Everything True With Henry True
Updated: Dec 24, 2018
Henry True: At first glance, you might taste a bit of familiarity through the bedroom tenderness of Sufjan Stevens and the lyrical prowess of Elliott Smith and Wilco. But channeling these major influences is only one aspect of True’s game. On his newest single, “Carol,” True sings, “I’ve been feeling restless and not living like I should / I think it’s time I packed my bags and left this place for good.” Dropping in fall of 2018 and co-produced with longtime collaborator Spencer Tweedy, True has finally showed us his knack for attaching lyrical depth with catchy music – and that’s not an easy task to take on.
True has been on the road for as long as he could remember. Playing in his longtime band The Blisters and opening up for bands like Deerhoof, Lucius, and Foxygen, it was only time until True would release more solo work. True has recently released a solo EP, Long Way Down, and is putting out his debut LP in fall of 2018. At the young age of 23, he surely has a bright future ahead. Make sure to keep your eyes peeled and ears ready to give the album a listen once it comes out.
We talked to Henry about the motivation behind “Carol” and the album, as well as the evolution of him as an artist. Check out the full interview below!
(Full Interview Below)
What's your listening background?
As a kid my parents played classic rock, The Beatles, Beach Boys, Black Sabbath. Lately I've been listening to METV radio on my way home from work. A lot of it is pretty pandering but every once in a while there's a 60s' gem. I also really like house music.
So, you more or less grew up playing in a band with your childhood friends called The Blisters which you still play shows with today. What's been the biggest transition?
I've been playing solo for as long as I've been playing with The Blisters. I have a large back catalog of songs that I wrote alongside the ones I played with the Blisters. Some songs were (and are) better suited to the band's sound, and some make more sense to present as a solo act. The biggest transition has been playing way more solo shows, which is a very different experience from performing with a band.
Some of our readers are musicians looking for advice, some are appreciators, and some just are just fans wanting to know more..... Elaborate on the process of making an album. There are people out there that have no idea what goes into an album. If you were to give us a timeline on how you broke down "the making of an album" how would you have done it?
As far as this new album goes, the songs were written over a two year period. In a broad sense this just involved writing the bare bones of a song and figuring out which ones were 1) any good and 2) similar thematically. I experimented with a non-standard guitar tuning and forced myself to essentially learn all new chords, which I think contributes to the overall sound of the album. That long period of writing and cutting also let me listen them over in my head. I recorded about 7 demos on a friend's four track portastudio. Several months after that, Spencer and I recorded a few of those songs to digital and I made a few additions to the tracklist and a few cuts. After spending so much time with those songs, recording the parts came fairly naturally and we were able to make good time on it.
What were your beginning intentions for this album and how did the project evolve to when you got in the studio to actually tracking?
I didn't really have a specific intention or initial scheme. I wrote songs continuously and listened back to them, and noticed patterns that I could emphasize. A few of the songs are set in a fictional aquatic beach scape. It was an image that I kept returning to, and it ended up being a backdrop to a good amount of the lyrical content.
The album changed quite a bit once it was recorded. We added some instrumentation and switched things around. Producing it with Spencer was a great experience and a strong collaborative effort.
So "Carol" is the first single. How did this song come about and why did you choose it as the leading single? Do you have a personal criteria you go by to choose what could make a good first impression? Or is it simply listening to music over the years, hearing the singles of artists you admire, and just creating an understanding on what works and what doesn't?
I wrote the song in Wisconsin while working on a friend's farm. I chose to release it first because it's one of my favorites on the album. When we were done recording the song, it sounded the way it sounded in my head, and what I hoped the song would be. And that made me want to share it.
Tell us where you ended up recording this album and who was involved in the making.
It was recorded in Appleton WI. Spencer and I produced it together, and he engineered it and played drums. There's some flute by Ali Shuger and saxophone by Sebastian Roman.
How have the conversations of making music evolved from doing it with 3 best friends to now doing it with only one? And I purposefully say best friend because there's a sense of comfort and level of vulnerability that takes shape between both parties when writing around a long-term friend.
I think we've been making music together for so long, that the conversation exists in the ether. Spencer and I were on the same page from the start as to how the album should sound, without really needing to voice it. I feel the same way about the albums we made with the Blisters. When you're really on the same wavelength musically with someone, the sound is there. Each collaborator reaches that sound in a different way, and with different tools. But it's really about finding that place of understanding, where everyone involved is reaching towards a unified sonic idea.
What's next? When does the album drop? Any shows coming up? Anything you want to tell the people? The floor is yours!
I'll be releasing another single, called "Sound Advice" in September. The album will come out in the fall. It's been a long process and I'm excited to finally share it with anyone who wants to listen to it. Also I'm on Instagram @_henrytrue_ and facebook @henrytruemusic. Have a great day - x henrytrue