All The Saints is a Southern rock band basically only by default, the trio grew up in Alabama and now resides in Atlanta, Georgia. You won’t hear it playing bottleneck slide or idly jamming on “Jessica”, though. All The Saints most recent record, Fire on Corridor X, is full of hypnotic and spacious psych-rock that borrows liberally from early ’90s British bands like Loop, Spaceman 3, or even early Verve records. Languid reverb-drenched lulls give way to crushing explosions of noise and echoing guitar drones. In short, it’s pretty heavy. Guitarist Matt Lambert spoke with Washington City Paper about recording, trying to find a new record label (All The Saints were previously signed to the new kind-of-defunct Touch & Go), and almost meeting the reigning king of sprechgesang.
All The Saints: “Sheffield”
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All The Saints perform tonight at Rock & Roll Hotel
w/ These Arms are Snakes, The Coathangers, and Caverns
8 pm, $12
1353 H Street, NE,
Washington City Paper: I can’t remember, are you guys on Touch & Go or Quarterstick [a subdivision Touch and Go]?
Matt Lambert: We’re just Touch & Go. I guess we’ll be the last, unless stuff reconvenes later. For now they’re not putting out any new material. We have a record ready to roll, we’re supposed to record that in March and April, and then I guess we’ll find a new home.
WCP: Have any other labels been sympathetic because of Touch and Go calling it quits?
ML: Well, hopefully they’re not sympathetic. Hopefully they’re excited. But yeah we’ve been talking to people. I can’t name them of course, but we should be fine. We’ve gotta keep doing what we do and just look for something good to come out of this.
WCP: When did you find out?
ML: It happened the day before we left for the tour.
WCP: How long have you guys been doing this band?
ML: It’s about four years old. We did a self-titled record that we put out, we called it an EP, but it’s longer than a full length. Anyway, we put that out in ’06, recorded Fire on Corridor X in 07. We recorded in Atlanta with this producer Ben Allen—he worked on a Gnarls Barkley record, and with Gringo Starr.
He was a perfect match for what we wanted to do. I think that given our sound live people expected us to make a nasty and loud record, but we thought it would be cool to do something bigger sounding, cleaner, a little more rounded off. So we laid down a lot more textural stuff that we wouldn’t have without him.
WCP: Like what?
ML: Lots of percussion, beating on lockers, it was cool. We had five days to just think about that record, which is more time when we’d ever had. We didn’t do that on the first one. We recorded the first one during the graveyard shift while the B52s were there during the day.
WCP: Did you meet them?
ML: We never crossed paths.
WCP: What would you have said to Fred Schneider, had you met him?
ML: I couldn’t have said anything. He’s Fred Schneider. I don’t deserve to talk to him.
WCP: So how is the live show different from the record?
ML: I would say the guitars are louder live. It’s a little more washy than it is on the record. It’s definitely more intense.
WCP: You’re from Tuscaloosa, Alabama, and you live in Atlanta, Georgia. You’re a band from the South. Do you feel like that influences your music at all?
ML: I would definitely say the Southern comes out, but not in a rebel flag flying kind of way. More like in how off kilter it is. I think being Southern makes you a little off kilter.
WCP: How did you end up moving from Alabama to Atlanta?
ML: My girlfriend at the time, now my wife, moved there and I just followed her. Titus [bassist of All the Saints] and I, we would go to shows every night we could, because we didn’t have anything like that in Alabama. We were getting all of these ideas, taking this and that from all these bands. It was such an advantage; there was so much going on when we got there. There were just good bands left and right.
WCP: What were some of the most important shows that you saw at that time?
ML: I saw a Deerhunter show in the basement of a house once. It was the darkest grittiest show I had ever seen at the time. We had just moved into town and we saw this flyer for a house party. So, we went in and these bands were just killing it in there, it was like nothing we had ever seen on an underground level. That one stands out more than any of the other ones. You can’t ever have that back, the first time you see a band. That was ’05, or maybe November of ’04.
WCP: You said that you’re going to be recording a new album, what direction are you going to go with it?
ML: That’s all up in the air. We want the basic tacking to come off of our live performance, or at least more so than in the past.
WCP: So you’re going to try to get more of the live energy, less of the effects?
ML: Right, the live energy. More life. I use the same guitar stuff as in studio as on stage, not tons but enough to cover things up, to not be so dry. We’re three piece, I think the goal for a band is to see how many people we can sound like, I mean, to sound bigger than just three people.
WCP: How do you make it sound like more than three people?
ML: We just play it harder, man.