Sept. 16, 2013
I originally signed with the Danish Label Rumraket (run by Efterklang) back in 2006. They released my first album Colonies as well as the follow up EP Halcyon. Efterklang were the first people outside of my friends to really take an interest what I was trying to do and were the main reason I was able to keep Canon Blue going.
Efterklang had always run the label in conjunction with their band. Over the years, as the band grew in notoriety, it became harder and harder to facilitate the demands of running label. As such it was decided in 2009 that the label would essentially shrink back to its original role of facilitating Efterklang‘s albums. Rumspringa would be the last non-Efterklang release on the label and another label would be brought in to handle everything outside of Scandinavia.
In came Jeremy Devine and his label, Temporary Residence. Temporary Residence is a label based in Brooklyn, home to bands like Explosions in the Sky, Pinback, and The Books/Zammuto. Jeremy is someone you can tell cares very deeply about what he is doing. There is something in him that reminds me of a craftsman. Someone preserving a dying or lost art of relating to and releasing music. We had long talks about the nature of art and the value of making something tangible that strived for something beyond simple financial success. The whole idea and heart behind the label fit in perfectly with what I valued and where I was hoping to go.
The album was released on August 16, 2011, but the touring process for Rumspringa actually started a year prior. I was asked to do a run of shows opening for Miike Snow, here in the US. It was very last minute and I had about 2 weeks to put together a band and get everything together. On top of that I was in a wedding that was taking place in my home (in Nashville) the day before the first show (in LA). I didn’t sleep at all that night and arrived in LA about a few hours before the first show at the El Rey.
I was still in the middle of finishing the album so I decided to try out some of the new songs, often times improvising the lyrics on the spot as I hadn’t settled on anything yet. It was a new experience to be able to test out new songs and to see how they translated live, what worked and what didn’t. I was then able to what I learned back to the studio after the tour and make adjustments to the songs.
When I recorded the album I realized very early on that it was going to be a challenge to perform live. Most of the songs would need at least 8 people to do it effectively. Seeing as there were certain financial and logistical limitations to that idea, I messed around with different approaches to performing the album, ultimately deciding on a 3-4 person band.
The lineup throughout the album cycle was constantly changing. I think all told their were 5 different drummers & 4 different guitarists with basically every tour having completely different people. On a logistical level this made for a challenge as we had to basically start over every run of shows and relearn the songs. I ended up having to film videos of all the different moving parts of the live show to keep my sanity from constantly re-teaching the parts.
Touring is never easy for me. I’ve often felt that I picked the worst possible profession for someone with my personality. I’m an anxious guy. I’m self protective. I don’t like being the center of attention. All things which obviously don’t really help when the main goal of your band is to tour as much as possible. At the time, the thought of something going wrong onstage and me having to fill the empty space with talking was nausea inducing and I remember almost not being able to go onstage the first show in NYC. Its an irrational fear and one that I’m gradually learning to accommodate. But then there were moments where it all worked, where I was able to fully enter into what I was doing and be present with everyone else in the room. I was able to leave my head for a little while and exist on a different plane that reminded me of why I wanted to make music in the first place.
Gradually, over the months that followed, things came together and all told, there were over 100 shows for Rumspringa. We had good runs with Foster The People, Mutemath, and The Boxer Rebellion before winding down the album cycle with a few shows with Poliça.
The last show for the album was on November 15th in Nashville. For a long time I’d been thinking of doing a bigger show with a larger band and I decided since it was going to be the last time I’d probably play most of these songs that I wanted to at least attempt to recreate the record as best I could. I brought on 2 additional string players and 2 brass players to bring the orchestral side of the album to life. I remember walking off stage feeling like it had been one of the best shows of my life up to that point, feeling that it was the first ‘real’ Canon Blue show. That was the new ground level to build and start from and even though everything was ending for Rumspringa, I had finally arrived at a new beginning.