Bombadil certainly had an interesting year: The Durham quartet made a great album. Stuart Robinson decided he'd go back to school. Tendinitis in the hands of bassist Daniel Michalak became debilitating. The band is now on indefinite hiatus. Bryan Rahija talked about Tarpits and Canyonlands and its many challenges and rewards.
INDEPENDENT WEEKLY: What was the most challenging aspect of finishing Tarpits and Canyonlands?
BRYAN RAHIJA: In no particular order:
1. Getting tracks in fewer takes
2. Having to adjust Daniel [Michalak]'s involvement based on his hand injuries
3. Cabin fever (20 straight days on one task in one house)
4. Reimagining the future when Stuart [Robinson] told us he would be going back to school
What has been the most rewarding aspect of finishing Tarpits and Canyonlands, be it musical or through opportunities it's afforded your band?
There's something fun about getting a stack of those freshly minted discs—to finally have a physical representation of something that has been abstract for so long. Equally rewarding is to be able to move on to new material. It's easy to get lost in songs and get swallowed up. After being adrift in a lifeboat, it's nice to finally see an island.
If you could change one thing about the record, what would it be?
Make it shorter. Who has time to listen to a whole record these days? My favorite records get in and get out.
And what's something about the record you find interesting that no one's pointed out?
The guitar solo in "Kate and Kelsey" is actually a duet. Because it was all harmonics, we had to come up with two wacky tunings in order to get all the notes and be able to play it in a musical way. Also: WE LOVE PROG ROCK. At least some band members do.
Try to limit yourself to one answer: What's your favorite local album of 2009, other than the one you made?
Does The Love Language count? I think technically they were selling CD-R versions of this disc locally before '09, but man did these tunes stick around. I love the melodies and the tape overdrive and the vibe. On top of that, Stu McLamb is the only guy I've found that matches my enthusiasm for Rod Stewart.