You Shouldn't Have To Shout So Loud
(Fire Sign Records)


The latest sonic exploration from NYC based singer-songwriter Lou Barlow, You Shouldn’t Have To Shout So Loud is a six track, 2010 CD of new music from True Nature. The CD follow up to Barlow’s 2009 True Nature release of Feels Like Centuries, the second True Nature CD carries on the sound with a new sense of musical drive and purpose. As on Feels Like Centuries, Barlow’s joining together of like minded musicans is quite amazing, once again including guitarist Gerry Leonard, bass great Tony Levin, while still on the traps and producing is Aaron Comess. The cover art is once again interesting too—a child on the battlefield of life with two six shooters ready to make or break it. As on the ‘09 release, Lou has put together a great lineup to help fulfill his studio vision. These guys are some of the best in the modern music world and you can hear why Barlow is so thrilled to have a supporting cast of players of this dynamic and expertise to help calculate his sound and vision. In his liner notes for You Shouldn’t Have To Shout So Loud Barlow adds, ‘This companion EP to Feels Like Centuries marks the completion of an albums worth of material with one of the greatest studio bands ever.’ That is quite true, however these new 2010 tracks—which Barlow claimed in late ‘09 was planned to be even more guitar heavy all around—are truly memorable with more than one highlight. You Shouldn’t Have To Shout So Loud is a good pick for fans of Gerry Leonard’s early 2000s wall of guitars sound with David Bowie, as well as rock fans who also appreciate the eclectic rock dynamic of Peter Gabriel and U2. presents an interview with TRUE NATURE

{In December 2010, spoke with Lou Barlow, Gerry Leonard, Roman Klun and Aaron Comess about the making of the latest True Nature CD} Hello again Lou, how would you compare the tracks on 2010’s You Shouldn’t Have To Shout So Loud with the 2009 Feels Like Centuries CD?

LOU BARLOW: Robert, there’s been a ‘sea change.’ These songs hit immediately and really rock. Last years’ 'Centuries' CD definitely rocked but was slightly more indulged in the arrangements. This round, I could solely focus on my writing! I knew that we could get a certain kind of sound having worked together recently... So I wrote from great inspiration knowing that that ‘sound’ I always envisioned would be there.

My fiancé pointed out something very interesting that I guess was more subconscious for me... that the overall themes & sound on ‘Shout’ are more masculine. They are definitely more raw, more personal and less 'global' in their address. And, she’s right, there were some definite feminine themes on ‘Centuries.’ When and where were the new tracks recorded? Can you cite any difference between the studio sound between the two albums?

LB: This time we did the main tracking at 'Applehead Recording,' in Woodstock, NY which was a massive, ideal studio. I arrived the night before everyone else and man, I was blown away! Sipping wine alone that night I thought, these guys have seen it all. Everyone walked in the next morning and were like, 'very cool.’

Both EP’s combined, form a singular chapter of songs, but this massive 5 story converted barn that is now 'Applehead Studios,' allowed Aaron’s Bonham-esque drumming and Tony’s 'aero-dymanic,' singular lyrical bass style to really soar and be captured in their full acoustic and power!

ROMAN KLUN (Engineer): Applehead Studios worked out to be a great recording venue for Lou. The big space gave everyone the ability to stretch out musically and also gave me the opportunity to do the same sonically. Top notch songs and top notch musicians provide an engineer the ability to do his/her job without excuses. In addition to the production, musicianship and songs, sonically this record was fulfilling. Lou, you mentioned how great this band is/was. Is it challenging to have the best players on the rock scene playing with you on your music? Tony and Gerry are really legends having played with YES, of course Peter Gabriel and Bowie. Gerry's guitar playing just blows my mind. I can see why Bowie used him...Did Bowie get to hear your CDs?

Lou: Wow, Robert, that’s quite a question… I think it’s important to each of these totally distinct musicians, and of course to me, to be clear that True Nature is my own, revolving door, ‘project’ alias name for me as a solo artist. This studio line up has been just so perfect and has been the first time that my music has come to complete fruition in my life. I’m writing more now and I can envision a sonic like I’ve never felt possible before.

If anything it’s easier, not more challenging (laughing) …to have recorded with these legendary musicians. It’s liberating really! There’s much more immediate gratification because everyone has such a strong, distinct musical voice.

After Aaron and I have hammered out the basics in preproduction, which is where I have the most control, and it's also where Aaron has been just so great and insightful as my producer, he's helped me to refine things without losing the essence of what I walked in with. Then, when we get together with Tony and Gerry, there is a frighteningly fast focus that we strike in the limited studio time that we all have together. I then get to hear how this song is now going to sound!

Of course, with these guys, my original sonic, melodic and rhythmic intentions are perfectly captured, and their genius of course takes it higher than what I ever imagined. This must be good karma ! (laughter)

It’s honestly hard for me to address the other part of your question; did Bowie ever hear my music? What woke me up is I got to see first hand how humble and hard working these giant musicians really are. I’ve gone through so much to get to this point and be able to say, True Nature has a distinct sound. I would love for Bowie or Gabriel, to hear and hopefully dig (laughter) my music but, I would only want that because my music made it to their ears by it’s own success. Lou, you play guitar on the CD too. How did you and Gerry combine guitar forces so to speak? And what guitars are featured on the new album?

Lou: We fought like demons … more like ghosts actually ! (laughter)

GERRY LEONARD (a.k.a. 'Spooky Ghost'): Actually there was no fighting, "Only Love". Lou is a fine guitar player and writes these really cool riffs! So for me it was about joining him at times on the riffs which he would show me and we would play together with our different approaches. Or, I would analyze his harmony and take a deliberately different approach to do loops and atmospheres. But, because he wrote on guitar it was always a good territory for experimentation. Good guitar keys (key signatures) and environments.

I mainly used my custom Les Paul but also my vintage '69 SG Custom and a Teisco Delray for the Lo-Fi and slide stuff. I used my Custom Mesa Boogie Lonestar 2X12 combo which is a great and solid amp, and a Somatone Roaring 40. The Somatone is a hand made point to point with 2X10 speakers from Jimmy Soma and is a great plug and play amp. It really rocks. Using the two amps gave me quite a good spread. The Boogie did all the clean and ambient stuff and the Somatone is the rock goblet!

LB: Yeah, his sound is ... not like anyone else I've ever heard! I’ve known Gerry a bit outside of music, we first met through Buddhist circles. Recording can be so intense and pressured and seeing Gerry in the studio, I immediately felt a sense of ‘Ahhh, someone I can just be myself around.’ The first day in the studio Gerry said , ‘Stressed out in the studio, are you Lou?,’ and that actually balanced me out. It also reminded me that so much great music has been made under tremendous pressure and circumstance. - Lou, I was amazed at how excellent the CD sounds whether on a reference / vintage CD player and a regular boombox...just amazing, can you say something about the type of sound you and Aaron go for and got in the studio?

AARON COMESS: I have to give most of the sonic credit to Roman Klun the engineer but we made a point to record it in a great sounding room up in Woodstock and go for a ‘real’ and organic sound. I always try to make recordings sound real and represent the musicians that are playing and singing. If I feel that way the music will stand the test of time and not get locked into any one period.

LB: Absolutely bro, and then you and Roman passed the final Pro-tools mixes through a vintage reel to reel to ‘phaten’ it up before mastering. We all could really hear and feel the difference too. That step essentially recaptured the amazing live takes after much digital processing followed. History repeats itself but better ! There' some pretty amazing cover art for You Shouldn’t Have To Shout So Loud packaging. What do you think the CD cover says?

LB: The cover is about taking control of one's own life when there is chaos all around us. The background shows the remains of the recent California wildfires with a young boy in the foreground dressed in a 1950s Cowboy outfit. It is meant to evoke the concept of optimism no matter what the obstacles. This boy is caught up in his fantasy of taking control, blazing through, and finding joy despite the devastation around him.

Inside the 6 panel digi-pack (available in full color CDs at there's more of a sense of humor then the intense cover image initially conveys. Glen Wexler has again graced True Nature with his powerful, visionary, surreal imagery. If there's a single, I would pick "One Soul". How does that fantastic song reflect and fulfill your musical and lyrical ideas and inspirations? Do you have a favorite track and why?

LB: Wow, I’m touched that you would pick “One Soul,” Robert. When I first sat down with my radio promoter I was totally open to any of these songs from the 5 song EP being a ‘target’ track to pitch to radio. “One Soul” is basically a ballad yet it quickly moves into some minor ‘rock’ explosions offering an overview of all the places True Nature songs go! I appreciate it being your pick! Gerry’s solo really moves me. It sings yet is challenging.

“Only Love” is a very special song to me. It’s not at all easy to pull off 'live' yet I always feel at home performing it when I’m in front of an audience. “Only Love” captures such a personal ‘soul motto’ that I aspire to live by. For me, I sing it to invoke my essence and unlike any of the other new tracks here, I’ve been refining this one song for years. It’s so incredibly gratifying to have this version of “Only Love” ...finally. U2’s last release, No Line On The Horizon, contained a track, “Magnificent,” that immediately moved me and when I first heard it I noticed some some haunting parallels to, “Only Love”... melodically, lyrically & harmonically. I am U2's biggest fan so I’m just inspired to be ‘channeling’ from a similar place as Bono & U2.

The title track, “You Shouldn’t Have To Shout So Loud,” is currently gaining radio position in the U.S. and Canada, and we are just at the beginning of this radio campaign as I speak with you. Radio has become just so hard to break into as you know well. True Nature is getting added along side Arcade Fire, Kings Of Leon, Interpool, Silversun Pickups, Phoenix, Snow Patrol... Oh and a favorite, female fronted new band of mine, The Duke Spirit, on Specialty and Indie radio show formats. I’m very hopeful and excited to be a part of this current wave of new emerging bands. Are any upcoming plans or performances planned?

LB: Absolutely ! I’m currently assembling a ‘live’ band so True Nature can tour now that both EP's are out. You know, I feel like I’ve just arrived with an album’s worth of great songs between the 2 EP’s. I’m in the best place I’ve ever been in and I want to offer this music and really build my audience.

Also, the cyber world, like it or not, is really where a lot of new music is discovered by fans, bloggers, record labels, etc.. So, I'm about to launch a cutting edge cyber campaign to get the word out about True Nature and I'm very excited about that! thanks of luck in 2011 and beyond!

LB: Robert, I really appreciate talking with you, very much !

Thanks again to Lou Barlow, Gerry Leonard, Roman Klun and Aaron Comess


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