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Q&A With The Cringe’s John Cusimano |

Q&A With The Cringe’s John Cusimano

And I was checking out your bio and it said your previous album, 2010’s Play Thing, was “the result of a painstaking writing process and a rigorous recording ethic.” How did the writing and recording process compare on the new LP?


It was probably even more rigorous! [laughs] This is our fourth album and each album becomes more and more sort of a democratic process. Our first album, Scratch The Surface, was basically a John Cusimano solo album with a bunch of musicians that played on it. I kind of made all the decisions, wrote every word, every lyric, called all the shots. The second album had a little more input; we started playing with our current guitarist, Roto – but again, it was mostly me calling the shots. Then starting with Play Thing, we really started to work on lyrics together extensively and people would bring their own little parts and sections to songs. We’d sort of cobble together a bridge that someone wrote with a verse and lyrics that I wrote, and a chorus that someone else wrote. And that was even more extensive on this album. … You have more cooks in the kitchen so there’s a lot more discussion. … People don’t like the way a certain drum sounds or [how] certain bass part is played … This is just part of the process [and] at the end of the process you want to have a good product. I think [Hiding In Plain Sight] ended up becoming our best one yet.

Your bio also mentioned that Play Thing’s recording process featured “a creative collision of analog purists and digital renegades.” Which camp do you side with?

I’m more of an analog guy. Our second album, Tipping Point, is completely analog. We recorded it at a studio in New York called Avatar in their big, beautiful room “A.” We recorded everything to tape. We didn’t have any digital gear even. We used all vintage guitars, vintage gear, analog equipment. We mixed it from tape onto tape and then we mastered it from tape onto vinyl. We also did a CD and digital release but if you buy the vinyl version of Tipping Point you’re going to get pure analog recording – there’s not one digital note on that whole thing. And I really love the analog process. Digital is certainly much more convenient and it can be faster. It can also be slower because it doesn’t force you to make choices the way analog does. When you’re tracking to analog, if you make a mistake, you wanna change it, you’re changing it permanently. It’s not like digitally, you can save all your takes, save all your choices and go back and mix and match, replace and edit, pretty easily and quickly. It’s not that simple in analog so you really have to have everything sort of ironed out and make these important decisions beforehand. I think that kind of forces you to be a better band in a lot of ways. It actually streamlines the recording process.

Plus, I just love the sound of analog. Some people argue that analog is the better sound; some people argue that digital sounds better. To my ears, it’s kind of what I grew up with [and] has more of a warm, resonate sound to me. Especially when you’re playing real instruments in a room – four guys: guitar, keyboard, bass, drums – it seems more honest to me if you do it on tape.

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