All’s been quiet on the Belaire front, but after returning to the stage during this year’s South by Southwest, the band will release their second full-length album on April 21 at 29th Street Ballroom at Spider House. The band sat down with UWeekly to discuss their reunion and what it was like to be in the documentary Echotone.
Where have you been in the last five years?
Jason Chronis: I guess we had a long lull because we were a live band with new members for awhile, and we ended up dissolving the live band and trying to figure out what to do next. We had started recording a few songs for this record that we just finished, but I think we lost direction and didn’t know if we wanted to keep working on this.
Cari Palazzolo: We ran into some serious personal challenges and triumphs. I went broke. I had to start a full-time job to make enough money to cover the bills. So during that time, that was I guess 2009, I lost focus and really just became a recluse actually. So it wasn’t until 2011 that we picked up recording again. It was literally a period of two years, a year and a half at least, that we were just deathly silent. Then 2011 came around. There were all sorts of triumphs and challenges, really awesome growing experiences, making mistakes and learning and connecting on the super grand scale similar to the grand scale of the album. The album has a real kind of epic nature.
Like a “We’re here! We’re back!” kind of epicness?
CP: Yeah. In the last eight months of the year we finished off the album with some pretty full-time working. We worked really super hard.
JC: At the end there, we were working ten hours a day, five days a week, sometimes more on the record for the last three to six months in there. We were working constantly. Just seemed like it never ended. There was so much work to do for it.
CP: On top of that, we actually got some music-for-hire work through a local ad company GSD&M here in town. We got to work with them, and that was kind of brutal but was a really great learning experience. That, I think, really put us into third gear.
Because Echotone came out in 2010 and you came back together in 2011, do you feel that put you back in people’s minds again?
CP: Kind of. The whole year passed by. They were editing it from 2008 to 2009. Then it came out in 2010 and the whole rest of the year went by. I was in this really weird mindset. I think being in that movie made me want to be a recluse. I think being exposed for the first time was really awkward for me. I just wanted to hide away, but after that year finished up, it was like a full year had to pass, and I was like, “Oh, ok, this needs to happen again.” Suddenly, Matt (Simon), Jason and I were like, “This needs to happen. Too much time has passed.” I think that was a lot to do with it. Like, why are we sitting on all this music for so long?
JP: Yeah, I think for me also, seeing the movie out and hearing people talk about it made me feel like we should probably try to capitalize on this. There’s new people that didn’t know about the band that found out about it through the movie, and we should finish this album and just try to get it out there.
When you got back together, did you get into the groove pretty naturally?
CP: Oh yeah, it was instant.
JC: It was easy.
It was like you just practiced yesterday?
CP: Yeah. I think it was because back with our first full-length, Exploding, Impacting, half of the band left. It was just Jason and me after it came out, so we were like, man, we really want to play live. So we got these live members, and we tried to integrate them and learned a lot from that experience. But in the end, it didn’t really work out and I think it kind of tainted the band.
It just wasn’t the same.
JC: Yeah, I think that’s one of the things that made us lose direction for a while there. Well I don’t know what to do from this point. But because the first album, 90 percent of it was recorded by just Cari and I, making the second album in a similar way was really easy because it was same way we had worked before.
CP: But this time around, Matt was back.
JC: Matt was more involved than he was even with the first album.
CP: He has a lot of studio gear. He was really helpful facilitate resource-wise. I don’t think we would have been able to do it. His dad, too, is an awesome studio engineer. So he basically enabled the recording and mixing. Jason and I mixed with him.
Was this a home studio environment?
CP: Yeah. We recorded instruments in houses basically. There were five different houses and pianos on the album, but mainly it was recorded at Big Salmon, which is our studio home here in Cherrywood.
JC: That’s where all three of us live. The studio is one that Matt and I have been building up since we first moved in to that house, which we moved in there seven years ago. Cari lived there when we first moved in. She just moved back in a few months ago.
Wait, so you lived with the drummer who left the entire time you were going through this?
CP: He had other projects. He used to play in The Black. He still plays in The Black. They tour a lot. They play a lot around town. So he’s really busy with that.
JC: Matt and I have been really good friends the whole time. Him and I played in Voxtrot together and lived together at the time. So it’s funny. We get a lot of exposure to each other, but we get along well. It’s rarely any problems. Even when he wasn’t playing with Belaire, it was still friendly relationship.
CP: With him being back involved in the band really helped push us, because Jason and I have a tendency to sit on ideas, and they’ll just stew forever and forever. Matt really helps. “OK, well this needs to happen by tomorrow.”
JC: Putting deadlines on things.
CP: He puts a lot of heat on us which is good.
So you guys are officially back? More shows in the future?
CP: Yes, we’re playing at the end of May with tUnE-yArDs. So that’s gonna be fun. That’s also with a Girls Rock Camp band that my sister and I coached called Schmillion. That’s May 30 at The Mohawk. After that, I think various stuff during the summer. We’re going to try to tour. We’re just hoping that this album is received well and people remember us.