An Interview with Sean W. Spellman of Quiet Life
Photo by E Ryan McMackin
Not everyone gets a chance to work with their heroes, but Quiet Life made it happen. Just last year, brothers Sean and Ryan Spellman scored a golden opportunity to record their new album, FOGGY, alongside a major inspiration – Dr. Dog guitarist/singer/songwriter Scott McMicken.
McMicken not only acted as producer on FOGGY, he also contributed guitar and vocals on a number of tracks. Oh, and he invited Quiet Life to capture it all at Dr. Dog’s own Mt. Slippery studio, too. Together they spent a few summer sessions at Mt. Slippery, just outside of Philadelphia, churning up a charming collection of feel-good songs ready to fill your summer days and nights.
This week, Quiet Life brings FOGGY to the masses when the album drops on Friday, April 8. They’ll also share those sweet sounds at Rough Trade in Brooklyn this Wednesday (tickets here). Leading up to the release date, the band’s own Sean W. Spellman answered our burning questions about making FOGGY, working with McMicken, and growing up in New Jersey…
Congrats on the new album, FOGGY!! What excites you most about the new material?
Sean Spellman: Thanks. We are excited to have had the opportunity to write and play with one of our favorite songwriters/dudes. Scott [McMicken] is an inspiration to many people.
What was the vibe like at Mt. Slippery when you were recording? Did you learn any new tricks from Scott McMicken along the way?
SS: So many tricks. Did you know if you drop a penny in a plastic bag full of water and hang it from the rafters it’ll keep flies away? Recording-wise, my favorite trick was when Nathan Sabatino (the engineer) had us track a song live, then mic’d the PA and kept the live vocal track.
How do you picture your fans enjoying the album? What’s the ideal listening experience?
SS: You know, whatever is appropriate for the moment. Today I’d like to listen to the record while floating on a raft somewhere in the Pacific in Mexico, or maybe the Caribbean…wherever the sun is warmer. Tomorrow I want to hear it in headphones sitting on a bench in Washington Square Park. Some people have told me that the record is “a slow burn”, whatever that means.
Like most of the staff at The Waster, you guys are New Jersey natives. Is there anything you miss about living in the Garden State?
SS: Oh nice! Man, so many things I miss about Jersey…pizza, bagels, the boardwalk, Bruce on the radio all the time. I love the Jersey Shore in the summer. It’s one of my favorite places to be, so much action. I feel like when you grow up in Jersey there are strange things that become comforting to you, like sitting in traffic waiting for a bridge to open. Or putting your beach blanket down 6 inches from a stranger, or giving somebody the finger while driving but not really being mad at them at all. When I was living in Portland I’d get homesick sometimes, so I’d go to Target and just walk around the aisles by myself. Just looking around at people, munching Goldfish and feeling like I was back on the East Coast.
Do you have anything special planned for the Rough Trade gig? What can fans expect that night?
SS: We haven’t played some of these songs since the recording sessions so it’ll be fun to see how they develop live on this tour. Oh, and we got some pretty cool illuminated palm trees for the stage.
Catch Quiet Life on tour through May! See all dates here…
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