the Books

A blog by Nick Zammuto and Paul de Jong of the band 'the Books'

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Apr 5

Temporary Residence!

Hello all!

Finally the news has broken and I can openly gush about the fine partner we’ve found in Jeremy deVine of Temporary Residence.  ‘The Way Out’ will be out in July, under Jeremy’s careful orchestration.  I feel embarrassed having predicted a much earlier release in the past, but various waves of mishaps, disappointments, near misses, and unexpected redemption knocked the release date into the summer.  So it’s a bit later than we all would have liked, but it’s all for good reason, because the team we’ve got for ‘The Way Out’, for all of it’s idiosyncrasies, is incredibly strong.  A little back story, then I’ll tell the story of meeting Jeremy.  

Why so long?  It’s been five years since ‘Lost and Safe’.  The short answer is children.  Both Paul and I married (not each other!), had kids, bought and renovated houses, and kind of settled down since our last album came out.  All of that was a welcome change from the incessant touring of 2006 and 2007, and I feel like the work we put into our young families over the past years has made us realize what an incredible thing we have with ‘the books’ and we decided to start working on a new record in late 2008.  Having the time away, we came back with a renewed energy that immediately set us down a kind of hilarious and unexpected path that I think is safe to say that know one would have predicted, and yet still sounds (to me, at least) like a perfect extension of what we’ve done, just displaced by five years of growth and change.  more about the making of the record as the release nears, but i’m going to rant for a paragraph about the music business so bear with me.

Finding a home for this record was a pain in the ass.  Everyone I’ve played it for says it’s our best, most daring record yet, and still, all of the labels we admiredthat we thought would go for it wouldn’t touch it.   Our former label Tomlab was not an option since we felt we needed better representation in North America, and it would have been nice to have been paid royalties without a fight for the past five years, although we can’t blame Tom personally for that…music sales are low and getting lower, of course, and the first streams to dry out are the cash flows of small labels.  There were a number of sparks of support from key members of ‘major indie’ labels and our conversations with them were very promising, until we would find out after weeks of silence that it wasn’t going to happen.  The story we kept hearing was as fascinating as it was disappointing…”our label is run by a democratic process and everyone on the team has to be on board for us to commit to a new artist.”  Makes sense, superficially…everyone loves democracy,  but the more i thought about it, the more i realized that that sounds like the perfect recipe for the homogenization of music.  i don’t know any two people who agree about music, let alone a whole group of them, and at any rate, people who agree about everything are certainly not our target audience.  So it’s probably for the best they won’t work with us.  Lets just do a self release!  Yeah! true independence.  We got pretty deep into the idea of staring our own label, to the point of planning out a good deal of the logistics and looking for a quality person to manage the day-to-day operations, so we wouldn’t get bogged down to the point where it cut into our time in the studio.  It felt (and still feels) like a good option to go it alone in an environment where being nimble is as effective as being strong, and we were inches away from committing to starting our own label.  This is where we were in early February.

We have a great manager (Jerrod Wilkins), and he has a great lawyer (Paul Sommerstein).  Paul S. kept telling Jerrod that we should meet Jeremy deVine of Temporary Residence, and that he has been super impressed in his dealings with him in the past.  We had mentally thrown in the towel in dealing with labels of all shapes and sizes at this point, but Jerrod was persistent, and we made the trek to Brooklyn to meet Jeremy and have lunch.  We laughed afterwards (still unbeknownst by Jeremy until now) that our first impressions of the TR office were kind of blah.  It’s clear that Jeremy is not the kind of guy who spends a lot of time decorating, but that, in the end, is part of why we ended up liking him so much.  within the first ten minutes of talking to him it was clear that he has a very rare kind of wit and intelligence, not only mentally but also emotional.  It seems he has a very active heart and can feel things very directly… which is very rare indeed, especially in this culture.  I think his catalog of releases is proof enough of this.  I’d like to think that it’s that kind of emotional intelligence that really sets apart the kind of people that come to our shows from other audiences, so we immediately felt a kind of kinship that was sorely lacking in our other label dealings.  The two other things that really won us over were 1:  He was extremely straightforward with us, no nonsense, just said what he thought and exactly what his resources were and 2. He knew our music really well, and had obviously processed it in a very personal way.  We asked him straight up what he would do if he were in our shoes,  and he laid out the pros and cons of self-release vs. 50/50 profit split label deal in a balanced and compelling way, and came to the conclusion that there was no clear best option.  We talked about it on the way home from Brooklyn, and were swayed not by the possibility of making a ton of money, but more by the opportunity to work with a guy like Jeremy, who we can absolutely trust and enjoy working with.  It’s early on in the process but so far so good, we’re very very pleased to be with Temporary Residence.  

Goodnight!  thanks for reading.

Nick


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