Spring Summer and Jenny Lee Lindberg (Warpaint) on How T.E.A.R.S Came Together

The friends and collaborators talk the making of the new record.

Jennifer Furches is is a singer-songwriter who performs as Spring Summer; Jenny Lee Lindberg is an artist and producer, and the bassist of the LA rock band Warpaint. Jenny produced the new Spring Summer record, T.E.A.R.S, and here they catch up the process of making it. 
— Annie Fell, Editor-in-chief, Talkhouse Music

Jen Furches: Hellooo! 

Jenny Lee Lindberg: Hi, honey!  

Furches: You wrote you were just shipping a painting — who’d you sell a painting to? 

Lindberg: Juliette Lewis! 

Furches: Oh, wow!  

Lindberg: Yeah, I know. She saw it on my Instagram and reached out and was like, “Oh, I want this for my new house, are you selling it?” I was on tour and it was home in Utah, so I just got back in  and sent it off.  

Furches: Nice! Are you happy to be back in Utah?  

Lindberg: Yeah. But I have mixed feelings about it. I think it’s hard for me to come back to Utah because there’s so much going on on tour, and there’s so much stimulus, and then there’s so many… there’s schedules and it’s just a lot, you know? There’s a lot going on. And then coming to Utah, it’s the complete antithesis of that — it’s like a crashing, where I’m like, Oh, my god, I feel restless. But I knew that I was only gonna be here for a few days. We’re leaving tomorrow to go back to LA. So I just sort of let myself lean into the nothingness and was fine with it. I’m excited to go back to LA though.

Furches: Oh, good! I’m excited to see you there soon for Duran Duran! But anyway, we should talk about the record. I don’t really know how to start though…  

Lindberg: [Laughs.] I don’t know, either! Should we talk about the process of making the record? 

Furches: Maybe we can just go through the sequence of events of how it started. 

Lindberg: So I came to Napa and that was the beginning. And how long was that? I feel like we were there for a week, but maybe i’m tripping. 

Furches: No, I think you’re right, it was five or six nights. I remember you had your shows.  

Lindberg: My shows? Oh, no… [Laughs.]

Furches: I just remember it was so cute, cause you would say, “OK, I’m gonna go watch a show, and you’re gonna work on my notes.” 

Lindberg: [Laughs.] And I’d be hanging out back in the kid’s room.  

Furches: Oh, yeah, I put you in my daughter’s tiny room — which is also our pantry! 

Lindberg: I stayed up so much later than you, I remember. We had the whole property to ourselves, remember? No one was around. 

Furches: That was so nice. Well, it would have been September or October of 2018?  

Lindberg: Yeah, cause I had blonde hair right? I always can mark the time by the hairstyle. 

Furches: That sounds about right.  

Lindberg: Blonde hair, it wasn’t short. Yet.  

Furches: It was longer maybe in the front? I can’t remember. I know you did hack it off at some point. This is really interesting, by the way. [Laughs.]

Lindberg: I know, isn’t it? Well you know, hairstyles… It’s what really matters.  

Furches: This is how we make a record, folks! 

Lindberg: Yeah, it all begins with the hair.  

Furches: Did I send you demos before Napa? Or did we go through stuff for the first time there?

Lindberg: You were sending me songs before for sure. And then it was just like, we could work on this, we could work on that, here’s an idea… But then you definitely went through the demos again, and we were kind of just going through them like, “Well, let’s just start with…” What song did we start with? Cause we ended up working on it for a while.

Furches: Well, I remember we worked on “Last One” during that time, because it was really early you came up with that rhythm. I mean, that was like a real folk song before! And you came up with that rhythmic way of playing it, which really changed the whole thing in such a fun way. 

Lindberg: Yeah! We worked on the way that you sang it and the guitar rhythm. 

Furches: We worked a lot on that one and “Small Town.” And I remember specifically dropping a lot of the lyrics for both of those songs.  

Lindberg: Oh, that’s right. It was a phrasing thing that we were working on.

Furches: You had found a kind of rhythm that was more fun and upbeat for both of those than I had been playing it. And then that kind of motivated shifting lyrics around. I think at that time maybe there were four or five songs we were working on.  

Lindberg: I think that week we were texting Jason [Schwartzman] and we just asked him if he was available, and if he would do something. A lot of stuff happened at that moment. 

Furches: And then we got into the studio really soon after, just motivated by when you and Jason and I could all be available at the same time. I had reached out to Dave Trumfio, who I’d worked with before and has a bunch of studios in LA, but all of his were booked. He suggested Red Star — which bizarrely was connected to Warpaint’s beginnings. And that’s how we ended up finding Tim, too! He ended up being such a big part of it all but we just met him because he had the keys. So much synchronicity! 

Lindberg: Oh, yeah, he did, he let us in! And Dave was the engineer that day. And now Robert  [Schwartzman] had joined us, and it was just one song right? We just worked on a song, and  Robert kind of took the reins that day — which was amazing — and I was just playing bass. I think at that point I was just there to play bass. I don’t even know if we had that plan at the moment of me actually producing the record. 

Furches: Yes, we did. [Laughs.] At least I did! 

Lindberg: OK, I don’t remember.  

Furches: You were unsure of yourself at that point. I had talked to Robert to get advice on where to go and who to call, and he said “OK, let’s just all meet in the studio and we’ll play it live. We’re not gonna have time to do time songs” At that time, I had two I wanted to do, but he said, “Let’s just focus on one.” Which turned out to be the right move cause that one became a puzzle. 

Lindberg: He definitely took the reins for that session. 

Furches: Yeah, that was a really fun day. Jason on the other side of the glass, on Pete Thomas’s drums. Robert upstairs on the grand piano, and then eventually taking over the computer. Me  and you in the room together. We recorded Tim’s B3 much later and I eventually re-did my vocals — but that was really the beginning of the record! [Laughs.] And the end of Robert’s involvement. It was a lot of work and he was getting ready to direct a film — which I ended up working on while we were mixing the record on the weekends. That was such a trip! The production office was in his recording studio on Beachwood, where just days before we had recorded a bunch of overdubs for the record.

Lindberg: Oh, yeah! Well, then we just kept wanting to be together, and adding days whenever you could get to LA and we could get Jason. I don’t think we had Red Star booked at that time, because we were ultimately there for a month? 

Furches: There were 33 studio days including the mix. I don’t know why I remember that number, but the recording days were spread out from October of 2018 until April of 2019. 

Lindberg: Oh, wow, wow! OK.  

Furches: Cause it was just like, “Oh, I can be in LA for two days here or four days there,” whenever I could get away… I think we had one really nice six day session at some point, but in the beginning they were all just short. At first we were getting Jason’s drums, so it worked to go in and get two songs and then stall until the next time we could all get together. “Small Town” ended up being the only one we recorded as a band. 

Lindberg: Wow! I can’t believe that was in 2019, that’s wild. 

Furches: I know!  

Lindberg: I remember by the time we got together with Robert we had gone over some things we were doing. I remember we had some sessions at my house, where we would listen to things, and we’d pull what our references would be for each song. Then we had to get a lot of the drums done first, because we only had limited time with Jason. You had the bulk of the songs. You had demos at least. And so then we were sort of just tweaking things. Griffin came in and played some some drums as well. What’s the one Griffin played on? 

Furches: “Bitter Cold.” I love the drums on that! Remember we met Griffin in the bathroom?

Lindberg: Wait, weird. No, I already knew Griffin, he was Teresa’s drummer.

Furches: I think it was T’s record release show. We were in the green room bathroom sitting in the window — not smoking, because that’s gross and who would do that? We’d just learned Jason couldn’t do the drums for the last session. We were brainstorming: Who are we gonna get? Then a toilet flushed and Griffin came out of the stall. You said “Griffin! You’re a drummer! Are you available tomorrow?” 

Lindberg: [Laughs.] That sounds about right.

Furches: Well, we finished the record — now i’m jumping to the end — but it was done at the end of July 2019. 

Lindberg: At Norms! 

Furches: Well, we finished mixing at Norms in May, and then we mastered it in July. And then I thought, Oh, this will come out in 2020

Lindberg: The universe had different plans for you! 

Furches: Yes, yes. You were saying earlier that we worked on some stuff at your place, and I’m remembering now we worked at my place, too. I remember “T.E.A.R.S” specifically. It was a  guitar song, and we were at my house and I have that great old tack piano. We got really into the sound of it, and that was a big shift for me. It sounds so silly because I’ve been a  novice piano player most of my life — but that was the first time — you said, “Oh, well, what if  you played it on piano?” And to take a song that just to me was so obviously a guitar song — and I really feel like just a guitar player — and translate it to another instrument was so exciting. Now I do it all the time, so thanks! 

Lindberg: Well, and you’re really good at it too, you’re such a multi-instrumentalist. Now you’re great at the piano. I mean, not that you weren’t great before.  

Furches: Yes, yes, keep going… [Laughs.] 

Lindberg: You are! I remember that night at your house. We were so into it. That was a fun day.

Furches: And you were in producer mode, too! I just remember we sort of figured it out as I was playing it. You were directing me like, “Hold right there. OK, keep going with that part!” And we just found it in one take of me just doing exactly what you told me to do.  

Lindberg: You know what, I feel like I came alive just in that moment, working with you in that way. I was like, Oh, my goodness, this is actually so much fun! It’s really fun to direct, and not be the person playing! And I really did have so much fun doing that with you. That was a  wonderful way to break my producer cherry — other than my own projects, obviously. It was so much fun. I loved doing that. Extracting from you what maybe you wouldn’t have ever thought  to do.  

Furches: Yeah, I was feeling so stuck doing the same things over and over. 

Lindberg: Remember that time when you were really frustrated at Red Star? It was cute to see through the control room window. With your head down. And I was just like Oh, she’s pissed right now! [Laughs.]

Furches: Yep. The embarrassment factor of having to find harmonies in front of other people, on the clock, and I wouldn’t ever eat when I knew I had to sing. Learned my lesson! 

Lindberg: I don’t like that stuff on the spot either, but I find that it’s always rewarding when you push through and you challenge yourself and get into the resistance. 

Furches: Totally! I think that pretty much sums up the whole experience of making this record.  Challenging, pushing through, getting into the hard parts, and now the reward of this record we  made together being out in the world! And, oh man, so many laughs — even when I got  grouchy! [Laughs.]

Lindberg: We did it honey, I love you so much! 

Furches: I love you! Bye, Jen! See you at the Bowl on Sunday! Come sit with me for Duran Duran! 

Lindberg: Yes! Let’s party! Bye!

(Photo Credit: right, Kimberly Ross)

Spring Summer is the moniker for songwriter Jennifer Furches, a North Carolina native who has made a home in California. She has performed as a multi-instrumentalist for Cass McCombs, Sea Wolf, Patrick Park, Coconut Records, and Ben Lee.