How Weezer, Deerhoof and Marked Men Made a ‘#1 Hit Single’ for Cende
Influence is fleeting and ever-changing. Sure, a band might be rooted in a particular style, but how they mold their music from that initial blueprint into something different is how they find their specific sound — a rapper may be influenced by Krautrock and seek out old loops, or a metal band might be inspired by Aretha Franklin and decide to move toward clean, epic vocals.
Featuring members of Porches and LVL UP, Cende are a Brooklyn-based indie band that tips their hat to the projects of Jeff Burke and Mark Ryan (Marked Men, Radioactivity), as well as indie pop from yesteryear — everything from Camera Obscura (thanks to Frankie Cosmos) and Marshall Crenshaw to the jangle of Flying Nun in its prime. And while some of these influences are readily apparent, others are not so. We asked frontman Cameron Wisch about four key records that helped shape new album #1 Hit Single (which recently dropped on Double Double Whammy), and how they manifested on the new offering. His answers are below.
WEEZER, WEEZER (THE BLUE ALBUM)
Obviously a classic, but also a divisive choice. Many people prefer Pinkerton to the Blue Album. How did the Blue Album manifest itself on the new LP?
Both albums are great. I chose the Blue Album because it was the first Weezer record I heard. In eighth, grade I downloaded it onto my Xbox and would play Tony Hawk with the Blue Album on repeat. Those songs really ingrained themselves in me, and now I find myself using a lot of chord progressions and song structures reminiscent of the Blue Album. I'm often tempted to put a guitar solo playing the vocal melody over the verse of a song, which is a very Weezer move. We use that in our songs "What I Want" and "Void."
THE MARKED MEN, FIX MY BRAIN
Pure power-pop. How do you think Fix My Brain stacks up against On the Outside?
Hmmm ... Honestly, I probably listen to On the Outside more nowadays. The back and forth vocals on "Don't Lose It" get me every time, and "Right Here With You" might be my favorite of their songs. Fix My Brain was the first album of theirs I heard, and [it] blew me away. The songs are so catchy and well-constructed.
What are your thoughts on Radioactivity? Lost Balloons? Mind Spiders?
I love Radioactivity. Just heard Lost Balloons for the first time the other day — excited to hear more! It's cool to hear Jeff Burke's songwriting in this new context.
Fix My Brain and virtually all of the work of Mark Ryan / Jeff Burke is comparable. How do you think that specific record influenced your LP?
When Cende began, I was shifting away from writing more complex "mathy" songs to writing more straightforward, catchy punk songs. The Marked Men and Fix My Brain were a big inspiration for that. I think that shows more on our EP than it does on the LP.
THE BEACH BOYS, PET SOUNDS
Undeniable classic. Were any unconventional methods used in the making of your new LP, similar to Pet Sounds?
Pet Sounds was definitely an inspiration to expand and diversify the sounds on the album. The methods we used weren't very unconventional. What I tried to take away from Pet Sounds and apply to our record was to have more interesting arrangements and be much more detail-oriented with the recording process. We incorporated more synths, vocal harmonies, strings, etc. Any chance I could move away from guitars and use some other textures, I tried to do that. I'd like to push that much further on future records.
DEERHOOF, APPLE O
Wildly creative band with an incredible live show. How did you become acquainted with Deerhoof, and what do you admire about them?
Deerhoof has been one of my favorite bands for a long time. I first heard them in 2007. I've seen them live many times, and booked them at SUNY Purchase when I was the general programming coordinator there. They're always pushing the envelope with their live show, the production of their records, their songwriting. I really admire that they don't ever settle into one sound; they're constantly experimenting.
How did you apply Deerhoof's idea to the new LP?
Dave [Medina] and I definitely pull from Deerhoof's use of screeching bluesy riffs. That can be found in different songs on the album.