“I knew about John McEntire’s Soma Studios in a kind of mythical, abstract way,” says Movie Jail’s Dave Cobb. “But it never crossed my mind that we’d have an opportunity to work with him.”
And by all accounts, the collaboration between the Kentucky noise-pop quintet and McEntire has been a fortuitous one. “Tortoise and the Sea And Cake were very important bands for me—the same is true of Stereolab’s Dots And Loops, which John co-produced,” says Cobb. “Many of the projects he’s involved with have this clean, spacious aesthetic where you hear all the instruments distinctly even when they combine in complex ways. That type of approach seemed right for our songs.”
Movie Jail’s self-titled debut for the Kentucky-based Desperate Spirits label was produced by McEntire, who also plays vibraphone on the EP. “Much of what you hear on the record is essentially John’s first pass at the mix,” says Cobb. “His instincts are just eerily good. He recorded the vibraphone parts remotely, which was more complicated. But we gave him very little feedback on the overall vibe of the record. He just got it.”
Movie Jail is set for release on March 3. In the meantime, there’s the arty, hooky sonic barrage of “Call The Neighbors” and its accompanying video for you to enjoy.
“The video started as one of those ideas you write on a scrap of paper before falling asleep: a comedian is bombing so badly that his microphone decides to make an escape,” says Cobb. “I like stories that pit characters against unseen forces or absurdity. And there are a lot of parallels between comedy and music—how they either captivate an audience or fall flat. The main actor, Ruda Tovar, does standup comedy in real life, so we relied on his ideas and instincts throughout the shooting. He improvised the scene where he’s leaving notes on the dressing-room mirror, which ended up fitting the overall theme. I suppose the message is: Don’t chase the mic.”
MAGNET is proud to premiere the video for “Call The Neighbors” today.