These days, 'making it' has become an increasingly ambiguous term. Bands have to focus on what they love, and for Chicago psychedelic pop group Netherfriends the answer is pack up what you absolutely need and hit the road.
“The music industry's dead and everyone's kind of looking around like 'what are we supposed to do?'” said Shawn Rosenblatt, the creative force behind Netherfriends. He believes touring should be the band's priority.
“I think a lot of people are relying on the internet,” said Rosenblatt. “People have this really askew view about blogs bringing [bands] to a new level. I think that bands should be on the road if they really want to make a career of playing music.”
“I met someone recently and they knewNetherfriends because we played the Pitchfork festival,” he added. “He was like 'I would do anything to play the Pitchfork festival, that would be like the most incredible thing ever!' and I was like 'Yeah it was fun, but it didn't change my life or anything.' I still went back to the same thing I was doing, which is touring and recording.”
Rosenblatt writes and records almost everything in Netherfriends himself, bringing a couple friends along to flesh out his songs in a live setting.
“I was recording in Apple Valley, Minnesota, at my girlfriend at the time's parent's house. I had the whole house to myself for seven days and I recorded ten songs, and that's what [latest release] Barry & Sherry is."
Barry & Sherry is a combination of old and new sounds, a mix like 60's chillwave with a hint of early Pink Floyd psychedelia. The production sound is big, something Rosenblatt aims to replicate live.
“I do a lot of live looping with my voice so it sounds like there are multiple people singing, and I have this sampler that plays kind of ambient noises that fill out the sound as well,” said Rosenblatt. “I don't want to replicate exactly what I'm doing on the recording but I do try to do it justice as much as I can.”
“I'm really into the idea of neo-psychedelic pop sound where it's kind of fusing the ideas of 60s pop with new ideas,” he continued. “I'm a big fan of Caribou, I love all of his records... That one record Andorra is the epitome of what I love about new psychedelic pop.”
Netherfriends are currently touring the southern United States, where Rosenblatt is continuing a project to write and record a song in each of the 50 states. But for Netherfriends it's all about executing the material onstage.
“I'm kind of fed up with bands that are spending all this time at home recording and not playing any shows – when no one's buying to begin with,” said Rosenblatt. “I don't understand why you're spending all this money to record for no one... I mean, you're not Radiohead.”