Exclusive Interview: PUJOL
September 19, 2012
by Chuck Norton
During the last few years, Nashville’s Daniel Pujol, the frontman of PUJOL, has gained the reputation as a talented and prolific songwriter whose energetic live shows have impressed even hardened music veterans. But it’s his blue-collar work-ethic that continues to solidify that reputation with critics and fans alike.
Prior to PUJOL, Pujol had stints in several different bands including Denney and the Jets and MEEMAW. He then released a series of critically acclaimed EPs, singles and cassettes through a number of different labels, including Jack White’s Third Man Records.
PUJOL signed with Saddle Creek to record and release their debut full-length album, UNITED STATES OF BEING, which came out earlier this year.
While in the midst of their Fall 2012 tour, I had a chance to get Pujol’s insight on the album, his creative and recording process and find out that, yes, he really does like Skrillex. I think you’ll find this interview both interesting and engaging.
For more information on PUJOL visit their/his Web site.
DeadJournalist.com proudly brings you this exclusive interview with Daniel Pujol of PUJOL.
Your most recent album, UNITED STATES OF BEING, has been out for a while now – but going back to the writing and recording of the album – did the process change significantly in recording the LP compared your past work? Was it a different process or just a matter of fine-tuning what you’d learned from your previous EPs?
DP: The process was totally different than any of my past work. This wasn’t necessarily a choice, but just the hand that I was dealt. Normally, I would feel my way though material and arrangements through recording in my room (assuming I was living somewhere) or at Battletapes Recording.
However, Jeremy and I used a different room (with a date-rate) and lots of local musicians in a session-style setting per song. Most of the recording process was fractured around other people’s availability.
For the LP, I was teaching other extremely talented musicians arrangements of songs I had previously demoed and mixed on my laptop. The process of the LP was almost like directing a movie.
For future releases, I intend to augment my personal, and preferred, process for a high fidelity recording environment.
This record was like a 101 crash-course in making a record in 2012. I learned so much about technique, technology, communicating ideas, etc. I’ve learned how to fine-tune my process because I made this record.
Was there a particular musical or personal influence that most impacted you during this process?
DP: The musicians. Hearing how other people understood the phrasing or structure of a song taught me a lot. A bassist and a drummer will both interpret and count phrases differently than I will.
Did I know that most of the changes in “Providence” are on the and-of-4 from the drummer’s perspective? Not until he told me.
Did I know that I can get a bass track to sound more aggressive if we tweak the kick drum pattern? Not until I tried it.
From my perspective, the songs are all one long dance. Helping others take them apart and put them back together helped me get back to marching band in my mind. Which is a style of communicating I hadn’t gotten to work with for years.
What was the biggest challenge during the construction of the album? Was there a song that you seemed to revisit throughout the process?
DP: My guitar broke in the middle of recording, and re-setting that thing back up quickly was one. The other was learning the subtleties of other musicians’ phrasing, grooves, hits, and accents per song. The way I would cut into a verse on drums or slide into a riff on bass is different than another musician.
I studied everyone’s takes and tried to contribute to their unique performances. Recordings are people playing music together, you have to get into the specific conversation. Its not about each individual person. Its about the song.
Do you find that, as a song-writer, you are always chasing the perfect song?
DP: I’m not chasing “the” perfect song. If I did that and got there, I’d probably die. However, I try to push each song to its full potential. Each song is a tiny world.
What led to you to sign to Saddle Creek? How have they helped you take the next step in your career?
DP: Saddle Creek was comfortable with letting me retain ownership of my master recordings and staying on a relevant release schedule. Having actual distribution has also been a big help.
Your shows are known for being highly energetic, but, do you try to maintain consistency from show-to-show or do you tailor each performance and set to the location and/or audience?
DP: I try to maintain consistency by adapting to the environment I’m in. All stages big and small sound totally different. You have to adapt.
What do you find most challenging finding and maintaining a digital audience? From a business perspective, has it changed the way you look to monetize your work?
DP: I have to remember to update all 1 million Web sites.
Do you have any plans for a new album in 2013?
DP: I’m going to start recording some new singles soon that will be put together into a compilation album.
Is there an artist that you’ve encountered recently that you’ve been recommending to your friends?
DP: Skrillex. Lo-fi/hi-fi rock and roll recording and dance music have a lot of similarities in recording. However, dance music provides a more technical and credible vocabulary for communicating those ideas when recording. Layering and texture are practical concerns; not just an “artistic” afterthought.
What were you listening to in 2002?
DP: Radiohead, U2 and The Clash.
Which do you prefer: MP3, CD, Tape or Vinyl?
DP: I prefer making vinyl, but I also love MP3s. Little redneck kids like me need MP3s to get exposed to ideas out in the middle of nowhere.
Web site(s) you read regularly?
DP: BBC News.
One Drink. One Movie. One Album.
DP: Black coffee. Rocky. David Bowie Lodger
Comments are closed.
- NEW! All music and music video posts are now exclusively on the DeadJournalist Tumblr site! Follow DeadJournalist on Tumblr
- Don’t Forget about Tumblr
- Music, To Me
- Guest Writers Coming In May
- Exclusive Interview: Jamaican Queens
- Exclusive Interview: Psychic Twin
- Editorial: “Accidental Racist” – Good Intent, Poor Execution
- Exclusive Interview: Vague-à-bonde
- Exclusive Interview: Cloud Cult
- DeadJournalist’s 7-11 Anniversary
- Exclusive Interview: The History of Apple Pie
- Music! Music Videos! They Are Back! (Because of Tumblr)
- Why So Few DeadJournalist Posts? Let Me Explain
- Exclusive Interview: Hayden
- Retro Album Review: The Pleased – Don’t Make Things
- Exclusive Interview: Ivan & Alyosha
- Exclusive Interview: Wang Chung
- Exclusive Interview: Cayucas
- Exclusive Interview: Fonda
Archives: August 2006 to Current
- "Keep a clear eye. Don't ever be steered by what others may be writing. Write what you feel, and tell everybody else to go f--- themselves." - Furman Bisher