April 2010: Miles Kurosky (with members of Beulah)
April 7, 2010
Written by The Bay Bridged
TheBayBridged.com and New, Improved Recording are proud to announce our latest New, Improved, LIVE studio session featuring Miles Kurosky joined by his former bandmates from acclaimed indie pop band Beulah. This four-song session features the guys performing songs from Kurosky’s debut solo album The Desert of Shallow Effects, out last month on Majordomo Records.
Visiting New, Improved Recording to work with Eli Crews, Kurosky was surprised to see some familiar faces at the session. In secret, Crews had gathered the rest of Beulah the evening prior to rehearse Kurosky’s album, and the talented folks served ably as the backing band for the session. It had been six long years since all the men of Beulah had taken instruments in the same room — their farewell hometown show was at the Fillmore in June 2004 — and the session is reassurance of the lifelong bonds between Kurosky and his former bandmates.
New, Improved, LIVE, featuring: Miles Kurosky (with members of Beulah)
Interview with Miles Kurosky
The Bay Bridged: Thank you for doing a New, Improved, LIVE session! Could you give people a brief idea of what you have been up to since Beulah disbanded?
Miles Kurosky: Not much really. Got older. Gained weight. Went bald. I also had a lot of physical problems the last few years which required some surgeries and bed rest. So, when I wasn’t urinating blood or in a Vicodin haze I recorded the songs for my new record. I also wrote some tunes for commercials and movies which helped pay the bills.
TBB: What do you think long-time fans will be most surprised to hear when they listen to The Desert of Shallow Effects?
MK: Well, if they’re Beulah fans they won’t be surprised at all. Beulah’s first album was basically just guitar and drums (no bass) recorded on a cassette. With our second record we became an actual band. We also enlisted 30 additional musicians, and made the leap from cassette to a 16 track tape deck with at least one proper mic. The difference between Beulah’s last record “Yoko” and my new record isn’t nearly as extreme. However, I think my record sounds a little more chaotic (purposefully so) and energetic. On some songs it sounds like everything could fall apart at any moment. With Beulah, however, our approach was far more clinical and precise.
TBB: How do you think your songwriting has changed or grown over the years since Beulah?
MK: I don’t know. I’d like to think it’s gotten better, but I guess that’s not for me to decide. I have been told, however, that I use too many chords.
TBB: How are you feeling about your upcoming month-long cross-country tour? Any places you’re particularly excited to be playing?
MK: At the moment I’m having a lot of anxiety about it. From a distance it looks really hard. I’d forgotten how much preparation goes into touring successfully. It’s a lot of work. Then again, maybe I’ve just become soft in my bourgeois cocoon up in Portland.
TBB: Could you talk a little about what went through your mind when you walked into New, Improved Recording and saw your old bandmates?
MK: Well, before I even walked in the room, the camera people kept saying “Eli has a big surprise for you.” Needless to say I was feeling kind of suspicious. When Eli and I talked about doing the session a few months earlier, I told him that I wanted to do something special. So when I showed up I had the feeling Eli might have hired a mariachi band or a children’s choir, or maybe even a mime troupe to “play” the instruments. Anyway, it was kind of surreal to see the boys. Fantastic, but surreal.
TBB: What was it like to play with them again?
MK: It didn’t feel like any time had passed. I think the old adage about riding a bike would be apropos of the experience. Apparently the songs were new to them and they only practiced together for a few hours the night before. Personally I hadn’t played those songs in the past six months, so I didn’t even know the correct chords. It’s safe to say that we were totally unprepared and under rehearsed, but I think we did a serviceable job. In our defense, we haven’t played music together in six years. Anyway, playing with them is fun, but I just like hanging out, catching up, joking around. Those are the things I miss about being in that band.
Audio Recording: John Finkbeiner, Jay Pellicci, Jonah Strauss
Audio Mixing: Eli Crews
Video Recording: Nathan Fritz, Brent Harnisch
Video Editing: Nathan Fritz
Photos: Nicole Browner