Interview with Fred and Ethel - September - 2003 by Liam Edwards

[Click here see Fred and Ethel's CD, Can You See the Future?]

Milwaukee, WI - In the studio for the first time for Spirtone, Fred and Ethel are in the middle of the creative process. I got a chance to ask them a few questions about the process, in process. I will catch up with them again as the project nears completion. Like the dynamic stage act, you just don't know what to expect.

LE: I have seen your live act and you normally perform as an acoustic rock duo. Now you are working on your second studio album, but in a full band format. How did you prepare for the studio?

Fred: We recorded the songs on a boom box for Kenn to listen to. We got together with Kenn twice to "tweak" the arrangements and go over the songs. Again using the trusty boom box, we recorded what was tweaked and used that for a practice tape.  Kenn got together with Randy Mueller (the drummer) so he could hear the songs. That was the band's rehearsal for the studio.

LE: Live, there is a lot of interplay between the two of you vocally. How can you capture that feel in the studio?

Ethel: Oooo interplay...Since vocals are the strong point of our live act, the feeling of live performance is what Kenn wants to capture in the studio. Instead of recording the lead vocal and harmony separately, we sing while Kenn plays the guitar and Randy M plays the drums. We are indeed recording a live perfomance.

LE: How does this work exactly? Are you in separate isolation booths where you can see each other?

E: In the early stages of the project, Kenn asked how we would feel about singing vocals together at the same time. Kenn was certain we could pull it off and the idea made total sense. So, Fred and I are together in one room, Randy M. is in a room and Kenn is in the middle room with an eye on all of us.  We can see each other, talk to each other, hear each other breathe! The energy is can't help but feel it and it fuels you. That is what Fred and Ethel are all about.

LE: I know the release of "Can You See the Future?" is a few months out, but are there any stand-out tunes that you are really excited about?

E: At this point, "Can You See The Future?"
F: "Graffiti"
F/E: Good old "In Cement"

LE: How did you meet Kenn Fox and get involved with Spiritone Records?

E: We met Kenn a few years ago at Fox Music in Oconomowoc. We got to know him better when the store moved to its present location in downtown Watertown. Last winter while performing at the store, Kenn stopped by and afterwards we started talking about recording. He asked if we would be interested in recording a song for his fourth Wisconsin Artists compilation One on One. So we recorded an acapella version of "Damn The Poachers" at Randy 's Recording Studio and Kenn Fox produced it. It was a good way to see if we could work together. The chemistry created an awesome recording.  A few weeks later, we met with Kenn over Coronas and kohlrabi (from his garden) and talked about Spiritone Records, our next cd and Kenn producing it.

LE: Sometimes adding a producer to an existing group is liking bringing in another member of the band. How has the process been working with Kenn?

F: We are excited about working with Kenn. He has a professional attitude and we feed off of that.  If he says he's gonna do something, he does. He is the perfect band mate. and he's a guitar gawd!

LE: Now, Mr. Bones is part of your live show AND is credited with being your webmaster... so I have to ask... what role is he playing in the studio?

F: I better let Ethel answer this, Skully checks in with her for schedule updates.
E: So far he has only been with us in spirit. He has been fulfilling a prior theatre commitment with a heady performance in Macbeth. He would never be a numbskull and miss out on the next studio session.
F: After all he is the head of the band.
E: oooowww..


Final Notes: I just got the chance to hear rough mixes of about half the album. The F&E energy translates well to the electrified rock band format with new power that you are not going to want to miss. ---Liam


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