An Interview with Sam Prekop of The Sea and Cake

24 10 2008

An Interview with Sam Prekop of the Sea and Cake

[10-24-08] ßy Fabakis

The Sea and Cake have been a staple of Chicago’s music scene since 1994. Their new album Car Alarm, their eighth with Chicago-based Thrill Jockey, was just released to positive reviews. We recently interviewed the band’s lead singer, Sam Prekop, to discuss the new album, lunch options and the state of the music industry today.

Fabakis: Let me start by thanking you for taking the time to answer some questions, everyone’s just so busy these days. I have to let you know that i’ve really been enjoying this new album. Throughout your career, The Sea and Cake’s sound has been constantly interesting. The textures and instrumentation are really something to be admired. All of my praise aside, here are a few questions that I’ve got lined up regarding the album, the music industry and online sales.

Fabakis: Just to break the ice, can you remember what you had for your last meal?
SP: Hello, um yes i had 3 gyoza, japanese dumpling delights a tuna roll and an eel and cucumber roll, and wasabi to complement.
 
Fabakis: On your digital promo page they described the album as “Bracing, like the surge of wasabi on sweet sushi.” Did you have anything to do with that description?
SP: No i didn’t, it was written by a local critic/ writer. and it looks like we let that one slide, i can’t say it would have been my first choice of words to describe the record despite my last meal. basically when you get some one to write something it seems it should be left intact for the most part otherwise their perspective will have been compromised.
 
Fabakis: You recorded the album in it’s entirety and then took it on the road. Have you contemplated making a live record consisting of these and other songs?
SP: I know there are great live records but it’s never been an ambition of mine, i’m not sure why. i guess it could happen, but more likely would be a record by archer and I playing live, two guitars and vocals which we’ve done a fair amount of , and i think that sort of material would work well recorded in a concert hall or good sounding interesting space.
 
Fabakis: You’ve been making records with various bands since I was born. Have you noticed any changes in the way that you approach the studio?
SP: Well the approach is quite different for each record, this latest record progressed a lot like our very first record. There have been records made with the intent of using the studio as an instrument and at other time as a way of documenting the band at a given time. In general i’d say we’re a bit more relaxed about it. primarily through familiarity and experience.
 
Fabakis: I’ve read that you’ve developed a home studio over the years that you use for composing songs. Do you favor that small-scale setup compared to a larger recording facility?
SP: well they both have their advantages and disadvantages. my home setup isn’t a proper studio per se, it would be difficult if not impossible to record more than one person at once for example. i guess i think of it more as a workshop. but yeah i develop a lot of ideas here, but it can also be a distraction to actually coming up with real songs. there are so many tangents available to me in this “home studio” it gets hard to finish things, so i like the “proper studio” mentality involved, because when you go in it’s likely you’re prepared . but i need both.
 
Fabakis: Has the sudden rise in online music sales and the Itunes store changed your views on how you approach promoting your music?
SP: From my perspective not really, besides realizing that these outlets exist, well i guess we did do an EP that was released in the u.s. anyway, on itunes exclusively. i’ll say it would be a shame if people completely stopped going to record stores i think it’s a valuable outlet for knowledge and meeting like minded people, i know that exists online as well but there still something nice about making the trip a specific mission and ritual. but i’ll also say that i’ve bought a fair amount of music on itunes as well. so hopefully both can coexist.
 
Buy it:
11/7: Philadelphia, PA-First Unitarian Church
11/8: Washington, DC-Black Cat
11/10: New York, NY-Bowery Ballroom
11/12: Boston, MA-Middle East
11/13: Montreal, PQ- La Sala Rossa
11/14: Toronto, ON-Lee’s Palace
11/15: Chicago, IL- Empty Bottle (Early Show)
11/15: Chicago, IL- Empty Bottle (Late Show)
11/28: Portland, OR-Doug Fir Lounge
11/29: Seattle, WA-Chop Suey
12/2: San Fransisco, CA-Great American Music Hall
12/3: Los Angeles, CA-Troubadour 
12/4: Los Angeles, CA-Troubadour
12/5: Pomona, CA-Glass House
12/6: San Diego, CA-Casbah
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