The Working Title
'Turning Into The New Face of Music'
There's a nakedness to the songs on the South
Carolina-based band's major-label debut, About-Face; be it in stories about heartbreak or love that almost was, there's a self-exploration that brings the band's songs to life, that makes them both vital and affecting.
If the songwriting sounds on a higher level, well, it's not
coincidence: Since wowing critics with a batch of demos and a packed
hometown gig a few years ago, The Working Title has taken its time to get here, careful not to rush their evolution, or the album itself.
Fusing the band members' individual loves for everyone from Counting
Crows to the likes of Kid Dynamite and a slew of underground punk, The
Working Title formed in 2001, with three-fourths of the group having
attended high school together in the Charleston area. Hamilton,
guitarist Adam Pavao, bassist Chris Ginn and drummer Ross Taylor had
each logged time in other outfits, but it wasn't until they started
playing with one another that things clicked.
That chemistry was instant: within six months of forming, the band cut
its first independent release, the now out-of-print Sincerely, a
self-released, self-produced collection of songs full of themes of life
Not long after they partnered with a manager, the band's creativity
was growing and congealing. When demos were sent to a few select
tastemakers, the response was immediate, as was the label interest. The
band signed with Universal Records' Kevin Law, and has become the debut
act on his new Universal imprint, Cause For Alarm.
The Working Title entered into the studio in 2003 to track the
seven-song EP Everyone Here is Wrong, a much more focused release. "It
was more than one thought, instead of, like, five different thoughts,"
says lead vocalist Joel Hamilton. The EP was rated 5 out of 5 in Alternative Press Magazine and they also
labeled The Working Title, "A Band To Watch".
Co-produced by Brad Wood (Smashing Pumpkins, Placebo, Liz Phair),
Counting Crows guitarist David Bryson and Universal's Law, About Face
is a collection of old and brand new songs. Three well-traveled tracks,
"Something She Said, "The Mary Getaway (I Lost Everything)" and "There
Is None" appear in different versions on the EP, Everyone Here is
Wrong, while some were written in the studio, or just before the band
began tracking, such as the album-ending "Turbulence" and "The Crash."
Chatting recently with lead singer Joel Hamilton, and noting that their press pays immediate mention to the fact that '... great songs are like mirrors,' I first wondered what actually meant to them? "A great song to me is one that makes me feel more than just the music
and more than just the lyrics; one that completely puts me in zone
where i cant tell the music and lyrics apart. For me at least, thats
what labels a 'great' song. Unfortunely sometimes in this buisness that
doesn't work the same way, although it can. Songs have to be pretty
accessable to average listener and they don't neccesarily have to be
good songs. It's a shame."
For the Average Joe who may not have heard of you and was thinking
of buying your new 'About-Face' CD, how would you yourself describe
your sound? "Well we don't really like to label ourselves, and when we have to its kinda hard for us to do so. But, I would have to say we are on the rock side of things. Wtih elements of indie rock and punk."
Your album title 'About-Face' is an interesting choice, but
perhaps it originates from a more personal standpoint for you? "'About Face' is the name of the first track on the record. It's a song
that pretty much captures what a lot of the record conveys. That life
can flip around on you at the drop of a dime. Your whole world can be
If there was one track on 'About-Face' that truly encapsulated
TheWorkingTitle at their musical and lyrical finest, which one would it
be? "I don't know that I can pin point one song that song encapsulates our band. That's a good question ... if I had to choose one I would say 'The Mary Getaway.' That is one of the very first songs we ever played together and we have played it at every show we have ever played.
Musically is has all the elements of what we do, and I think lyrically
it does as well."
And while we're uncovering interesting facts, just where did the
bands highly-original name originate and what else could it so easily
have been called? "Our name comes from the literary term, "A work in progress." It just perfectly describes how we are always evolving as a band and musicians. Our bass player Chris came up with it when we started out. Another possible name would be "The Mans" or "The Not The Mans."
With the band having formed in 2001, and with 3/4s of the group
having attended high school together, I'm wondering if any of these
friendships have been truly tested out on the road in the past 5 years? "There have definitely been some times where everyone wants to scream at each other and sometimes it has come to that. But we have been
friends for so long, I don't think anything has ever come close to
testing our relationships. We are our only friends really, so we would
have no place else to go."
If I came across a fully-signed copy of 'Sincerely' and put it up
for sale, would I be able to pay off a mortgage payment if it sold?! "Yes, if by mortgage payment you mean, a pack of Wriggles Spearmint
Of all the songs to be heard on 'About-Face' which is lyrically the
most personal for the band and why? "'Something She Said,' definitely. It's the recollection of a night when one of our family members passed away. Lyrically it's very personal to us all."
What '80s (and possibly cheesy!) pop/rock song would you love to
cover today if asked ... and why?! "That would probably have to be "Take On Me", because......let's be honest.....who doesn't want to cover that!"
Lastly, I like Penguins ... do you?! "Funny you should ask, because penguins are my absolute most favorite #1 animal. They are so cute I want to punch them all in the face! But really, I do love penguins and I don't condone abusing animals."
Interviewed by Russell A. Trunk
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Send me your answers and if you're correct you'll be in the running to win one of these great new and AUTOGRAPHED CDs! Just send us an e:mail here before August 1st with your answer and the subject title 'THE WORKING TITLE SIGNED CDs' to: email@example.com
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