I love the music of Aqueduct. It's thoughtful, it's clever, it's hilarious, and it's always good. Their previous album, I Sold Gold has been on constant rotation in my stereo for nearly two years now, and it's still a keeper. David Terry's newest batch of songs, entitled Or Give Me Death, all have the same catchy quality, but it's a bit different. Softer? Gentler? Perhaps. You'll notice the songs retain the pain, but the music behind him is simply drop-dead gorgeous. It's a bit of a shock, at first--but it's still Aqueduct. Talking to Terry was a nice experience, too; we had a fun chat. Oh, and after spending all weekend listening to Or Give Me Death, I just gotta say...it's flippin' brilliant!Tell me about recording Or Give Me Death.
It's kind of like another self-produced kind of affair. I worked with a drummer, Matt Pence, down in Denton. He basically played all the drums on the album. So then I took it home to Seattle to work on it, and I mixed it with a guy who is up here in Seattle, Jason Holstrom. We kind of mixed it at his home studio, and we kept it a pretty DIY affair.When compared to I Sold Gold or your earlier work, Or Give Me Death is a much more lush and fuller-sounding record. Was this a more collaborative effort with the people who make up Aqueduct?
Not really. The live band I had set up, between the last album and the new record, some of those guys went on and did other things. So now I'm playing with basically a whole new band, with the exception of Matt Nader, who played on the record and who has played with me for a while now. It was really kind of another mad scientist project.You seem to prefer working alone?
(Laughs) Yeah! I did work with an interesting guy named Charlie Smith, this big band leader. While mixing the record with Jason, I got turned onto his work; he'd heard my demos, and he met with me and said, "I know a lot of professional horn and string players, and I can write out arrangements for them, I can bring them down and we can record it for you." That was a whole new element, a new piece of the puzzle. That definitely brought out the lush sounds, the sound of real instruments versus my keyboard patches of strings and horns.Did you spend a lot more time working on the arrangements and the songs than you did for I Sold Gold?
Yeah, definitely. I spent a lot of time recording the record, and I definitely spent a lot of time going back and fine-tuning things. Working with Charlie and Jason, they were really helpful from a production standpoint. They'd thin it down to the simplest core, and we'd see what we could get away with putting back in. We recorded so
much music, and it's kind of funny what ended up on the master copy, versus everything we recorded. It was definitely a more collaborative effort from the production and mixing standpoint.The album is, I have to say, a darker, more emotional affair, with some rather bitter lyrics. Was it a cathartic experience?
(Laughter) Ya know, not as much as I Sold Gold
; that was much more of a personal record for me. But yeah, definitely the selection of songs--the end result we came up with, it kind of went down this natural progression. It's odd because it's less personal for me; it's more just my thoughts on the world, an attempt to capture how I see things and how I feel about things around me.To put it simply, to me it sounded like a break-up album. Were you trying to send a message with the record? You got something on your mind that you're trying to say, Mr. Terry?
(Laughter) Not really, no. I find it interesting to hear that, because I'm sure it's going to sit that way with people. You get to be the first person to ask me that. I know I'm going to hear that question a lot
! (Laughs)Was it more of a case where you wrote all these songs, put them together, and though you weren't necessarily conscious of a subject matter, you were surprised that, thematically, they link together?
Yeah, a little bit. I probably wrote twenty songs for this record, and looking back over some of the ones we cut, this one ended up seeming more like a concept record, like you said, subconsciously. But damn, it felt good, so we went with it.You sound happy; you don't sound like you're going through some desperate, dire trauma right now. It doesn't seem like you're suffering for your art's sake. (Laughs)
(Laughter) Maybe I should start answering the phone for these interviews, like, (really depressed, sad voice) "Hello..."Maybe you should be more aloof, dress up in black, perhaps. Practice your misery!
(Laughter) Now there's an idea! Scare off the journalists with my demeanor, yet win their sympathy with my plight.Well, I'm glad I got to you first, before the questions I asked became really annoying! (Laughter) I did an interview the other day, and I kind of felt bad for the guy, because I got the sense he was tired of answering questions--any questions. Yet it's difficult being the interviewer, because you want to ask certain things, and you really have no idea if they're the same things he person you're talking to has answered a hundred times already.
We should do a funny, six month follow-up interview, where you ask me these same questions, and then we'll see how down my schick is, and what I'm saying.(Laughter) Hmm...an interesting idea, sir!
(laughter) Uh-oh, I dare
you to take me up on it.Don't taunt the lion, buddy. Don't taunt the lion! (Laughter)Aqueduct's latest album, Or Give Me Death will be released February 20th on Barsuk