Sitting in TwentyFiveEight Studios in Scranton, Jim Reynolds and Tim McDermott are surrounded by the latest high-tech mixing, recording, and production equipment, yet for the past eight years, they‚??ve been trying to make a record that sounds scratched and dated.
The irony isn‚??t lost on the talented pair of musicians who call themselves The Push. In fact, they‚??re quite in on the joke, releasing ‚??Greatest Hits Volume One‚?Ě as their debut album.
‚??We decided the concept for the album was going to be The Push is a fictional band of the late ‚??70s, early ‚??80s and to write an album that would encompass an entire career,‚?Ě McDermott began. ‚??What would a band have done throughout that era?‚?Ě
‚??What challenges would they have been faced with? How would their music have evolved from, say, 1977 to 1984 or ‚??85?‚?Ě Reynolds asked.
‚??We‚??re never ripping off anything. It just reminds you of it,‚?Ě McDermott clarified.
The Push started in 2004 when the two childhood friends were hanging out during a college break and decided to record something.
‚??What came out was a song that sounded like a ‚??70s ballad, and I think we just found it funny. We were raised on it. We grew up with it, and now we‚??re old enough to see how funny it is,‚?Ě McDermott explained.
‚??When we‚??re sitting here recording, we‚??ll adopt these characters who are arrogant, but they‚??re also na√Įve about it, like they genuinely believe that they‚??re trendsetting.‚?Ě
‚??We were lucky enough to grow up in that era of MTV where you saw music videos and were exposed to that sort of thing. I just feel like everything that we saw growing up as kids and weren‚??t old enough to laugh at yet, looking back on it now it‚??s like, ‚??Oh yeah, I remember that. It is funny!‚??‚?Ě Reynolds continued.
‚??At the end of the day, Tim and I like to laugh at everything we do. If it‚??s not funny to us, we‚??re probably not going to do it. We can sit here and laugh about the ‚??80s forever.‚?Ě
It may be funny, but it certainly wasn‚??t easy. Reynolds said it was a real learning experience researching what gear was used by what band during what time period to hone the sound ‚??down to the tee.‚?Ě
‚??We pick the best aspects of that era that we like and put it into our music, and I feel like, visually, we picked the best aspects of what we like from ‚??80s album art,‚?Ě he emphasized, referring to the Duran Duran-like cover art on the new ‚??old‚?Ě album.
‚??It might be a synthesizer sound. It might it a type of drum beat that was typical of a band or a harmony style or guitar sound or bass sound. Whatever it is, you try to just stay in that vibe‚?Ľ What‚??s awesome now is with the computer stuff it‚??s like you don‚??t have the physical wah-wah pedal or you don‚??t have to have that synthesizer. We can call up really close approximations.‚?Ě
‚??There‚??s a song where we wanted to try to get the synthesizer from a Talking Heads song because we really liked it. We wanted to do a song that sounded like 1982-83,‚?Ě McDermott pointed out. ‚??We researched and we found a message with engineers discussing how they achieved that sound, so we found the synthesizer. It was run through a specific wah pedal. There‚??re a lot of details put into it.‚?Ě
The songs all have record crackles and even change ‚??sides‚?Ě in the middle; a filter allowed the 10 tracks to sound as if they were recorded to tape before being transferred to disc.
‚??I know a lot of people are into retro where they‚??ll really take the things of the ‚??80s they love plus really throw a lot of modern stuff in it and mix it. We wanted to go for genuine ‚??80s where if it was slipped into your record collection of that era, it could go unnoticed. ‚?ĽIf we told people everybody we did this on tape machines, I think they would believe us,‚?Ě Reynolds enthused.
‚??A lot of people like to go back into the nostalgia and mix it with modern, but they usually forget the bad aspects. We like to kind of hang around and focus on the rough edges of it.‚?Ě
Even the video for their first cheesy single, ‚??Dance Pants,‚?Ě has all the authentic ‚??80s green screen and product placement clich√©s one would expect from a band from that era.
‚??Here we shot on 1080p HD cameras with professional lighting and all this stuff just to throw it through a filter of VHS-quality tape at the end to make it look like it‚??s a VHS tape,‚?Ě Reynolds noted with a laugh.
‚??There‚??s a part in the video where it looks like somebody accidentally taped over part of the music video with a WNEP broadcast from the early ‚??80s, and then it goes back to the video because there‚??re so many times we have these fuzzy memories of putting in a video tape and that happening,‚?Ě McDermott added.
The 28-year-old Scranton residents are releasing the album at TwentyFiveEight Studios, where they both work, in a special performance with a local supergroup comprised of members of Graces Downfall, Maybe Someday, The Switch, and Farley on Jan. 5. The show is presented by The Vintage Theater, and a portion of the proceeds will benefit victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary tragedy in Conn., showing that they do, occasionally, have a serious side.
‚??One time, we just sat down and were like, ‚??Wow, there‚??s a lot of good, catchy stuff here. Even though we might think it‚??s a joke, our joking is pretty good,‚??‚?Ě Reynolds said of their finished product, eliciting laughter from McDermott for sounding too much like their conceited fictional counterparts.
‚??Our ability to make music while we‚??re joking is pretty good, I should say.‚?Ě
The Push Album Release Concert: Jan. 5, 6:30 p.m., TwentyFiveEight Studios (703 N. Washington Ave., REAR, Scranton). $10, only available on thepushrock.brownpapertickets.com.