Features

Julian Harmon of The Morning Benders

By Andy Doerschuk Published July 25, 2009

Age: 20
Hometown: Berkeley, CA

Often compared to the music of Neil Young, The Morning Benders are an indie band from Berkeley, California. In 2008, they released their debut album, Talking Through Tin Cans, on +1 Records, which was deemed the best indie/alternative album of 2008 by iTunes. That same year, the band hit the road with such artists as Death Cab for Cutie, The Kooks, and Ra Ra Riot.

How would you describe the feel of the new album?
All the songs have a really good groove to them. If I had to describe the album in one word, it would be difficult to do so. I'm glad I don't have to.

How prepared were you before going into the studio?
We'd spent a good amount of time working out the new songs. I think it's good not to be fully prepared before recording. Some of the best things caught on tape are spontaneous

How long did it take to track your drum parts?
Depends on the song. The first song we tried to record took all day to get a good drum sound. I almost passed out from playing so much and my arms felt like Jello. I mean -- I always get it on the first take.

Did you record to a click track? How well did that work?
No, I prefer not to. I think it allows more space, or something.

Did you record your tracks with the entire band or alone?
We played together mostly, sometimes just me and Chris [Chu, guitar/vocals]. It's weird to just play drums with no music.

Do you wear earplugs, in-ears, or monitors with no earplugs?
I should really start wearing earplugs, but it's just not the same with them. I figure hearing loss is inevitable, why not use it while you have it?

Do you play your drum parts onstage exactly the same way that you recorded them?
Yeah, more or less. I like when drummers play the same or close to the recording. Otherwise, I'm like, "Aww where's that sweet drum part?"

Do you warm up before going on stage?
No, I need to start doing that, and stretching. I've heard some horror stories, like when we were out with The Kooks their drummer had to leave the tour cause he was in so much pain.

Do you feel perfect time is mandatory in creating a groove?
Not at all. Most of my favorite bands/drummers don't have perfect time. It adds more character.

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