Q&A with Corey Teruya of Hello Kavita

It's been a year and a half since Hello Kavita graced us with its debut long-player, the unforgettable And Then We Turned Sideways. Since then, the quintet of songwriter/frontman/guitarist Corey Teruya, guitarist Luke Mossman, multi-instrumentalist Ian Short, bassist Jimmy Stofer and drummer Leor Manelis seems only to have grown and deepened its commitment warm, honest, countrified rock. We were fortunate to grab a few minutes with Teruya on the eve of the release of the band's stunning second effort, To A Loved One.

Westword (Eryc Eyl): So what's different about this record as compared to Hello Kavita's debut?

Corey Teruya: Well, we did a lot of planning before we went into the studio, so we knew what we were gonna lay down before we went in. We knew exactly the sounds we were going for. We made a conscious effort to get the tones on the record the way we wanted. Everyone really came into his own on this record - from the playing to the songwriting. The band camaraderie is really solid right now. The songs just turned out a lot better than the last one. And I think there's a more cohesive sound. I think the last record was more like a collection of songs.

EE: It almost sounds like it comes from another decade.

Teruya: We tracked everything to 2-inch analog and then mixed it down to half-inch tape at the end. Jesse O'Brien engineered it at Colorado Sound, and Ian Hlatky produced it.

EE: Were that certain records you had in mind when you went in to record that you wanted to use as touchstones for this one?

Teruya: Definitely. Big Star, Fleetwood Mac's Rumours, David Bowie's Aladdin Sane, all those 70s albums where you have the close miked drums and that dead snare, like - and this is embarrassing to say, but Bread. The tones on those records are great. And then more contemporary bands like Spoon and Midlake. Beck had this track on the Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind soundtrack, called "Everybody's Gotta Learn Sometime." I really love that one.

EE: What is it about those records that you wanted to emulate?

Teruya: They just sound warmer and more honest to me than - not that records coming out today don't sound honest, because there's a lot that sounds great - but compared to mainstream music, I feel like the method back then was more conducive to good musicianship. The new stuff makes everything so much easier. Anyone can make a record in their garage, which is awesome, but we wanted to do it in a way that we perceived as the way it was done back in the day. When you record to analog, it's much harder to punch in. You really have to make a gametime decision and, a lot of times, the mistakes you make end up making the record better. So we focused more on getting the right feel than on perfection with this one.

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Eryc Eyl
Contact: Eryc Eyl