The audio equivalent of a warm, hazy, sunlight-and-nostalgia-drenched photo of the best road trip you’ve ever had, Quiet Life has toured with bands such as the Head and the Heart, the Lumineers, Alabama Shakes, and Dr. Dog, crisscrossing the country in their biodiesel van.
On their fourth full length, Foggy, out April 8, Quiet Life teamed up with Dr. Dog singer / guitarist Scott McMicken, holing up in Mount Slippery, his band’s Pennsylvania studio, for two weeks of intensive writing, recording, and music-making.
For a group whose success, and sound, has organically grown with each new release, it was a dream come true.
“For over a decade Mickens and the rest of Dr. Dog have been a huge inspiration to us,” Quiet Life drummer and co-founder Ryan Spellman explained. “Working with Scott at Slippery allowed us to really see and understand how unique their recording process is. It was the first time we had ever gone into the studio with the intention of writing a record on the fly, and those dudes really helped create an environment that allowed us to write in an extremely creative and efficient way.”
The result is a record that, while holding true to Quiet Life’s fuzzy folk rock vibe, bridges new ground in terms of lyrical and musical depth.
“Foggy is the first record where we were able to really take the time to experiment with different sounds, change song structures, try different mic placements… All things that most bands, including us, recording records can be concerned they’re wasting time and money on,” Spellman admitted. “The mentality was never, ‘we have to get this part done now,’ it was, ‘hey, there are five guitars on that wall and four weird keyboards over there. Let's try them all!’”
Stretching out and creating in a relaxed environment seems to have agreed with the band, no surprise for such a naturally laid back group.
“For some reason, we finished two days early,” Spellman laughed.
This isn’t Quiet Life’s first collaboration. Their 2014 Housebroken Man EP featured My Morning Jacket’s Jim James and Shovels and Rope’s Cary Ann Hearst, but it’s the first time they brought someone in on the actual writing process.
“Their positive attitudes really set the tone, and having Scott involved and excited in the writing process really gave us this confidence in what we were making,” said Spellman.
Over the course of this process they filmed short clips, resulting in a mini documentary that can be seen above. You can hear the first single from the album, the dreamy, road-trip-ready “Lost in the Light,” below.
If “Lost in the Light” makes you yearn for summer’s warm sun, it’s no accident. Recorded during the season’s heavy, humid east coast dog days, the warmth became a collaborator in its own right.
“I really believe the heat played a huge role in the type of record we made,” mused Spellman’s brother and Quiet Life co-founder, Sean. “We were in a daze the whole time. 'Foggy' just seemed like the perfect title track.”