies jam. Then we reversed some of the audio, and slowly stripped away the alt rock stuff until it became the synth jam that it is today. It took a lot of work to get that tune to a place we were happy with, but it never felt troublesome….just a trial and error process. It was one of the first songs we ever collaborated on, so with that song in particular we were kind of finding out what the heck we were doing as a group.
Which of the songs on the record is most different from your original concept for the song?
Also, it was probably “René.” We originally thought it would be fun to make an alt-rock Toadies jam, but then realized that we had no business trying to be the Toadies.
Did you have any guest musicians play or sing on the record?
Yes, Jeff Hobson plays drums on “Rene,” Rick Flom plays keyboards on “Fall out a tree,” and our friends Dan Lane and Maurice Dowdry both helped us with the song “Kids Being kids.”
Who produced the record? What input did that person have that changed the face of the record?
I was also the producer. Since I’m a band member it is hard to say how his input changed the face of the record. The band’s style and my ideas for the album were both developed at the same time.
Is there an overarching concept behind your new album that ties the record together?
The overarching concept for us was to try and make music and videos at the same time and have the videos inspire the songs and vice versa. When we play live we have a synchronized video projection…and from the beginning out band was created to be a video and music collaboration.
Have you begun playing these songs live and which songs have elicited the strongest reaction from your fans?
Yes, we have started to play the songs live. We are on tour across the U.S. right now opening for Clap Your Hands Say Yeah. The song that seems to get the biggest response is one called “Chase Your Destruction.” It is a song that actually didn’t make it on the album, but will be on our next record.
(Visit the band here:
Band home page– http://teenmenmusic.com