In their thirteen years of existence, Atlanta’s tireless garage punks The Coathangers have cranked out five full-lengths and well over a dozen singles, splits, and EPs. Their latest is The Coathangers LIVE. (Photo Credit: Jeff Forney)
I was sitting smoking yet another Parliament Light on the soft sun lit patio of Julia’s home in Long Beach. The hazy morning was filled with the aromas of potent coffee and finely cooked eggs, another ritual morning at the Montoya household. We allowed ourselves to slowly wake up to yet another goddamn beautiful day in California, but we knew exactly the task at hand.
As we emerged from our relaxing mornings we headed to the practice space, aka Julia and Scott’s home studio tucked away in a separate part of their home. It’s perfect. We finally had a practice area where we could hear each other’s vocals! We’ve finally made it!! We spent the next two weeks swapping ideas back and forth, uncovering brand new sounds and ideas, writing songs and lyrics with an ease we hadn’t felt since our very first album. Maybe it was because we knew exactly not just what we wanted to say, but what we felt we needed to say.
Before this album we were fully aware of the politics and social strife our world was experiencing but didn’t want to necessarily become “too political.” We wanted our fans to listen to what we had to say but then make their own opinions about what they themselves believe in, etc. However, with the recent state of everything going on, we held nothing back.
Pulling up to Valentine Studios in the valley of North Hollywood, we felt as if we were back at summer camp. We had recorded Nosebleed Weekend at the same studio almost three years ago. With our fearless leader/producer Nic Jodoin at the helm of his Star Trek-esque sound board, we started immediately. We began with what we had down and continued for the following week writing and rewriting the songs along with Nic’s guidance and inspiration. We all came together with a seamless vibration that resonates throughout the album.
One of the songs that started this album off was “Stranger Danger.” Julia had written the initial guitar part and it was this dark, almost brooding vibe, so we began writing lyrics to fit the personality of the song. The lyrics directly relate to an actual junkie trying to climb over the wall in her backyard, but it became a metaphor for other people in our own personal lives that also try to weasel their way in. That’s usually how we end up writing; either we begin with lyrics and pair it with music that fits or write the song and follow with lyrics that are inspired by the feeling we get from that song.
One other song that we really enjoyed writing because of the lyrical content was “Crimson Telephone.” This song definitely ties into the title of the album because it’s basically about some sort of Devil that we can all relate to. It could be anything from a person in one’s life to one’s own cell phone. Everyone has something (unfortunately) that resonates in their lives in a negative way, that ties them down or negatively affects their life, and the intention of this song is to speak to that.
The Devil You Know is an album that was inspired by the frustration with what’s happening amongst us and to all of us, but came from a place of love from the three of us. We hope you enjoy.
(Photo Credit: left, Jeff Forney)