Following up on its 2015 debut album, “Heatwave,” Scranton/Brooklyn band Heavy Blonde has prepared a new project, “Of Sun and of the Earth and of the Moon.” The first track from the new series of songs, “The Sunny Tangerine,” premieres today.
“I think it doesn’t fit in with a lot of the other stuff I’m doing now or have done,” says Mike Williams, who along with his brother, Roy Williams, makes up Heavy Blonde. “It’s more of a straightforward song with elements of a Cream song almost. It has a ’60s kind of feel to it but it’s not ground we’ve covered before.”
Heavy Blonde will also make the new tracks available for download (pay what you want) on Bandcamp.
While Heavy Blonde released an EP (“Sun,” 2014) and the debut LP in a traditional manner, with accompanying live shows, the “Of Sun and of the Earth…” song cycle will be different. Each single will have its own release date and artwork (created by Jeff “Setty” Hopkins,” a former bandmate of the Williams brothers in And The Moneynotes, who now lives in Austin). The songs “all fit into a larger theme,” explains Williams, “because everything was written in such a short span.” Each third of the project — sun, Earth and moon — will consist of five songs. When it’s completed, a physical release is possible: “I don’t think it will all just stay out there as a series of loose singles.”
Mike Williams, who lives in Scranton, came up with much of the material before collaborating with his Brooklyn-based brother. Unlike on previous recordings, which featured a fair number of guests, this project is just the two Williamses.
“I think Roy was in South By Southwest and left his car at my parents’. He came back and I played him all 20 or so songs I had been gathering,” says Mike.
“Between the two of us we got away from the idea that it has to have an all-organic sound,” he explains. “There’s a lot more Mellotron, with organ and guitars. We realized the songs are there, and a lot of the stuff we did with the last album, those were composed parts; I knew right from the beginning ‘this is where we can add saxophone’ or something. This time we decided we weren’t going to do any of the orchestration up front and left the songs bare bones. Then so much changed in the studio when we both started putting our ideas in. It’s a 50-50 split ownership of the songs.”
They made the decision to start recording and “avoid the whole trap” of trying to determine what will the songs sound like live. No shows have been booked for this series of releases.
“There’s no end goal and no legwork and no booking agents and no emailing clubs and stuff, which allows me to focus on the songs,” he explains. “I’ve always had trouble compartmentalizing the business stuff and the creative stuff, and at our level we’ve never had anyone to do it for us … Now, I just do the content and don’t have to worry about the rest. It’s great recording a song and releasing it with the artwork. We’re just recording, making sure we’re happy with it and getting back in the studio. Sometimes it’s like two years of fun, creative energy and then comes the business side, and that’s a discouraging side that makes you a little bit squeamish about having to repeat that process again.”