“Man, we have been working on this album for years!” Hustle and Drone mastermind Ryan Neighbors exclaims.
In 2012, Neighbors made the tough decision to leave Portugal. The Man to focus on his own creative pursuits, and in September 2014, the synth-laden trio released their wildly energetic debut Holyland.
With Hustle and Drone’s second full-length record due out November 8, sonically, What an Uproar sits in stark contrast to their initial offering. Slower, darker and more honest, it’s a cathartic collection of 11 songs, pared down from a total of 25 and then further honed over the last two years.
Like many of What an Uproar’s tracks, the lethargically catchy “Shadow Fly” “went through a lot of changes during the writing process,” Neighbors tells. “It used to have a little more of an uplifting chord progression. When our producer, Sonny DiPerri, flew out and listened to the demos with us, he shut that down. He let me know, in a very kind way, that the music needed to reflect the subject matter of the song."
"I hope that he's better than me," Neighbors repeats on “Shadow Fly,” followed closely by, "when you find another lover."
"Being that the song is about something pretty dark, we shifted the music drastically to affect that mood," he shares. "It is a deeply personal song to me and I am quite proud of the way it turned out.”
The album was recorded with DiPerri (Animal Collective, Protomartyr, Dirty Projectors, STRFKR) in Portland and Talkeetna, Ala.
“Spending two weeks in Alaska was a highlight for sure,” Neighbors says. “We built a studio at Boone Howard’s childhood home, out back in the loft area of a detached garage. Ryan Moore (synths) and I slept on a converted school bus. It was so fun but also the escape we needed to focus on lyrics and finalizing synth tones. Andy Black (bass and synths) and Sonny DiPerri (producer) came in huge when it came to samples and tones. I could just focus on the lyrics on the side of a cliff somewhere while they dialed in and perfected sounds. It was a good time!”
Much like the intensifying vibe of What an Uproar, it has been a slow build to get this record out into the world. From learning “how to play the songs live” to starting “a punk band called Help [with Howard and Bim Ditson of And And And], which has been pretty busy,” Neighbors says, “Life throws a lot at you sometimes.”