Interview: Safety

We recently had the chance to interview Safety about their upcoming EP, Congratulate Me, I’ve Lost My Mind. The EP will be out August 14th via Community Records and you can grab a copy here. Check out the interview with Andy Diaz below!

When did the band first start and how did you all meet?

We started Safety when Grayum and I (Andy) were fourteen years old in Tampa, FL. He had a bass, his neighbor had a drum kit, so I bought a guitar. Grayum and our original drummer Ben have known each other since they were five, and I met both of them when we all went to the same middle school together: Young Middle Magnet School of Math, Science, and Technology, where we always do the right thing.

When Grayum and I decided to move to New York to see what we could do in the city, Ben decided to stay back in Florida. At this point Safety had already been a band for nine years, and we didn’t really want to stop putting out Safety records, so we auditioned one drummer, Nick, who we immediately invited into the band. Nick’s been in the band for just over two years.

How long did it take for you to find your sound? Are you still trying out new styles and honing your sound?

This is a really hard question, and one we talk about a lot. We all have different opinions about what our sound is, and what we want to sound like, so when we’re writing music together it all sort of meets in the middle. We all grew up listening to punk, but as time’s gone on and we’ve found other genres we’re interested in, the sound has grown in a few directions, and we think it continues to.

What was your recording process like for Congratulate Me, I’ve Lost My Mind?

We approached this record the way we’ve approached others, where Grayum writes and records songs, and I do the same. We compare them, take notes, and narrow the entire batch down to a few we’re most excited about. We started the process with around nine full songs, which we intended to slim down to about six or seven, but the more we worked on the songs together in the practice space, the more a few specific songs started to set themselves apart from the others. These are the five we chose to record for the record. I don’t really remember how many hours we spent writing/practicing/editing these songs, but most nights we worked until around 2:00 AM.

After we felt comfortable with the songs, we brought in our producer Bryan Russell, ran through the songs with him for about a week tweaking some things, then set off to do the actual tracking. We blasted through drum tracking in two brutal days. To save money we recorded in an after-hours studio, and even then we were still working during the day. Pretty sure nobody slept that entire weekend, but Nick was a monster and really killed those tracks. Afterwards, we moved Bryan’s recording equipment into Grayum’s and my apartment we called “The Whuve’s Den.” There we spent about a month recording guitars, bass, and vocals during the day. Fortunately we tracked all of those in the apartment, because it gave us the opportunity to really play around with some sounds/parts and make the album exactly the way we wanted.

I had a chance to listen to the EP and really enjoyed it. What was the inspiration for it?

I was sitting in my room working on some music I’d written, but didn’t have any vocals for. Grayum walked in, asked what I was playing, and told me he had some lyrics he couldn’t put to music. He wanted to try singing those lyrics over my guitar tracks he’d just heard. We recorded the first demo to “The Shadow Over Brooklyn,” right then and we loved it. We used that song as the benchmark and jumping off point for “Congratulate Me, I’ve Lost My Mind.”

What are the upcoming plans for the release? Will you be touring to support the EP?

We would really love to tour on this, but we all have really comfortable beds. Specifically, Nick has a very comfortable bed. Instead of playing shows, we’re going to sit in Nick’s bed. When we get out of Nick’s bed, we’ll be playing shows in Trenton, Philadelphia, and Brooklyn on August 13, 14, and 15 respectively. We’re also booked on a festival in New Orleans in October, and we’re playing The Fest 14 in Gainesville then, too, so we’ll be doing a tour down through the states in a couple of months.

What was your favorite thing about recording this release?

Inarguably, the amount of time we had to record this EP. We felt no pressure and had the freedom to explore sounds and ideas instead of looking at the clock. Working with Bryan Russell was also a really amazing experience.

Anything else our readers should know about the band?

If we could do it all over again, we’d do it exactly the same, except we’d rename our band “Long Distance Dads,” “Your Girlfriend’s Cats,” or “Bird Fluergman.”