The Devil in the details

Dirty Socialites; photo credit: Amanda Barbosa Dirty Socialites; photo credit: Amanda Barbosa

Dayton bands discuss their recent releases

By Tim Anderl

While the bond between fan and band is forged in the music that is burned to CD, pressed to wax, offered digitally or performed in a live setting, a musician or band is married to their music from conception through birth. What many casual listeners overlook is the fact that what happens during that creation process can change or shape the result.

Dayton City Paper recently tracked down a handful of local musicians with recent releases to explore this process. This is what they told us…

Human Cannonball

For those not in the know, Human Cannonball’s latest is the follow up to frontman Jesse Remnant’s 2008 solo album The Human Cannonball. For his debut, Remnant (who plays bass in Misra Record’s Southeast Engine) wrote and arranged all his own songs and played all the instruments. With this outing, he enlisted a band of seasoned local players – including Eric Cassidy (guitar), Ken Hall (keyboards), Bryan Lakatos (bass) and Dan Stahl (drums) – and the recording expertise of Josh Antonuccio (the engineer behind the last four Southeast Engine records).

When did you begin writing the material for Let’s Be Friends?

Well, the album was recorded in July of 2010. A few of the songs were probably a couple of years old even at that point, so some of these songs are probably about five years old. But the thing with this album is that a few of the songs were written as we were recording. We went into the studio with about 14 songs and ended up recording 19. I’m a firm believer in the flow of creative juices.

We were already in a very creative mindset with the recording of the album and so I would get home over the next couple of weeks and just write and write. And with a few of those songs, I just called up Josh Antonnucio, (our producer for this record) and said “I’ve got something new,” and I would go in and record it. –Jesse Remnant

What was the most difficult song to take from the initial writing stage through recording and mixing? Why was it so troublesome?

The most difficult song to get to where it is was “Overtime.” That was a song that I wrote probably a year before the recording of the album and I had recorded a demo of it on a 4-track cassette recorder. When I wrote it, I didn’t really think much of it. I kind of felt that it was sort of a rip-off.

The arrangement was really the hardest thing to get down. There were suggestions that we try to do it in a sort of upbeat Beach Boys style. I liked the idea of that so we threw together an arrangement in that style for the studio. When we got into the studio, it just didn’t work. We tried a few other arrangements with drums and other full band instrumentation and nothing seemed to work.

So we ended up going back to my original idea for the song that was just acoustic guitar and bass. From there we added a few things like another guitar and organ and some percussion. It just took a long time for us to figure out: the simpler the better. -JR

Dirty Socialites

Earlier this year, Dayton City Paper caught up with Dirty Socialites, who were the resident artists at South Park Tavern’s NTRO/XPO in April.  The band was also in the midst of supporting their ambitious Amor or Armor LP with regional dates, and in the pre-production stages for another LP.

Temple of Psychedelic Youth, the latest record from the Sonic Youth and Pixies inspired rockers, showcases a band that has grown to include Mike Werthmann (drums) and Matt Webster (bass). Per usual, Derek Gullett and Gretta Smak are handling the vocals and guitars for the outing, a collection of edgy pop gems. This is what Gullett and Smak told us about the release (which is expected to drop Dec. 12 via Consumer Value Deluxe/Dayton Dirtbag Society Records).

Which of the songs on Temple of Psychedelic Youth is most different from your original concept for the song?

“Do Maki” has changed a lot and so has “Know Sickly Hearts” that song keeps evolving in a good way. It’s been the beautiful mutant. -Derek Gullett

Who produced the record?  What input did that person have that changed the face of the record?

Derek produced the record and every time he does this he says, “I am going to get someone else to do the next one. It’s just easier …” And he’s already talking about how he wants to do the next one. He spent a lot of time making tape loops and adding this whole different undercurrent of sound, that we didn’t even know or hear when practicing or performing the songs live. He’d say “Don’t worry. I can hear this sound in my head, I just need to figure out how to make it.”

It’s weird to watch him work, and sometimes kind of annoying. He spends too much time listening for clicks and things that I don’t always hear, but it always makes it better. –Greta Smak

Is there an overarching concept behind your new album that ties the record together?

Alienation, love, loss, fear, fun, rebirth, creation, exclamation! –DG

Rediscovery. –GS

For more information on Human Cannonball, visit For more information on Dirty Socialites, visit

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