For the last several years Andrew Seward wrote music when he wasn’t crisscrossing the country with Against Me! This music was for him and reflected on his experiences in life and as a father. He had no intention of releasing any of the songs until his departure from the band allowed him to focus on the project full time. Now at his most creative place in years, Seward is finally ready to introduce his fans to Human Parts.
Human Parts, which along with Seward consists of vocalist/wife Verite Seward, vocalist Kim Helm, guitarist Dave Kotinsley) and Andy “Pants” Schwich, began to evolve organically after Seward enlisted the help of his wife, daughter, nephew, friends and various other people from the Gainesville music community. Recording when he could, where he could and with whom he could, he managed to craft an endearing, personal collection of songs that give a glimpse into his life. And the record manages to reference punk’s past and present while effortlessly implementing elements from other genres the same way the Dead Kennedys did with surf guitar or Subhumans did with progressive rock.
Ultimately Human Parts is about Seward’s experiences as a father, friend and former band member but none of these songs are about outside influences as much as they’re a glimpse into Andrew’s own thought processes, which includes the positives as well as the insecurities.
Ghettoblaster asked Seward some questions about the self-titled album, which hits the streets on September 10. This is what he told us…
When did you begin writing the material for your most recent album?
About half of the songs were written over a course of two years in between touring and during down time at home. The other half were written early spring. All of them were fleshed out and turned into what they are around March, April, and May.
What was the most difficult song to take from the initial writing stage through recording and mixing? Why was it so troublesome?
Is it an acceptable answer to say all of them? This whole recording was a risk. I took two people who had never sung in a band before, put a mic in front of them, and threw them in the deep end. No real learning curve for them. I just wanted what came out to be what came out. It’s a very honest record. The flaws are there for a reason. It’s the sound of four people figuring it out and having a blast doing it in the process.
Which of the songs on the record is most different from your original concept for the song?
“Work On Not Working” went through the most revisions. I have versions where I’m playing a completely different drum beat and different guitar parts. It was always a work in progress. Knew something was there, but it took a while to find it.
Who produced the record? What input did that person have that changed the face of the record?
We all produced the record in a way. I tried to get everyone’s best performance, but I didn’t want to badger them to get it. Just wanted everyone to be comfortable with what they were doing. It really is a very raw record. It is what it is. That being said….I am proud of what it is. No attempt to edit things into place or get one snare hit absolutely perfect. Just roll with it, and if you don’t want to roll with it…. why do you care?
Did you have any guest musicians play or sing on the record?
Our good friend and tattoo artist, Dave Kotinsley plays some guitar on this. He loves metal and all the pick slides you hear are him. Other guitar parts as well, but we all know pick slides are the most important.
Is there an overarching concept behind your new album that ties the record together?
Overall concept is just my life at this time. I would record this after washing dishes all day at a pizza restaurant. My release would be coming home, playing with my kid for the rest of the day, and then recording when she went to sleep. It was therapeutic and amazing.
Have you begun playing these songs live and which songs have elicited the strongest reaction from your fans?
Out first show is at The Fest in Gainesville. Going to play a surprise show around town before that. We can’t hit The Fest cold…
(Human Parts play Nov 1-3 – Gainesville, FL – The Fest. For more information: http://www.humanpartsband.com/. Watch Human Parts new video for “The Rumble” at http://youtu.be/-na5dgnXnLE.)