Photo by Gijs Kamphuis

Photo by Gijs Kamphuis

I usually let Matt address everyone directly since I prefer to stay out of the spotlight, however, ‘The Giants’ Newground’ holds a special place for me in my musical career, and I wanted to share a few words about the record prior to its re-release.

Around 2003 my first real band (in which Matt played guitar) broke up.  After a 5-year stint, Matt and I found ourselves with no singer, no bassist, and no real direction.  We made some serious attempts at finding a new frontman, but after a couple of tries, nothing materialized which was very disheartening.  I graduated college in 2005, began a career in commercial real estate, and music began taking a back seat to my job.  Additionally, Matt seemed to be more focused on grad school at the time, and our respective focuses outside of music had us rarely seeing each other.  In fact, I damn near sold my drums and quit music for good in 2005. 

One evening in 2006 I just happened to be in Matt’s basement and we were messing around with a really cool guitar lick he had.  It was a low-volume setting and I was playing on an old, shitty Ludwig Vistalite kit, just a kick, snare, floor, and hi-hat - a kit assembled totally out of boredom if I remember correctly. The combination of the low volume, minimal drum kit and this guitar lick that was far different than our usual riffs produced a vibe that felt truly refreshing to our ears.  This one little riff made us interested to see what else we could come up with.  For the first time in a long time Matt and I were eager to write music again! 

Since we had absolutely no previous luck finding a singer, Matt, who had been singing backup for our old band, decided to take the reins.  I was all for it.  He and I had been playing together since we were sophomores in high school, about 10 years by this point.  Thus, I completely trusted his musical vision and his decision to front this new project.  Needless to say, the first time Matt said “Hey, I have a vocal demo recorded”, I was nervous as hell!  What if I didn’t like his voice?  What then?  As Matt played that demo (What would later become the song Father Francis), all of my fears were totally washed away.  The dude was amazing right out of the gate!!

The success of the demo sparked a frenzied writing session that was fueled by a stylistic fearlessness that we had never felt before.  We were just writing what felt interesting to us with little consideration as to where it fit in the “rock” genre.  We wrote 16 songs that we felt made a full artistic statement - these would soon become “The Giants’ Newground”. 

The record was recorded at our practice pad with little equipment and less-than-professional knowledge.  We didn’t really know exactly what would become of the record, as this was 2007-2008 before online self-promotion was as prevalent and easy as it is currently.  Full disclosure, there are drum parts that make me absolutely cringe in each and every song on this record!  I tracked them all with no click, no punch-ins, and all were done in 2 takes or less within a period of a day.  It was just for fun at the time, so the standard for keeping a take was essentially “I didn’t drop a stick! Next!”.  Having said that, I do love the energy and overall feel of my playing on this record and I am very proud of the musical statement that Matt and I made.  This record was the springboard for what would become Dream the Electric Sleep, and I hope that you all enjoy the trip back in time to hear how it all began.

Thanks for reading,

- Joey