Hailing from San Rafael, CA, Greg Randall and Will Anderson have been delivering some brilliant power pop over the last years under the moniker PROPELLER. Anyone loving The Replacements, Husker Du, Big Star, or Teenage Fanclub is going to have a soft spot for their latest release "Don't Ever Let This Let You Down"
Here is what the duo told this blog:
1) For the viewers of this blog who don't know you, What would you tell about Propeller to introduce yourselves? How long are you guys together as a band? Who is playing what instrument in the band?
Propeller is a band that loves rock and roll, we are fans first! Propeller dates back some 27 years or so, at least the Greg and Will parts. We played in a couple bands with lots of revolving folks over the years. We had a band called Unbalanced that went through 3 main lineups, basically 3 bands, same name. A couple members of the original band are still very much involved in Propeller to this day, Chaco Daniel writes our bio’s and occasionally makes videos. John Rackerby does all our album cover art and band photos, John even appeared on our first Propeller album with some tasty piano licks. We like to keep it all in the family.
Post Unbalanced, Will and I were in a band called Varsity Drag along with a fella named Ben Deily who was a member of the original Lemonheads. Check out Lemonheads Songs Ever or Second Chance, they are gold. Varsity Drag was in some ways a continuation of both Unbalanced and this early period Lemonheads, we played live a lot and played songs from both Unbalanced and Lemonheads along with loads of new songs.
Propeller however is truly its own thing though, this band has the best songs we have ever written and recorded. We are very proud of each of our releases. We just set out to make timeless rock and roll records and I guess only time will tell if we succeeded. Our simple gauge is, if we like it others will.
2) About the recently released record "Don't Ever Let This Let You Down", what can you tell about the recording process? Was this a live in the studio recording or a track by track recording with lots of overdubs?
Hours and hours of labor and loads of overdubs done track by track. Things change each session, things get added and things get taking out until we find just the right recipe. We might like something one day only to listen on a different day and not like it so much. So, it takes time for sure. One great addition to the new record is the lead guitar playing by our pal Geoffrey Mack, Geoffrey played on a few songs from “Fall Off the World” and they sounded great, so we had no choice but to bring him into the fold and let him rip up on all the new songs! Really great guitar player who naturally adds to the mix.
3) Are you guys using a midi drum/ drum loops or is this a real drummer playing on the record?
Will tends to start the drums using a drum set in our studio, once mixing starts these drums get edited all the way up until the final seconds of mixing. There are combinations of both real drums and midi.
4) What are you exactly referring to in the title "Don't Ever Let This Let You Down"?
It can mean anything to anyone but for us I think it simply means that with rock and roll there can be ups and downs, more down than ups but you still do it because you simply love music, it's the ONLY reason anyone should do it. If you let it let you down then it will frustrate you and make you bitter. I see this bitterness in other bands I know because they tend to expect more than they get. If you do it for fun and keep your expectations low then rock and roll can never let you down.
5) What are your favorite topics to write about or the topics that come easily when you write a
Girls and summer! Our songs tend to come across as happy sounding but there is darkness and pain in some of those lyrics, I just think we disguise them well under poppy melody. We tend to stay away from current affairs in both the political sense and current pop culture. The best songs and the ones that tend to last forever are the ones we can all relate to, relationships and life’s fears and struggles. At least in our humble opinions.
6) Is each of you guys composing his own songs (words and music) or are composing with 4 hands?
Will and I both write, at time a lot and at other times not much at all. We both bring in what we call skeletons and then we have fun shaping them into little 3 minutes pieces of ear candy. It is the most fun part of the process and I have never worked with anyone else where we put ego aside and simply laugh a lot, if one of us don’t like an idea we simply move on, no feelings hurt. There are a lot of high fives and the word fella thrown around. We have a lot of fun during the writing phase.
7) To what kind of music did you listen to as a teenager and does it still influence your today work? What was your favorite band as a teenager? Name 3 bands that you consider still have a influence on your own work today.
I think Will and I can both agree on 3 bands easily, Teenage Fanclub, Husker Du and The Replacements. All three still influence everything we do, at least as a foundation. We both like so many bands and it would take pages to list them all. We generally like the same stuff but of course we have our own individual stuff we listen to as well.
Regarding favorite band as a teenager? Well that’s easy, The Ramones! So much so that we paid homage to them on our previous record “Fall Off the World” with “Turn On The Radio”
8) Do you have a video on youtube featuring a track from the latest release?
Not yet, we tend to be slow with these things and I am not sure video has the same impact that maybe it once did. I do know all the songs are somehow on youtube for listening.
9) At times I can hear some "Tom Petty feeling" in your songs. How did you react to the news of his death? Or was he absolute no hero of yours?
Oh man, I think like a lot of us, Tom Petty was embedded in our brains from an early age, a constant figure who paid no attention to genres. I mean name another artist who remained consistently relevant decade after decade after decade. He is the one guy you can put on at a party with rockers, punk rockers, new wavers, country folks or whoever and nobody would get bummed out. You’re not the first one to point out a bit of Petty in our sound but I really think it just comes from sharing a traditional approach to songwriting and Rickenbacker guitars.
10) Is Propeller your full-time activity or are you both having day jobs?
We both have day jobs that can be demanding and draining at times but we really try to make room for Propeller, it is what keeps us from getting unbalanced.
11) Anything you would like to say to the viewers of this blog?
First off, killer blog, nicely done and thank you for reaching out to our little California band.If any of you readers are fans of power pop type rock and roll, we try help fill a space recognizable to anyone who feels a thrill as a distorted guitar brushes up against a harmony filled chorus while pounding drums ferry you from hook to hook. We know that the only thing that really matters are songs. And on Don’t Ever Let This Let You Down, we think we added 10 shiny new candidates for your top down road trip playlist.
PURCHASE IT HERE : https://propeller.bandcamp.com/album/dont-ever-let-this-let-you-down
PHYSICAL COPIES can be bought at Kool Kat Records and CDbaby