A.V. Club Milwaukee – Kane Place Record Club Feature
Kane Place Record Club (finally) captures its live energy on record
“We like to think of our first EP [2011’s To Our Friends] as a practice run,” says Nick Tovarek, one of two guitarists for Milwaukee’s Kane Place Record Club.
Indeed, after a listen to the band’s new self-titled debut full-length, available online now, that assessment rings true. Boasting a membership of six after a few lineup changes, the group is tighter, more spontaneous and eclectic, and its songs better represent the band’s wildly energetic live shows.
“We’ve just learned how to work with each other,” Tovarek says. “We have these musical relationships where can build off each other’s ideas, and I think that’s what’s led to the complexity of this album. We’re just a more fine-tuned band than before.”
This proper introduction offers a diverse collection of songs that span the band’s time together. “We wanted to piece the album together so it was a connection between our older stuff and our newer stuff while still making it sound cohesive,” Tovarek says.
Cohesive is a key term when managing the diverse influences of six members. These influences range from soul, R&B, pop, classical, jazz, hip-hop, folk, and electronic. Kane Place Record Club’s drummer, Maurice Liddell, plays in a gospel group at a church. Add in the soulful vocals of Jon Scott, and the band is a true melting pot of diverse influences. The songs on the new album range from the pop-friendly vibe of “Little Louie” to the experimentally noisy “10,000 Timpani.”
“We all come from completely different musical backgrounds, but we somehow find a way to include our different influences,” Tovarek says. “We like arrangements that allow each part to breathe easily, and we like switching genres mid-song in a way that hopefully sounds organic.”
Not surprisingly, each song on the album was created differently, some from jamming and others from piecing elements together over months. “A lot of times we’ll come with an idea and it’ll be a simple idea, and then we’ll jam off that and transform it into a full idea that plays off each of our strengths,” Tovarek says.
After recording some demos at Howl Street Recordings last fall, the band ultimately decided to spend a week at converted barn-studio Chrome Attic in Crystal Lake, Illinois. Guided by producer/engineer Jonathan Alvin, the group worked diligently to record the songs for the album.
“We pretty much locked ourselves in there for the full week,” Tovarek says. “The whole experience was great, and we got a lot of great ideas from [Jonathan]. He was helping us out a lot with figuring out certain tones that we wanted.”
While there’s certainly something special about recording DIY-style in a tiny attic—like the band did for To Our Friends—Tovarek says getting to record in an actual studio with several tracking rooms proved to be a more inspiring place to work. “It helped us get in the mood to want to record,” he says.
Since everyone has busy lives, any time the band gets together is special. The bandmates started getting together at Tovarek’s place when he lived at Kane Place to share records and see how other artists incorporated different sounds.
“It’s hard to always be together and spend a lot of time just talking about music,” Tovarek says. “So it was cool to just be all together for the full week and to be talking about nothing but the album and the songs.”
The band’s goal was to channel its live show. “We’re more of a live band than a studio band,” Tovarek says. “In the studio, we try to make sure that we can play it live, whether it’s bringing a sampler with us or bringing an extra synth to play an extra part.”
While there’s plenty of special moments in the studio, live is where the band thrives. “Seeing people interact with your music is really great. It’s a good feeling,” Tovarek says. “We love having the opportunity to play in front of people and see people enjoying it and dancing to it.”
Listen to Kane Place Record Club’s self-titled full-length below. The band will celebrate the vinyl release of the album Saturday, August 31 at Linneman’s Riverwest Inn.