by LUKE BAUMGARTEN & r & & r & & lt;span class= & quot;dropcap & quot; & L & lt;/span & ast summer, after a hell of a year -- they were an Inlander Buzzworthy Band, they won the prestigious SoundOff! at Experience Music Project (EMP), they graduated from high school -- For Years Blue moved to Seattle, jettisoned almost half their band, changed their name to the Globes and kinda fell off of our radar for a bit. They're back with a slew of new songs and a new year packed with shows at well-respected venues around the Northwest (Portland's Towne Lounge, Seattle's Vera Project and the frickin' Showbox). We caught up with singer and guitarist Erik Walters before his gig at the Vera.
So give me the breakdown: what's different about the band now that you're the Globes?
Well, a lot actually. We're a four-piece now. We've pared down quite a bit, which has forced us to change musically.
In what way?
[Our sound is] just a lot different ... It's a lot more raw. I don't know how to say this ... it has a lot more room to breathe, since there's not as much going on. We just give the music a lot more space. It's simpler in a lot of ways and more to the point.
Is the life of the band different as well?
It's still the same, we just live over [in Seattle] now. We're doing the same things, playing out as much as we can.
Oh, well, we met an engineer named Jonathan Warman from Orbit Audio the first week or so that we were here. We made fast friends with him. He's going to be helping us record a full-length that we've been writing for and recording demos for. He's been introducing us to a lot of bands and people in the scene. It's been exciting and hectic and crazy. We've never played this many shows.
We're doing a mini-tour with a band Don't Tell Sofie who we played against in the SoundOff.
I guess living together is the biggest thing that's changed. It's going really well. It helps with writing.
Why'd you pare down? Was it a factor of the move?
Yes and no. We had a violinist [Phil Pinter] go off to college, and Cole Tanner, our old bass player, [went too]. Paring down has forced us to be more creative individually to fill the space. When we record, the songs will sound a lot different than the way they sound live. We've been writing these new songs as we record, which has helped the songwriting.
The instant feedback of recording?
Yeah, just being able to pick out immediately what's working and what's dragging. It makes for better songs and it speeds up the songwriting.
So the recorded stuff will be more complex than live?
Probably more parts, but nothing that'll be missed live. The textures and the music will sound different, but I think it'll be more interesting and give contrast between the live show and the record. We'll see what happens. We've talked about adding a fifth member but we haven't found one yet. Sometimes it feels like we need an extra set of hands.
Like there's that crescendo at the end of [new song] "Varbury" that makes great use of violin, but you don't have a violinist anymore...
Yeah, I think we will for the record. We definitely want to get Phil to record with us, but we're not going to rely on strings as much as we did. We're going to go into recording with a basic structure and let it unfold. Jonathan is really willing to experiment. He's a great engineer but he's young, so he sees this as a learning experience. I think it'll be fun for him and for us as well.
Is Kyle [Musselwhite, the band's virtuosic, prog-leaning guitarist] using a bigger pedal board now?
Yeah, Kyle's got all sorts of stuff. He's actually pared down though. He's still experimenting with pedals. We've been borrowing a lot from Jonathan and Orbit Audio, just playing around. It's been fun.
You have "Varbury" and two demos tracked. How many new songs total do you have?
We have a ton.
How many will make the album?
Do you know which ten?
No, we're going to record more than ten and pare it down.
Are you still playing FYB songs or do you feel like you're done with those?
Yeah, there's still a lot of older songs that we're playing, but we're writing a lot of new stuff.
Would any make the first Globes album?
You've put together a nice string of dates through the next few months. What was it like nailing those down?
When we first moved, I was intimidated by it, but there's so many bands and they're so willing to play. This woman who books for the Nectar Lounge has helped us out. This guy named Matt who works for Nada Mucho has helped. I've just been on MySpace non-stop talking with bands. So far it hasn't been that difficult.
How'd you get that show at the Showbox? That's impressive.
A band from SoundOff! called the Army Corps of Architects worked it out. They were playing the show and talked to someone and got us on.
So it seems like your win at the EMP SoundOff! was less beneficial for the prizes and more beneficial for networking with other bands.
I think that's a good way to put it. We made a lot of good friends, with Don't Tell Sophie especially. Despite the Bumbershoot thing and the studio time, I think that was the best thing that came of it -- the connections.
The Globes with Don't Tell Sophie and Karli Fairbanks at the Empyrean on Monday, Jan. 14, at 7 pm. $5. Call 838-9819.