The Oxford Coma combine varied influences to find their signature sound, which they describe as “progressive psychedelic grunge.” Aided by legendary producer Steve Albini, The Oxford Coma’s latest effort, Everything Out of Tune is unique and fresh. Decibel caught up with guitarist/vocalist Billy Tegethoff to chat about the album and bring you a full stream of Everything Out of Tune.
| Everything Out of Tune was recorded by Steve Albini. What was that experience like, and what does Albini bring to the table in terms of helping to perfect your sound?
The experience was basically the musician’s equivalent of visiting Willy Wonka’s factory. The place is a gear museum, but you get to use the exhibits. At one point, I wanted to use Steve’s EGC for an overdub, but it needed to be tuned down to A. He got out a super heavy set of strings and we started putting them on, only to realize the grooves in the nut were to small. He actually got out a file and modified his own guitar on the spot so we could use it for one song.In terms of what he brought to the table, I mean, he’s a surgeon in the studio. I think he’s recorded like 2500 records. Contrary to popular belief, all you have to do to record with him is send them an email through their website and book time. With perfecting the sound, he’s very passive. Any time he gave feedback, it was strictly technical. He made it clear every time that nothing he was saying was a comment on the aesthetics of what we were doing. He wanted us to leave with the record we wanted. He’s very careful not to impose his vision on his clients. Fortunately, we went in prepared. I think you’d be in for a rough time if you go there without a clear vision, expecting him to help you clarify it. That said, it was extremely laid back. We were there to work, and so was Steve, but we were never made uncomfortable in any way. They’re really dialed in, not only from a recording stand point, but from a customer service one as well.
Intronaut’s Sacha Dunable is featured on “Trauma.” How did that collaboration happen and what was working with Dunable like?
Over the next few years, I kind of insinuated myself into his life. I redid his website for him and did some product photography (that stuff is my day job). I got to meet his band and hang out with Mastodon when they did some shows with them.
Sacha’s one of the nicer people I’ve met, especially in music. He’s always been willing to lend experience, advice, and his time. He agreed to do the collaboration without any hesitation. He even donated a riff that became the foundation of Trauma. He’s a solid dude. Everyone should go buy one of his guitars too. Best on the market in my opinion, and the opinions of a ton of other people.
The Oxford Coma’s sound is described as “progressive psychedelic grunge.” What are your influences, and how do you combine them in a way that keeps The Oxford Coma sounding cohesive?
As far as cohesion, I don’t know. I write relatively simple arrangements, because I think songs need themes that you can latch onto. Doug and Casey like to get weird with things. Seems to balance out.
You can get Everything Out of Tune here.