I recently spoke with American Hi-Fi lead vocalist and guitarist Stacy Jones about their upcoming release, Fight The Frequency. This is the band’s 4th studio effort and I feel it is a return to their roots; many songs remind me of the band’s critically acclaimed self-titled release from 2001. As can be expected from American Hi-Fi the hook driven melodies are fantastic and stay with you long after the song is over. Here is what Jones had to say about the new release and what we can expect from the band in the near future.
Now that your brand new CD, Fight The Frequency is complete and set for release. How do you feel about it and are you satisfied with the outcome?
Stacy: Yeah we are satisfied and we are happy. These songs have been kicking around for a long time. It probably took us about two years to actually make this record. We weren’t recording the whole time we worked on it in fits and starts bit. We probably spent about 6 to 8 weeks recording but over the course of like 2 years. So some of these songs have been sitting around in Hi-Fi world for a while now and we are excited for people to hear them.
What was the writing process like for this disc?
Stacy: Usually I do the writing and I have tried to get the guys to write tunes for the band for years and it seems that no one cares. Maybe they like my songs and I should take it as a compliment or maybe they are just a bunch of lazy sons of bitches, I don’t know. Honestly we have a great way of doing things. I think the songs are about eighty percent when I bring them to the band. So I will present them to the band and we start jamming and hash through it a few times. We put a song together pretty quickly, we have known each other for so long and all of instincts are right in line with one another. Even on the road I can write a song and show it to the guys at sound check. We will play it four or five times at sound check and then we will play it on stage that night.
Really, that quick?
Stacy: Yeah we can really whip them together. Plus it is not like our music is like Genesis or Rush. Our music is not the most complex thing in the world we are not playing like Frank Zappa stuff. So that sort of process has always worked for us so we haven’t really changed it much.
How quick are you in the studio? Can you usually knock things out in a couple of takes?
Stacy: We are quick. In fact on the first record and more specifically on the second record we recorded live off of the floor. This means that when we got the drum track for a song we also got two rhythm guitars and bass because all four of us were playing together live in the studio. That is a great way to record and it is the way a lot of the older bands used to record. It is sort of an old school method of recording. You have to be able to play in order to do that. Luckily we have been doing this long enough that we can get in there and hash it out. You have to be more prepared when you begin recording and you need to spend more time in pre-production but once you press record you are getting a lot more bang for your buck. As opposed to recording the drums and over dubbing bass then one guitar and then the other guitars. This way you really knock out the bulk of a song in one shot.
What about tones? Do you guys settle on tones pretty quickly or do you tweak them obsessively?
Stacy: No, I don’t tweak obsessively at all. One of the things I learned from Bob Rock who is one of my mentors and an amazing producer is that you can screw around with a guitar tone for six hours but if you just throw a mic up there and if you know the kind of mic you should be using and the type of guitar and amp you should be using to get your sound then it is not rocket science. If you are playing a Les Paul through a Marshall you are on the right track.
Do you guys spend a lot of time trying to vary your sound from release to release or is it something that just comes about naturally?
Stacy: You know it has always kind of just evolved naturally. We have such eclectic tastes especially me because I like all kinds of stuff. From record to record thy sound different based on what I was listening to at the time. For this album I think I kind of was listening to more bands that I was listening to when we were writing our first album so it kind of sounds like the first record in that regard.
I have listened to the disc and I totally dig it but I was wondering if you could tell the fans out there in your words what they can expect when they pick up a copy of Fight The Frequency?
Stacy: Well I think it is a little bit of a return to our old roots and back to the first album. It is way more guitar heavy than our last record and I think it just has that spirit of our first record as well. We even gave a nod to the first album with the artwork. We really feel that somehow this record is connected to our first album. In fact there are a couple of songs on this album that were originally slated to be on the first one but just didn’t make the cut back then. There are a lot of connections to our first album; how we recorded it, how we were feeling when we wrote it.
So some of these songs have been kicking around for awhile then?
Stacy: Yeah, absolutely. That is a cool thing when you dig back into old demos and you can listen to a song from ten years ago and it still stands out in your mind. Basically there are a couple of songs that were like that on this record. You know I took them and updated and rewrote some parts and maybe changed things around but they were kind of floating around from way back then.
What kind of touring plans do you have in support of the record?
Stacy: You know we don’t know. We are kind of looking at getting some support things for the fall. We are sort of in talks right now to see what we are going to do.
This is your first record back in a little bit of time. What have you been doing in all of that time?
Stacy: Well for the last 4 years I have been the musical director and the drummer for Mylie Cyrus. Jamie the guitar player from Hi-Fi played guitar with Mylie as well. So that has been keeping us busy. It is interesting I think because we have been working with Mylie so much over the last 4 years that is one of the reasons that Hi-Fi hasn’t been around to do anything. But at the same time if we weren’t working with Mylie I don’t think that this album would even exist. It sort of grew and evolved while we were working with Mylie.
Did you ever imagine you would be releasing records more than ten years later?
Stacy: No absolutely not. I can’t believe that we are still a band. It blows my mind.
In a hundred years from now what will the music history books say about American Hi-Fi?
Stacy: Oh my God. That is a good question. I have no idea. Hopefully something like what a nice bunch of guys, they really were some nice fellows and they sure rocked. [ END ]