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Cartel interview 

Submitted by Johan Wippsson on 2010-02-09
Five-piece band Cartel from Conyers, Georgia is favorite band on and has had over 36 million MySpace plays as well their own MTV mini-series. Their new album CYCLES is an explosively vibrant and vital work, co-produced by Cartel and Ross Petersen and their best work up to date. We got the chance to ask the band a bunch of questions, enjoy.
Hey guys, how's life? Life is great! We're currently at home enjoying some time off. First of all I have to thank you for an awesome album. To me it's you best record so far. How do you feel about it? Thanks for the kind words on the record. We feel like it's a good representation of who and what we are, and always have been. Read that you wrote like 30 songs for the new album. Did you record any more tunes than those on the album for b-sides or iTunes exclusives? We had a lot of time to write for this record. Once we got in the practice space our goal was to try to write a song a day. We spit out about 15 songs in the first half of writing and another 15 during our second phase of writing. It takes some time to get into a good groove so we actually got a lot of the material for "Cycles" from the second phase of writing. When we looked back it was just clear that we had a good thing going with the second batch. Is it really true that you for the first time did have a bunch of songs when you entered the studio? Yes. With the first two records the songs that made those records were the only songs we wrote for them. This time around it was nice to just write as much as you could, get as creative as you wanted, and just see what happens. It was a welcomed change from what we have been used to. That feels like a big change to me, to have more time working on the details? Was this something you did or was the period in the studio shorter? Both sides of the process had extended time frames than what we were used to. Writing and Recording. With "Chroma" we wrote 12 songs and recorded it in a little less than 20 days. The self-titled record was recorded in 25 days. As a band we've always wanted to spend more time in the studio but like anything else, time is money. Wind-up was nice enough to give us a pretty open ended schedule in their in-house studio. So time, nor money, were a factor and we really think it made all the difference. Is this "new" way of working something that you will continue doing in the future? We hope that from here out we'll always be able to dedicate what we feel like is an appropriate amount of time to get it done. When you get the songs right, you just know. Sometimes too much time in the studio is a bad thing. You can critique what you're doing until the song you recorded sounds nothing like the song you wrote. So you're signed to Wind-up now, which have been releasing so many great albums the last ten years. That feels like an awesome label to me, a true rock label. But, what happened to deal with Epic? Wind-up is a great label. They're run so efficiently and professionally. Our relationship with Epic never really hit a sour note, we just kinda came to a stale mate. We weren't really making the wheels move and neither were they. We simply asked if we could be let go, and it was a done deal. That situation can be a lot harder than it seems, so it was nice of them to release us without any headache. If you compared Wind-up and Epic, do they work differently in some way? Absolutely! The major difference is that with Epic they can afford to make mistakes, cut their loses when a band isn't at it's peak. With an indie, like Wind-up, they sign artists they really believe in, and work their asses off so that they build their career in a way that is best for the band. They look so much more long term rather than in the now. How was the period after the release from Epic? Did you ever thing of doing something else or did you get even more pumped up to write even better songs? The period after Epic was good. We felt like we were making moves again, and in the right direction. We realized that from that point on we had a chance to start a new with so many things. I think that energy definitely translated into these songs. I'm just a listener that loves good music and don't know that much about the things behind a record. How important is it to have good support behind you? And is the music business different than you thought when you started back in 2003? It's very important to have good support. Having a solid foundation is what keeps you alive in this business. Trusting and believing in your manager, label, lawyer, booking agent, etc is the key to any bands success. Those are the people that are going to bat for you every day while you're on the road, writing, or taking time off. If those people aren't great, it almost doesn't even matter how good your band is. It's a partnership like no other. So what happens in the nearest future, out and tour like hell? You guessed! tour! tour! and more touring! To me the tour life must be the best thing in life, but also pretty tough with all the travelling and schedule. How do you feel about it now after some years on the road? To put it in the words of Coolio, touring is a fantastic voyage. Touring is an experience like no other. It's one hell of a way to see the world. It can get rough sometimes. You definitely miss your family and friends, but the people that really matter are always there for you when get home. Do you have any crazy story to tell, any odd fans? I plead the 5th, haha!!! So thanks for your time and good luck with everything! Thanks! Thanks again for the kind words on the record and the interview. Take it easy