“Six musicians who had not heard the songs, nor played together, all agreed to join me in the studio, sight and sound unheard, with the intent on producing live one-take recordings, in the moment,” says singer-guitarist Andrew Thams of folk trio the Liquorsmiths. “We had two videographers, in addition to the sound engineer, participate as well, and they captured the whole thing.”
The experimental sessions, which took place at local Chaos Recorders with Christopher Hoffee, were mostly acoustic and included reworked versions of old Liquorsmiths songs, as well as new compositions. “Ultimately, we simply wanted to record a moment and explore where the music goes. That sounds cliché but, on the other hand, there has been so much improvisation built into our sets over the years that I would miss it if it were not there.”
Thams is working on the studio tapes and overseeing the editing of video footage from the sessions. Videographers Ulices Del Toro and Carlos Luna filmed the music being performed by Thams and Hoffee along with guests such as Sam Bybee, David Ryan Norgren, Giancarlo Fonseca, and Nickolas Anagnoston. The first video released, for "All My Friends Are Fighters," features everyone putting down their instruments to simply do a cold sing-a-long of the lyrics, which open with a local-centric wink:
The Liquorsmiths, "All My Friends Are Fighters"
Live acoustic one-take studio performance
All my friends are fighters, they're fighting for the cause
In a city made for lovers, there in lies the flaw
So we stand out front of smokey bars, with tattoos on our arms
We keep in mind the ones we hold, as we watch the passing cars
Thams expects the multimedia project to be available sometime around October. “This release comes at the end of a rough and rather busy year in the lives of each member,” says Thams. “I’ve faced some rather debilitating medical issues, jobs have changed, Ryan [Fischer, pianist-percussionist] got married, love and family… life really has a way of pressing your face on the glass. Gets tough to be creative and make time to be creative here and there.”
He says they tend to save cover artwork for last, although not because sleeve graphics are an afterthought. “Artwork will be done by a local artist after listening to the album. This is something of a tradition for us, artwork as a result of the artist’s impression of the music.”
The release will be supported with plenty of gigs, as some of the band’s favorite — and strangest — moments happen on stage.
“Once upon a time, we performed at the park behind Petco Park at the end of a baseball game,” says Thams. “Once we reached about mid-set, all of a sudden there were fireballs shooting into the air, a light show started, and a club-bass style beat boomed throughout the park and there was people running toward the park. Then, out of smoke and lasers emerged Nelly and his crew, white Band-Aid under his eye and all. He performed a secret show for about 20 minutes right in front of us. Then, just as he came, he was gone… so we started up again.”
“Now, we can say that we both opened and closed for Nelly.”
- Sunday, September 9, 2018, 9 p.m.
3391 Adams Avenue,
The Liquorsmiths appear Sunday, September 9, at the Sycamore Den.