INDIE POP: Netherfriends Cuts a Bedroom-Pop Record (Almost) Live at Schubas

Kevin Warwick of The Chicago Reader sits down with Netherfriends to discuss his upcoming residency at Schubas this November.

Shawn Rosenblatt, aka Netherfriends, usually gets filed under “bedroom-pop,” and not without reason: he records ethereal indie pop in his bedroom by himself. But during his upcoming November residency at Schubas—he’ll play every Monday that month—Rosenblatt hopes to make an almost-live album, combining recordings from all four shows with subsequent overdubs. And he wants to get the audience involved too. I talked to the forever-touring Netherfriends during a drive from this city to that city:

The PR describes this as an “experiment in residency.” Explain that. A lot of people who do residencies just play the shows. I’ve been on tour now for three years straight, taking at most a month off. In the last year and a half I’ve figured out how to perform solo. My last record, Middle America, was recorded the same way I’ve always done it. Now I’m interested in the idea of recording a live performance of my solo set, as well as some new material. Plus it’ll give me time to experiment and write new songs.

Are the opening bands for each show going to collaborate or form some rudimentary backing band? I’m going to try. Musicians are flaky [laughs]. They’re all way too busy. Maybe a couple of them that I’m close to and will hang with. That’s the thing—I’ll trick people into coming over, and the next thing they know they’re recording.

How are you going to incorporate the audience? I’ll record a scream before a song, for instance, and eventually use it in that song. I’ll assign loops and samples onto a pad and play them at any point, using a sustain pedal to trigger it.

And there will be overdubs and added instrumentation to round it out? I’m going to do some extra work to it, just to make it sound the best it possibly can. You’re not going to hear the audience. There’s not going to be stage banter, like on Kiss’s Alive! I want to experience something different. I don’t have money to record in a recording studio, so what’s the next best thing?

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