The Whigs bypass sophomore slump with help of ATO Records’ producer

::  The Whigs :: Larimer Lounge :: March 6 ::

By Tiffany Childs

The Whigs are a band that has enjoyed the luxury of a slow and steady rise in the music industry — which is pretty unusual in itself. Even more unusual is that their initial success has come based solely on a self-released effort. With a second album, Mission Control, barely out on the shelves, the three-piece continues to tour extensively and spread their explosive rock around the world.
For any band, the release of a second record always brings up the possibility of the dreaded sophomore slump. However, in a recent interview with The Marquee, guitarist/ vocalist/keyboardist Parker Gispert and drummer Julian Dorio told The Marquee that wasn’t the case for The Whigs, who are rounded out by Tim Deaux on bass. “I think the sophomore slump is due to pressure, but for us, you know, we didn’t have a lot of people looking for our release. We were still small enough that it was exciting rather than daunting to make our second album,” said Gispert.

Perhaps it also helped that they went into the studio with noted producer Rob Schnapf (Elliott Smith, Beck, Guided by Voices), thanks to signing with ATO Records — choice that was made mostly because ATO was willing to let the band “just do our thing without a lot of red tape. It was a really great opportunity,” Gispert said. “We were able to just relax, play and sing, which is what is natural to us. We were allowed to just be musicians rather than multi-tasking at everything like last time. It was definitely a lot less stressful.”
Besides having the help of a producer, The Whigs also had a definite goal in the studio this time around. “We wanted to capture the energy and spirit of our live show,” Gispert said. “We are a touring band when it comes down to it and we have sort of an obsession with stripped down sounds, so we didn’t want a lot of overdubs, extra guitars or anything like that.” Thankfully, Schnapf let the band do just that. “One of the things we liked about Rob is that he brings the style of whomever he’s working with,” Gispert said of the producer.
As for the sound of the album, it isn’t very different, musically speaking. Gispert said, “We knew that sonically it was going to sound different. It being two years later, there were going to be changes that we probably couldn’t even see that were going to be happening to the music.” Old fans don’t need to worry, though; The Whigs are still playing the hell out of their particular brand of Southern garage-rock. But, the production makes a world of difference in a good way — as you can imagine, considering the first album was recorded in a dilapidated mansion in Athens, Georgia.
However, the old adage of “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” may be exactly why the music didn’t change too drastically. After the success of The Whigs first album, Give ‘Em All A Big Fat Lip, and the immediate praise for January’s release of Mission Control, the boys were invited to play on “David Letterman” as well as “Conan O’Brien.” And while Gispert told us “it didn’t result in thousands of screaming fans,” he did allow that it definitely raised awareness of the band.
Perhaps as an added bonus, Gispert is a self-proclaimed late show music buff. “I actually have a giant VHS collection of different people playing on late-night television. Growing up, if anybody was coming on that I liked, I would tape it and watch it over and over again. It seems pretty surreal, almost wrong even, that we’ll be playing there now,” he said.
However, those shows are just two stops along what will end up being a well-traveled road for The Whigs. Playing roughly every other day for the next two months at least, is what the group will be doing. And they are really looking forward to it. “There’s nothing more revealing than playing live,” said Dorio. “That’s when you find out what the songs are made of.”
If the reactions of audiences that have already experienced the live show or the rave reviews popping up all over the web are any indication of what the songs are made of, then The Whigs certainly have nothing to worry about. According to the fans, those songs are made of pure, obsession-worthy rock.

:: The Whigs ::
:: Larimer Lounge :: March 6 ::

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