Paul Banks on the joys of getting "Logic-ed up" in his hotel room instead of liquored up on tour

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Other than the obvious limitations of that method, what were the main challenges of turning what you recorded, sketches and bits of song or full songs, into what they became later on?

Well, that was the challenge of my first record -- figuring how to do that. Because I had done performances as Julian Plenti when I was in college, doing songs with a guitar and a mike and not liking how it was going. It wasn't until much later that I discovered Logic that I could then [be happier with the results]. I would work on a four-track and make stuff that way, but I couldn't translate that to the live performance, either.

What held me up with four-track recording is that I could never get into drum machines. I couldn't figure out how to fucking use them, so I could never really make a complete demo back in those days because I couldn't figure out how to interface the drum machine with my four-track and make it all work. So I ended with these sort of acoustic guitar compositions.

It wasn't until I got Logic that I was able to write the drum beats out and do the bass lines and build up all the string arrangements. That was all the process that brought out my first record. So when I went down to this record, it's like, "Oh no, this is my system." Now I know how to make my songs. I educated myself in how to execute the ideas from start to finish to make my first record, and this time, I just used that method.

So it begins with a guitar riff. If I think it's good enough to start to build into something, I'll record the guitar riff in and probably write a structure on guitar first and input all of that, and then go about writing all the bass and guitar. Once I have a song on guitar, it's on. There's no reason to not get it finished. So it wasn't like a struggle to make this record. I kept having lots of ideas.

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Tom Murphy is a writer, visual artist and musician from Aurora, Colorado. He was a prolific music writer for Westword and a documenter of the Denver music scene.