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Interview: Netherfriends

Who tours and records a song in each state in the United States of America and gives each song a title after the state? If you were able to name anyone other than Netherfriends, we will give you a bone. He is working on Austin, Texas right now.

Last night, I called Shawn Rosenblatt (the man behind Netherfriends) and he briefed me on his next big show coming up Tuesday, October 9 at Shea Stadium in East Williamsburg and how practice makes for a perfect live show.

After stepping out of a noisy coffee shop to interview, he disclosed that he performed and recorded a song in all fifty states in one year and that this is the first full-length from that project.

“What was touring and recording in all fifty states like?” I asked.

“It was exhausting”, he replied.

“I could imagine. Was recording in all fifty states something that you decided to do before starting the tour or was it sporadic?”

“I thought about it for a little bit, but I didn’t really have a choice. It was either work a job that I didn’t want to work or figure out a way to do music full-time. Just give up your apartment, break up with your girlfriend and just go on tour for as long as you can”, said Shawn Rosenblatt.

When asked if he gets down and dirty during his live sets:

“People always tell me that they really like my dances. To show that you are confident on stage is one of the hardest things a musician can do,” he adds.

“I think after playing for strangers long enough, (I have been touring nonstop for three years) I think I figured out what it takes to play to strangers that are there to see their friends play. That’s the one thing I can brag about. I’m never going to brag about the songs or my music ability, but the one thing I’ve figured out is confidence on stage and just putting on a good show. I learned how to entertain a crowd and that’s just from practice.”

Before pressing play, what should we expect from ‘Middle America’? What is it like sonically?

“Sonically, it is very heavily layered. It has all sorts of genres of music. It’s the first record that has a little bit more Hip-Hop influences. More percussion, a lot of breakbeats that I did by beatboxing or playing a simple drum beat and looping that and manipulating it, but on top of a banjo, acoustic guitar and piano and lots of harmonies and vocals.”

Which songs are your favourite to listen to in headphones and your favourite to perform?

“I like to perform the first song on the album (which is called ‘St. Louis, Missouri’). It is way different live than the recording. I plan on recording the song live because a lot of people who hear that song ask for the recording and when they listen to the recording they say, ‘this isn’t the recording to the song.’”

I loved the way he answered that question. Netherfriends is so adorable but in an adult way.

Next week Tuesday, October 9, Netherfriends plays one of the last few shows of his tour at Shea Stadium (Brooklyn). ‘Middle America’ is out now on vinyl via Kilo Records.

Presently, Netherfriends is working on a bunch of other “crazy sample projects” with rappers in Chicago. He also shared that he wants to sample Woody Allen movies and famous Beatles songs and call it “The Most Expensive Record Ever Made”. You’ve heard it here first.


For more Netherfriends, just click here.

Written by Richardine Bartee

It’s her unprejudiced love for people that’s taken her this far. Join Richardine on her journey as she writes history into existence, one article at a time. Richardine is a member of the Recording Academy/GRAMMYs.

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