Quasi | WIG175 | Released: 20/03/06
Sam said yesterday, "I can't believe the record turned out so good." We worked on When the Going Gets Dark for almost three difficult years. Quasi is the same two people since the beginning, since our cassette tape debut in 1993. Sam Coomes and Janet Weiss. We've been to hell and back as musicians and friends, and we wanted that depth to significantly impact the new material. When we began the process of hashing out songs for our seventh go, the idea was to focus not on studio trickery or fancy overdubbing, but on the life force between us when we sat down and played. On Hot Shit we did away with our signature, distorted rock-si-chord keyboard sound, so we delved in with Sam primarily on acoustic piano. We figured if nothing else, we play better together now than ever. And there were plenty of reasons to make another record. With the political and social climate hinging on dehumanization, and corporations infiltrating EVERYTHING, we needed to whittle down our musical relationship to its bold and unruly core. Improvisation, and a language we've been constructing since first playing together in 1990, facilitated the creation of unique, unrestrained moments. The songs were loose, the playing looser still.
The turbulent act of being alive made it impossible for When the Going Gets Dark to sound anything less than rollicking and unruly. Unlike our last two records, which we did at home ourselves, When the Going Gets Dark was tracked in a local Portland studio called Audible Alchemy. Our hope was that without the stresses and logistical difficulties of being musicians and engineers simultaneously, we would be liberated enough to propel our playing to a new level. This did in fact happen. Our takes were some of the most daring and expansive of our career. We captured sounds that were powerful, unrepeatable, and unmistakably psychedelic. Images began to emerge, centered on dreams, memories, and defiance, and it seemed our record was coming together. But problems and frustrations with the studio slowed us down, and by mixdown, the sessions came to a halt. We let sleeping dogs lie for a while, and then I had the bright idea to call Dave Fridmann, the genius who produced The Woods for my other band Sleater-Kinney. He agreed to take the tapes to his studio in Fredonia, NY (Tarbox Road Studios). It was like winning the lottery. He understood the intensity and beautiful chaos we had captured. He made the mixes powerful and unpredictable. He enhanced the swirling, layered, psyche feel, and I swear, sprinkled fairy dust on our record. I am proud of this music. Most of the bands that started when Quasi did are broken up or playing reunion shows. Tastes have changed, and fans have moved onto other things. But in the end, it's the indescribable, soulful connection between Sam and me that compels us to continue writing and recording our songs. When the Going Gets Dark proves that all the blood, sweat and tears were worthwhile. Janet Weiss, drummer.