Interview: Hollywood Gossip

Last week we brought you new of a new album from local popsters Hollywood Gossip, and we were fortunate enough to get an interview with the band’s Tyler Womack and Justin Crowell.  This should give you a bit more insight into the group, as well as ideas about their new album Dear as Diamonds.  At the bottom of the interview, you can catch info on the band’s CD Release this Saturday, June 19th.  Follow the jump for more.

ATH: What’s your favorite venue to play in town? Or, would you prefer to create your own venue and invite a lot of friends?


TW: We’re torn. We’ve got a lot of friends at the recently-revamped Parish. It’s got some of the best sound in town, and a brand new stage door. You simply can’t go wrong with a stage door. Lately, however, we’ve become huge fans of the Ghost Room: Great sound, good people, and an awesome space. It’s also probably the most a-political club in town.


ATH: Do you feel any sort of affinity to any specific Austin bands? Bands you could pick to be on a best of Austin 2010 Compilation?


TW: Haunt recently relocated to Austin, and we’ve really enjoyed their music. TV Torso has been blowing us away for a year now, and we can’t wait to see what they have in store for 2010. The guys in International Waters have been killing it lately. Finally, you’d be remiss to overlook 100 Flowers. Great melodies, inventive songs and early listens of their album are really good.

JC: We share some members with alt-country outfits San Saba County and B. Sterling Band, so we’re probably biased on that one. My friend Seth Woods plays solo as The Whiskey Priest. I think he’s one of the most talented songwriters in the city and is criminally under-heard. He’s got a record coming out shortly that I’m pretty excited about.


ATH: You’re just about to release your first album, Dear as Diamonds. Can you explain the feelings of completing your first album with the band?


TW: First and foremost, the album sounds fantastic. Much of this should be attributed to Danny Reisch, the producer for the record. From what we’ve seen, he’s probably the most skillful producer currently working in Austin. While we were recording with him, we heard a ton of bands coming in and out of his studio. Danny knows how to capture the right sounds, he knows how to communicate with bands, and he’s great at understanding what artists want. He has the touch.  Dear as Diamonds was mastered by Jeff Lipton at Peerless, who’s worked with a ton of big bands like the Magnetic Fields, Superchunk, and Austin’s own Black Joe Lewis. The album was mastered down to tape, which gives it a really nice, warm feeling.  Dear as Diamonds feels like it was a long time coming. Most of the album was written over a year and a half, which we spent road-testing the songs. As a result, I think it sounds more cohesive. You could say we found our sound on it.


ATH: In your new bio, it says the new album draws a lot of inspiration from Austin. Are there any sorts of situations or particular places that influence the group’s songwriting?


TW: We originally set out to make an album about partying, which is something Austin does really well. You can hear it in “Simon Says” and “Turn it Up,” but you can really hear it in “Death of the House Party”. Death is about growing older, ditching the house party scene of our college years and graduating to hipster bars. The song’s a little jaded, about what you lose when you go from a laid-back college town to a fashionable metropolis in the course of a few years.  The funny thing about “Death of the House Party” is that everyone tends to think it’s about a specific house party. Our producer even asked us if it was “that party in French Place, where Harlem showed up and started lighting off fireworks.”  Aside from partying in Austin, there’s getting sick of slackerdom (Sleepwalkin’), feeling guilty about random hook-ups (I Can Be Right), and hating on the creative class (Someday Soon). There are also some songs we consciously set outside of Austin, “Narcissus in a Window” and the closer, “All That I Want”.


ATH: What can we expect on Dear as Diamonds that differs from your sound on the last EP?


JC: We hadn’t played more than a handful of shows together when we recorded You’re So Quiet. I’m proud of that record and I think it reflects where we were at that time. In the past year and a half, though, we’ve really grown into being a band. As we’ve come to trust each other musically and have figured out how to arrange songs together, Cory, Tom, and I shine through a little more.  And as we’ve grown, Tyler’s matched us and is bringing songs to the table that are a lot more adventurous and draw from a broader palette. You’ll hear echos of the jangly pop songs that populate You’re So Quiet, but you’ll also hear rock songs, anthems and a dueling guitar song. Simply, we rock harder, we croon more sweetly, and we’re still as fun as we’ve always been.


ATH: What’s the hardest thing about being part of the Austin music scene? Or the easiest? Or both?


JC: The constant presence of live music in Austin means that there’s always somewhere to play, but it’s also easy to get lost in the shuffle. It’s that whole little-fish-in-a-big-pond thing, I suppose. I know without a doubt that I’d rather be an up-and-comer in Austin than the biggest band in Terre Haute, Indiana.

TW: Not that there’s anything wrong with Terre Haute.


ATH: If an interviewer could ask you one question, what would you want that question to be? What would be your answer?


TW: How will you best escape paparazzi after your new album skyrockets up the charts? If we have the money, a small army of decoy band members. If we don’t, we’ll be hiding behind the traditional baseball-cap-and-sunglasses when in public.


ATH: A few of us at ATH are teachers…what are the day gigs for the members of the band?


TW: Cory is a photographer. She actually just won 2nd Place in the Rarest of the Rare: So the award for street cred goes to her. Tom and I both work in advertising, on the creative side. Justin is a superstar programmer.


ATH: Who is going to win the World Cup?


TW: I’m half-Dutch, so I’m going to have to pick the Netherlands. I went to a Netherlands game in Dallas for World Cup ’94, and learned the team cheers. It turns out that most of their chants, roughly translated, are about testicles. So yeah, it’s pretty hard not to root for Europeans.


We really appreciate the guys taking the time out to answer our questions.  Be sure to show up at the Ghost Room this Saturday for Hollywood Gossip‘s CD release.  First 25 people through the door get a copy of their excellent new album.  Also playing the show is Sally Crewe and the Sudden Moves, as well as 100 Flowers. Doors are at 9, bands start at 10–it’s only $6 so you can’t beat that.

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