“We have a new tune about Vietnam that sounds like a pissed-off Hall & Oates,” Brian Holwerda tells the Reader. “It was inspired by a crazy PBS documentary, but it could definitely be interpreted and related to modern warfare...any war, really.”
In October, Blackout Party will travel to Nashville to record their angry Hall & Oates and more at Southern Ground, a studio owned by Zac Brown, the alt-country rocker. “I’m interested in the soldiers that fought bravely and did as they were told,” he says, “and then came home to be treated like criminals.”
Holwerda claims that during their time in Nashville, the band will be treated like anything but criminals. “It’s a beautiful room,” he says of the studio known for its vintage audio gear, “with huge vaulted ceilings, an in-house chef, and beer on tap.”
The Zac Brown connection came about after some acquaintances of Blackout Party moved south. “A couple of our good friends got jobs at the studio, and we got a smokin’ deal through them.” They are Ben Simonetti and Brandon Conway, and they will not only be working on the band’s record but hosting them as well. “Those guys, they have a home studio where they live in east Nashville. We’ll be working on pre-production there for a couple of days.”
Not a bad 2013 overall for the O.B.-based swamp-rock unit nominated for a San Diego Music Award this year in the category of Best Rock. In August, Dickies clothing, in conjunction with Filter magazine, released a series of three online promo videos featuring the band. “They came to San Diego and followed us around and filmed us in the days leading up to a Belly Up show we played with our buddies in Dead Feather Moon.” He says the videos (titled Building a Band) emphasize the blue-collar elements of being in a working band.
Despite getting a bro deal to make the record, Holwerda says, “We’re still dropping a pretty good chunk of change to record in Nashville. But it’s good to get out of town.” He explains the benefits of leaving one’s comfort zone. “People aren’t checking their text messages from their girlfriends or planning their shopping trip to Target on the way home. You’re in Nashville, making a record.”
Holwerda is used to handling recording chores and says that working in a pro shop will alleviate some of that pressure, as will Southern Grand’s in-house chef. But is beer on tap such a good idea around musicians? “I don’t think we’ll get too crazy with that,” he laughs. “A big night for me is two Tecates. I’m an old man now. I’m 34.”