By Dani Kowalczyk
Philadelphia’s go-to indie-rock band, Weekender, has returned with their sophomore album, Floaty Feeling, Blue, after a long hiatus following Spanish Peaks. Opening for the likes of The Growlers, Surfer Blood, and Isreal Nash, the four piece band enters the scene with a newer sound, a refreshed awareness of hard work and a drive for what their their album could hold. We shared a few minutes with lead singer Derek Sheehan to talk synthesizers, new band members, and memorable moments.
Weekender has been classified as a Shoegaze rock band. Should we wonder where the inspiration for the name Weekender came about?
Derek: The name Weekender was one of a few names I was kicking around when I started the project. It ended up being appropriate because I have a day job, and most of the recording was spread out over a few months on the weekends.
Floaty Feeling, Blue is your second album to date. Can you share some of the changes made, lessons learned, or new sounds accepted for the album versus your first, Spanish Peaks?
Derek: I’ve grown as a songwriter since the first record. I also have a better understanding of effects/pedals…I incorporate them is a bit different as well. Working with Kyle has taught me a lot, he’s an excellent producer and has a great ear! He also has a bunch of fun recording tricks up his sleeve. For example on No Time to Waste I have a lead line in the beginning of the song that mirrors the bass melody. He had me learn the lead line backwards and then we recorded it. He reversed the backwards riff so it is being played the right way around, but has this crazy reverse sound to it. I love little details like that.
The use of synthesizers was an asset to the new sound, to the new album. What lead you to introduce the synthesizer into the foundation you had already made with the first?
Derek: I used some synth on the first record, but it was not as present as it is on Floaty Feeling, Blue. While making this record I purchased two 80’s synthesizers and they just added great depth and texture.
What was your process for writing and producing Floaty Feeling, Blue?
Derek: When I write songs I either hear a melody in my head first, or I just pick up my guitar and start noodling around. If I have an idea that feels good I’ll record guitar, synth, drum and bass loops on my computer. When I bring the demos to the studio sometimes they are structurally fully fleshed out and sometimes it’s just a verse and a chorus so many of the songs end up taking shape in the studio. I write with effects too so the demos generally have a production direction when I bring them to the studio.
Tell us some of your favorite bands!
Derek: I have a lot of favorites so here are my five favorite live shows I attended the last year or two: Amen Dunes, Allah Las, My Bloody Valentine, Tame Impala, People Under the Stairs
You’ve opened for many well-known artists, establishing yourself in Philadelphia. Can you tell me one of your most memorable? Any inspirational artists you hadn’t considered before?
Derek: Opening for The Growlers was super fun. The show sold out and it was a serious party. Their rider was funny – it was mostly booze and drugs. They had completely fogged out the whole room for their set, and they had green and pink rope lights draped around their amps and drums. It looked really cool so the next week I went out and bought a fog machine and rope lights haha. We opened for Future Islands in Savannah, Georgia, and it was a few nights after they appeared on Letterman. There was an energy around them that was just exciting. It’s a little hard to explain, but the whole venue was just buzzing. They were also super cool guys so that was a really fun show as well.
Finally, what is the most important meal of your day?
Derek: Dinner for sure.
Photo by : Jen Bragan Photography