New Sincerity Works is releasing their 3rd album, Wonder Lust on September 19th! The new album is ten songs about hearts, lips, Kentucky on Ohio, and the comings and goings of the luster, lore and lure of love and lust.
We were able to get our hands on a pre-release from the album! Take a listen to “Find a Way Home!”
We sat down with Mike Tittel of New Sincerity Works to discuss all things Wonder Lust!
Tell us about the writing process for Wonder Lust…
This record actually started as a series of songs to accompany a photo book that was going to be published. The working title for the photo book was “Love Songs”. I wrote most of the songs the holiday week of Thanksgiving in 2015. In the end, I decided to not publish the book, but the songs lived on as Wonder Lust.
It was interesting writing songs to accompany photographs. The photographs felt very specific in a way that I felt was a bit too defined and personal. They were literally photographs of people I had loved, places I had been and scenes of my life. The songs ended up finding their way to be more about the feelings I got when looking at the photographs and less about the content within the photograph. And that’s when the record started coming to life, once I got away from the details of the photos. The songs ended up being songs about love, lust and everything that comes and goes with that. They are not really love songs but songs about the various aspects of love.
The writing process was simple and fairly urgent which I find to be two important elements to getting projects completed. The songs were written quickly on acoustic guitar with 95% of the lyrics and arrangements thought out. I usually start with a first line of a verse and try to eek out some resemblance of a pleasant melody. That is usually how it starts. I use a pen and paper as I write and I tend to cut pieces of lyrics apart with scissors and tape them back together in more interesting sequences. As I work through a body of songs there is a lot of hand assembling of the words. It looks like a Kindergarten class lol. I try to stay away from computers as long as possible as I think sometimes they can hinder the process with too many options, distractions and nuance.
I would then sketch the song out in my studio at Fruit Hill starting with a drum track and my vocals and guitar. Once I had about 20 songs cobbled together I brought the rest of the band in. Bob, Roger, Lauren, Mike and Greg would pretty much contribute whatever they saw fit. We would usually have something within 2-3 takes. The album was recorded over the course of a few months. As I wanted to do vinyl this time around I held steady to a 44-minute record so about ten of the songs never made it and had to be left behind.
We used as much vintage and new analog gear as we could before we put the tracks into ProTools. And frankly we pretty much treat ProTools as tape at this point. We don’t do a whole lot of editing or fixing things. All the drums on the record are pretty much one to to takes with an occasional edit. Same with the guitars and bass. And as I think of it the initial drum tracks were recorded in Apple Garage Band. It’s a pretty primitive record when it comes down to it.
Mike Landis spent the next year mixing it. It spanned a bit of time because he was busy with other projects but also we were upgrading our studio gear so we had a few stops and starts that were created by having to install new equipment. The good news is each time we restarted the mixing the mixes improved.
Late in the process of recording this record, Lauren Bray became involved and added some vocals to the album which really augmented the sound in a pleasant way. I really liked the way it all happened and many of our new songs figure a distinct male and female vocal overlay that I am excited about. She makes my miserable and melancholy tendencies sound a bit more uplifting.
I love how the recording of the album was produced with minimal editing and the live feel. What inspired to go that route?
It’s certainly a counter-intuitive approach to what is happening on FM radio now. But of course, real musicians playing together is how most of our favorite albums were made. Frankly toiling away in a computer, moving beats around and layering things on and off, to me personally, is just a nightmare scenario. And everybody does it. You can hear it in their work. The perfectionist leanings where you can’t hear what was played and what was manufactured by a computer is just an odd idea to a guy who grew up playing in garage bands and playing out live. And I’m not saying there is anything wrong with creating music like that. But it’s not why I got into music, personally. I think these songs come alive when people contribute what is in their heart and to quickly capture it gives the recording a fresh and off the cuff feel. And that suits the songs and the style. So that was our creative brief.
What is planned for the release?
We have a lot going on. Of course, we’ll do our best to sell it and promote it. The fact that we have vinyl, cd and digital download is interesting. I have been surprised that the preorder on the vinyl LP has outpaced the other formats!
We created two really cool videos for the release. David Morrison shot a wonderfully ridiculous video for us this past winter. It was literally snowing, raining with major winds and we look utterly miserable but it was fun. The song is “Just Like Vapor”, so look for that next week!
We had another video created by a new talent Liz Schmidt. She’ s a really unique designer, illustrator and she did a very cool lyric video for us that features some really sprited illustration work. The song is called “Love to Love the Love”. That airs this month too.
We should have a handful of dates to promote it live. Our last show at The Woodward was phenomenal and I’d love to get back there or MOTR so we are working on that.
Also local press has been great. Besides you guys, Cincinnati Magazine is running an interview on us in the October issue. Hopefully we can share some of the music with a wider audience this time around. We’ll be trying to break out of Cincinnati this time around and see what press and listening we can get to start happening. We think this record is worthy.
What is next for New Sincerity Works?
My studio, Fruit Hill, has undergone a major transformation. In addition to producing some upcoming really cool new releases from Maurice Mattei and The Poppyfields I am looking forward to working on our fourth NSW album. We have a Christmas single we are going to put out and I have about fifteen new songs to start working on. The intent with the next album is to track the band live as the studio is now capable of recording our entire six-piece band. Which is just fantastic. I hope we continue to excite ourselves and I hope that I continue to improve in singing, writing and creating music that is relevant and interesting. If I can continue to delight myself and the people that really enjoy the band, I will be a very happy camper. Making is music is a gift and with the technology and distribution that is readily available I really look forward to seeing how I can share music with more people.