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New Idea Society

Article written by Graham P - Apr 30, 2005


Whilst New Idea Society is probably an unfamiliar name to most, its members need little introduction. Comprising of the song-writing talents of Cave In's Stephen Brodsky and Eulcid's Mike Law, and featuring Santos Montano of Old Man Gloom on drums, New Idea Society have a rich musical background. Deviating from their other band's heavier sounds, Law and Brodsky's songs slide effortlessly between upbeat indie-rock, melancholy reflection and traditional pop-songwriting reminiscent of The Beatles or The Beach Boys. After an awesome Nottingham gig the band crashed at my house for the night, giving me the chance to ask Mike Law about how he's finding the project so far.

How did New idea society come about?
Just from Steve and I, we met each other in the Merrimack Valley, the area where we grew up. He wrote me a letter actually, about a cassette four-track demo that my band Splintered had done. He really liked the four-track stuff so he sent me a letter about it. So we became friends and Cave In and Eulcid and Splintered played together a lot, then we moved to Boston at the same time and shared a flat...

The album feels more like a studio project than a live one - was it difficult to decide how to make the songs sound live?
No, actually it was a lot easier than I thought it was going to be. I mean, the idea was just to take songs and to completely have no sentimental attachments to how they should be. So we went into the s tudio with that kind of attitude. It was a home studio - we have a 16 track in my dad's basement. My dad is always really supportive of things we do so he let us record all night. So essentially we would record and do a song over the course of months and months. So when it came time to play them live (which is really overdue 'cos the songs are real old) we were originally toying with the idea of bringing a keyboardist or bass player, but we just decided to make it fun to play - really kind of heavy and loud. 'Cos there's some heavy songs on the record - it's just that they don't necessarily come across as heavy because of the recording techniques. So the next record that we do, that I hope to come out this year, will be a lot more like the three of us playing together.

Were you happy that recording the album in a home studio allowed you to avoid the influence of an outside producer or a record company?
I mean it's really the only way I've ever worked. In the past when people from major labels have been interested in things that I'm doing I've never wanted to do it, essentially because I don't want someone to push me around. So the main process was just Steve and I talking about the songs. And sometimes we'd have different opinions about how things should go. There's one song called "End of the Album", and I really wanted it on the album. But we eventually compromised and put a different song on instead of that one - neither of us were happy about how the song came out, but I thought it made the album stronger. But I just trusted his instincts and trusted that he felt strongly about it, so I respected that. We both produce each other because we're both so critical and so perfectionist about things. I think that there wouldn't be room for a producer in there.

How have you found touring the UK so far?
I guess I didn't know what to expect. I feel as though people have reacting really positively... it seemed like tonight people were really excited. I've been pleased with how excited people are - every night that we've played people have asked us to play one more song. That must mean that they're not bored by it, so that's good. I like the fact that people here make you food before you play, and now I'm used to driving on the left side of the road. I mean, I love the UK, I really love Scotland too. Scotland is so beautiful, we met such nice people and had so much fun there.

You're a massive fan of The Cure - do you think their approach of writing these perfect pop-songs with a quirky, interesting edge has been a big influence on NIS?
I've often thought about whether the influence of The Cure makes its way into our music, and I just don't hear it. It's funny because I absolutely love them. The pop songs just seem to happen, I just seem to wake up and they're there - in a weird way I feel like I can't take any credit for them! I hope that some of the quirkiness from The Cure creeps into the band. I mean Steve has a huge part in that too - he can hear things and think of how to present them in an amazing way that I wouldn't have thought of. There's never a lack of ideas.

With the new Cave In album coming out later this year Stephen's obviously going to be busy - do you think that will put a pause on New Idea Society?
Maybe.. I think we're just gonna see how it goes, I mean the main idea of this band is for everybody to feel happy about what we're doing and to not have pressure to do things. The thing about Steve and I is we're both workaholics when it comes to music - we're both always doing something. So I hope that we can do a lot of things and record a lot of records, and tour a lot. But however it happens, it happens you know? Whatever people wanna do, we'll do. We don't wanna force anything - if New Idea Society does more stuff, it does more stuff, you can't force it.

New Idea Society's debut album "You are awake or asleep" is out now on Trans Solar Records.


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