Back in February of 2016-- maybe 2015— we, Friend Roulette had a great offer to go do two shows in Virginia. Even though we love, love, love our audience in Richmond and Harrisonburg, a two show run wasn’t quite enough to make the drive make sense. So we contacted Alex Tebeleff of the band (and then house venue of the same name) Paperhaus about putting together a DC show. He had another idea. Record an album at his house. His bandmate Ricky had just moved into the basement with a bunch of mics, a huge mixing board, etc. We had new songs. It was just enough to justify the whole trip.
What I, Matt Meade, the guitarist in Friend Roulette, really loved about this session was that I was completely checked out. Up to this point in the band’s life, I usually played “leader", and in studio settings, I would spend my time pacing back and forth, staring at the clock watching the minutes pass, worrying if we were going to get everything done, worrying about the parts other people were playing… generally annoying the fuck out of everyone. When we headed south for this trip, I had just finished a good 28 days straight of working long hours and was about as tired as I'd ever been. When we arrived, I recall immediately going into my usual nervous studio mode upon walking into the house. Then I encountered Ricky. Ricky might be the slowest engineer-producer we've ever worked with. The pace was “okay, so that snare sounds pretty good, bass sounds good, let’s go have a smoke and then maybe get some guitar sounds" whether the band was smoking or not. I felt like there was a spliff sparked in between every take. It gave us lots of time to think about what we were doing... or not think at all. As soon as we had all the basic tracks and I had done my few vocals, someone gave me a Klonopin or Xanax or something and I just laid on the floor of the studio and went to sleep for 5 hours. I woke up around 11pm to the sounds of cheering and bottles being cracked, because the album was done.
Then we waited. Friend Roulette loves to wait. We just waited and waited until finally we decided to get Mr. Jeff Berner to mix it. We mixed it in one day with the guy and then we waited some more. I was on a boat in Mexico when I decided this album needed a 4th song. I knew very clearly what song It had to be as it was ringing in my ears. It was a song that John Stanesco, Friend Roulette EWI master, had written for his senior recital in college 6 years prior. I arranged it, Julia wrote lyrics for it, and we recorded it in my home studio. And then we waited some more, until we got offered some more free studio time to record the drums and bass to finish the track out.
Nw we’ve got a four song record that only took about that many years to make. What these songs are about I don't quite know, but as I’ve revisited them, I’ve realized there's something timely about them. You might think “Black Hole” was written in response to the kind of shit we’re dealing with today with that shitbird we call president. "Clocks" is somewhat of a self-hatred self-realization song. “Wash n' Burn" has heavy escapist themes to it. And I think “Blacked Out” may just literally be about your cell phone dying while you're blacked out. There’s gotta be some useful metaphors in that. Anyhow, these are really just my guesses. Lyrically these songs are sparse, yet perhaps direct and incisive, too. We hope people will actually make something out of them for themselves, as we, Friend Roulette have resigned to letting them exist just as they are and nothing more.
released November 16, 2018
Friend Roulette is...
Matthew Flory Meade
Produced by Friend Roulette
Recorded by Ricky Irby
Additional recording by Matt Meade and Jeff Berner
Mixed by Jeff Berner
Mastered by Paul Damian Hogan III
The birth of Family Planning. A very beautiful & crucial album that you have probably not heard. Do yourself a favor. Poetry in motion. The seasick sort. Real life shit. Honesty, honestly. Pretty Purgatory