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Weekender: A Shared Interest in Fuzz.

January 9, 2015

WeekenderOnline01Text by Brian Wilensky. Images by Charles Shan Cerrone.

It’s a sunny Saturday afternoon in Fairmount, just two blocks from Eastern State Penitentiary where Derek Sheehan and two other members of Weekender are sitting at the bar inside London Grill. They mention that they’re moving in low gear because of hanging out late the night before.

Sheehan, the band’s lead songwriter, bassist Joe Grillo and guitar player Tom Anthony get a table outside when it’s time to switch from a liquid lunch to an actual meal. Each of them are laid back and seem rather carefree this afternoon as they start explaining how the hook-laden, yet prone-to-drone psych pop band works from the inside out.

Sheehan has been at the helm of the band’s writing process since its infancy back in 2012 under the moniker, The Tweeds. He starts with an idea and records all parts of the song – drums, bass guitars and all – even recording it, before presenting it to the rest of the band. But he doesn’t come into their practices with a totalitarian outlook. In fact, the way he comes in with tunes ready is actually welcomed by the band.

“I think having a primary driver is an effective way to work,” Anthony says. “Because when he brings songs in I put something over it and bounce ideas off Derek.”

Between the shared interest in fuzz that bounces before floating to the top of the skull and Sheehan’s penchant for hooks, Weekender has been able to work and write efficiently with their current lineup. But personnel is something that wasn’t solidified until last summer, when Grillo and drummer Alex Ocko joined. Their lineup had been in flux for the better part of the band’s existence. Until this summer, Sheehan’s brother held the drumming role but they mutually decided it wasn’t working anymore.

“It just turned into being too much ‘bro time,’” Sheehan says. “We were doing everything together even when we weren’t playing together. We even date sisters. It was just too much.”

However, the rhythm section changes posed no threat to the band’s sound. Their first EP, Spanish Peaks, features an earthy title track and the dense “No Help from Jesus,” which is right in line with their next, still unnamed, six-song EP. It’s expected to be out in early 2015 on PaperCup Music and will have the other-worldly, “No Time to Waste.”

“‘Spanish Peaks’ was the last song recorded for that EP and I sort of feel like that was the first Weekender song,” Anthony says about how they’re now moving in the right direction. “Derek had written the others before the name change and before I was even in the band.”

WeekenderOnline02That raises the question of why there was so much time between releases. Basically, life just got in the way as each member works full-time. Or the fact that over those two years, Sheehan recorded eight new songs but they decided to can all of them

“We decided to take everything in a completely different direction,” Sheehan says. “So we scrapped the whole thing. This time we wrote seven, but we’re going to use six.”

This fall, Sheehan took an entire week off work to record the new songs. But getting that kind of time to spend recording isn’t always going to be available. Now that it’s almost ready, Weekender’s got their eye on bigger things later on the calendar.

“Right now, I’d say we’re about 60 percent complete,” he says about finishing the new record. “And with the next chunk we finish, we’ll probably be at about 90 percent. So, we’re almost there. Sometimes I feel like it never stops between work and the music and that I’m spread thin. But it’s what you’ve got to do if you have the ambition.”

One Comment
  1. Anonymous permalink
    January 10, 2015 10:44 am

    Like very much !!!

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