Denver trio Abrams release their debut album Lust. Love. Loss., on June 16. Described as “Post-hardcore, filtered through big Melvins-esque guitar rigs… Abrams find the sweet spot on their independent debut, Lust. Love. Loss., about midway between Hot Snakes and Blood Mountain-era Mastodon, and toss in some great lyrics as well.”
Lust. Love. Loss. was recorded and mixed by Andy Patterson (Cult Leader, SubRosa) and mastered by Brad Boatright (Nails, High on Fire). It follows a 2014 EP, released on Canadian label No List Records (KEN mode).
Ghettoblaster recently caught up with Abrams vocalist/bassist Taylor Iversen to discuss the record. This is what he told us.
When did you begin writing the material for Love. Lust. Loss.?
We began writing the album in earnest immediately after recording our February EP. So sometime around March or April of 2014. Since two of the songs from “February” are also featured in a re-recorded/re-written capacity on Lust. Love. Loss. I suppose it could be argued that we’ve been writing this record since we began.
What was the most difficult song to take from the initial writing stage through recording and mixing? Why was it so troublesome?
The most difficult song for us to put together was probably “Useless.” Zach came up with the main heavy bit of the song, but we struggled for months trying to figure out what to do, as far as adding riffs and verses. At one point it took this strange, but groovy turn to a more Queens/Kyuss sound, but that never felt right. We only really finalized its form shortly before leaving for our West coast tour and recording sessions last December. I think it was so difficult because it was inherently so different from everything else we’d written so far. A lot of our earlier completed songs featured more driving rhythms and spastic melodies, but “Useless” is slow paced with this heavy, kind of slamming melody.
Which of the songs on the record is most different from your original concept for the song?
The first track of the record, “Manic” was originally conceived almost as an afterthought. Zach and I felt the album deserved one more song, and thought that we could make a quick little outro to add variety to the record. We spent a lot of time jamming in our basement while we were between drummers, and it quickly evolved into a much more substantial and catchy thing. When Zach’s twin brother Mike finally got into the practice space with us, all the pieces fell together and we decided it would be better to begin the album with it instead of end the album with it because it became such a strong piece.
Did you have any guest musicians play or sing on the record?
There were no guest musicians, but Patrick Alberts from Call of the Void had been sitting in with us since the beginning, coming to our practices and offering insight to various aspects of the record. He spent a lot of time listening to our riffs, demos, and offering suggestions on what parts should stay, go, change or evolve. I’d say he was an essential influence, which is why we list him as one of the producers of the album.
What input did Andy Patterson have that changed the face of the record?
Andy is great in that he knows exactly what a band needs to record the best album possible. For us, we recorded Lust. Love. Loss. in the five days following an eleven day tour up the West Coast in December. He hooked us up with a plethora of model T’s and Hex Cabs, as well as the best recording equipment available and just let us go at it. Playing the record each night for the preceding two weeks allowed us to lay the instruments down in one and a half days. The hardest part of the record were the vocals, and when we had reached our limit for the day, he knew when to tell us to just pack it in and go relax for a while. Andy has been our friend for years and we basically moved into his house for that week. His place is very comfortable and is very much like a second home to us. When we weren’t recording we were relaxing with some locally brewed ales, silly dogs and almost too many episodes of “Greys Anatomy,” with his wife. It was the ideal way to record: hard work, and hard rest.
Is there an overarching concept behind your new album that ties the record together?
There wasn’t supposed to be, but it turns out we made one anyway. That’s how we came up with the title. Most of our lyrics deal with darker aspects of everyday life, such as disappointment in oneself and others, as well as personal loss whether familial or romantic. A lot of it has to do with the mundane way people live their lives, selling their good hours to a job that allows them to live on the margins of enjoyment. The title refers to the stages one experiences in many relationships. Lust is the period of intense wanting, desire, and imagination. Love is the period of enjoyment and perfect contentment. Loss is the inescapable period where that person, or that thing you enjoyed is no longer with you. Nothing lasts, and death is a certainty. If you’re among the living you’re going to experience each of those things in turn throughout your life.
Have you begun playing these songs live and which songs have elicited the strongest reaction from your fans?
We only play songs off this album at this point. We’re going on a month long tour of the Eastern U.S. this summer and you’ll see most of these songs if you catch us then. Probably the song that elicits the biggest fan reaction is the final song of both our album and our current set. “The Light.” It’s about dealing with the loss of a loved one through suicide or drugs, and I think those emotions come through clearly in the instrumentation of the song. It’s a long build to an explosive climax that many fans have told us impacted them in some way or another. It always leaves us drained, and we put it at the end of the set so that we could expend all our remaining energy and showcase it through that song. If set times weren’t an issue we could probably play the outro of that song for another ten minutes and never get bored, but alas we come back to that inescapable fact that nothing lasts.
(Abrams hits the road in June for a full U.S. tour:
Jun 18 – Denver, CO @ 3 Kings Tavern
Jun 19 – Santa Fe, NM @ The Dave Cave
Jun 20 – Austin, TX @ The Lost Well
Jun 23 – Springfield, MO @ Outland Ballroom
Jun 24 – Nashville, TN @ Turn One
Jun 25 – Lexington, KY @ Best Friends Bar
Jun 27 – Chapel Hill, NC @ The Cave
Jun 28 – Norfolk, VA @ Pancho n’ Luigi’s
Jun 29 – Baltimore, MD @ Ottobar
Jun 30 – Philadelphia, PA @ Kung Fu Necktie
Jul 1 – Boston, MA @ O’Brien’s
Jul 2 – Albany, NY @ The Treehouse
Jul 3 – Brooklyn, NY @ Acheron
Jul 4 – Rochester, NY @ Flour City Station
Jul 5 – Pittsburgh, PA @ The Smiling Moose
Jul 6 – Chicago, IL @ Burlington Bar
Jul 7 – Milwaukee, WI @ The Cocoon
Jul 8 – Madison, WI @ The Vault
Jul 9 – St Paul, MN @ Big V’s
Visit them here: http://facebook.com/abramsrock)